All Noah Hsue needed was a single.
With a runner on second and two outs, Hsue simply needed a base hit to complete the Washington men’s baseball team’s comeback Sunday against UC Irvine at Anteater Ballpark.
Instead, the junior grounded out to third, clinching the series for UCI and leaving the UW still searching for their first win of the season.
A slow start for Washington’s bats doomed the Huskies Sunday, as the UW managed just five hits and couldn’t string together a single multi-hit inning. A four-run eighth inning gave the Huskies hope, but it was too little, too late, as Washington lost to UC Irvine 5-4.
While Washington’s offense took time to heat up, UC Irvine started off hot. Coming off it’s walkoff win Saturday in the series opener, the Anteaters jumped on UW starter Logan Gerling (0-1) early, with the junior escaping a bases loaded jam in the second inning.
He wasn’t as lucky in the third, as a double from UCI redshirt freshman Nathan Church brought home junior Mike Peabody, who reached after being hit by a pitch. The Anteaters (2-0) tacked on another run to make it 2-0 before Gerling ended the inning, but for most of the game, it seemed like that was all UCI needed.
Anteaters’ starter Peter Van Loon (1-0) dominated the UW lineup, going six innings and striking out eight on just 80 pitches. He allowed three hits and handed out two walks, exiting with a 3-0 lead. UCI picked up two more runs in the seventh inning after a single from junior Jacob Castro brought home two runners against UW reliever Dylan Lamb, seemingly wrapping up the win.
But Washington’s offense finally woke up in the eighth. The Huskies (0-2) got two free passes — a walk and a hit by pitch — to begin the frame, forcing the Anteaters to bring in reliever Josh Ibarra. However, the junior immediately hit Hsue to load the bases, and redshirt senior Ramon Bramasco’s groundout to first brought home Washington’s first run of the day.
The Huskies weren’t done though, as a sacrifice fly from redshirt freshman Will Simpson brought home another run, setting the table for junior Christian Jones, who doubled to the right-center gap to score Hsue. Washington pulled within one after an error by UCI shortstop Taishi Nakawake allowed Jones to score from second, making it 4-5.
A relatively clean bottom of the eighth, gave Washington the chance to complete the comeback, and a leadoff single by junior Davis Delorefice gave the Huskies the runner they were looking for. However, Ibarra got two quick outs put the pressure on Hsue, who came up just short of of being the hero Washington was looking for.
The Huskies will try to salvage the final game of the series and avoid a sweep Monday when they return to Anteater Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Reach Sports Editor Andy Yamashita at email@example.com. Twitter: @ANYamashita
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