UC Irvine Edges Iowa, 2-1, in Game 2

IRVINE, Calif. – A squeeze bunt in the seventh inning sent UC Irvine to a 2-1 victory over the University of Iowa baseball team on Saturday night at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark. The win was the Anteaters’ fifth straight and it clinched the series win.

After falling behind 1-0, Iowa fought back to tie the game in the seventh against reliever Gordon Ingebritson. Sophomore Michael Seegers laced a triple down the right field line and scored on the play on an errant throw on the relay, tying the game at one.

The Anteaters regained the lead in the bottom half, starting with a one-out double from Ben Fitzgerald and a single from Connor McGuire through the left side. With runners on the corners, Jacob Castro laid down a squeeze bunt to make the score 2-1.

The manufactured run came against Iowa starter Dylan Nedved, who was strong in his first career start. The right-hander tallied a quality start, going seven innings – a career-best – allowing two runs on four hits and fanning four, but he was saddled with the loss.

“It was a lot better night than last night,” said head coach Rick Heller. “Dylan gave us a good start, but Irvine has been opportunistic with the hits they have gotten. They haven’t had many, but it seems like whenever they have runners in scoring position, they find a way to get a hit and it was no different tonight.”

Iowa couldn’t muster much offensively against UCI starter Nick Pinto as the southpaw tossed six shutout innings, allowing four hits and fanning nine.

The Hawkeyes loaded the bases in the second, left two on in the fifth and another in the sixth, but couldn’t come up with the clutch hit.

After falling behind 2-1, redshirt freshman Keaton Anthony doubled to start the eighth, but he was left stranded after Ingebritson got a foul out, strikeout and fly out to end the threat and he sat down the Hawkeyes in order in the ninth.

Ingebritson (2-0) earned the win, allowing one run on three hits over three innings.

“It has been frustrating. We have played well at times and last night we get 15 hits and they get five and we lose by a run.  We have to keep playing. We’re getting closer to where we need to be, but until we clean some stuff up with the free bases, we put ourselves in a situation where you’re going to lose to good teams that are a lot stingier.”

– The Hawkeyes are 1-4 in games decided by one run and 3-5 in games decided by three runs or fewer.
– Iowa out-hit UC Irvine, 7-5, in the game. The Hawkeyes have out-hit the Anteaters, 22-10, in two games.
– Redshirt sophomore Ty Snep had two of Iowa’s seven hits, finishing 2-for-4 for his first multi-hit game of the season.
– Anthony has hit safely in 10 straight games and has reached base safely in all 13 contests.
– The Hawkeyes’ pitching staff finished with five strikeouts in the game, a season-low.
– Iowa has limited opponents to five hits or fewer in eight games this season.

The Hawkeyes close out the three-game series at UC Irvine on Sunday at 3 p.m. (CT).