IRVINE, Calif. – Christian Koss's single to center field with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning knocked in the winning run as UC Irvine scored a 3-2 walk-off victory over Cal Poly in a Big West Conference baseball game Saturday afternoon inside Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.
Cal Poly scored just twice despite producing 14 hits. Two runners were erased on double plays, two more were caught stealing and another was caught in a rundown between second and third on a grounder to the left side as the Mustangs stranded 10 on the basepaths, six in scoring position.
With the win, UC Irvine evened the three-game series at a game apiece – Cal Poly won Friday 3-2 in 10 innings – and improved to 12-11 on the year and 1-1 in Big West games.
Cal Poly fell to 9-17 and 1-1.
Just as they did Friday night, the Mustangs jumped to a 2-0 lead and UC Irvine tied it up.
UC Irvine scored twice in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI groundout by Mikey Duarte and a balk.
In the bottom of the ninth, UC Irvine loaded the bases on a single and two walks. With one out, Koss, the ninth batter in the Anteater order hitting .186, singled over the head of Mustang center fielder Alex McKenna to drive in the winning run.
UC Irvine closer Calvin Faucher (1-2) earned the win, securing four outs, while the loss went to Mustang senior right-hander Slater Lee (2-2) as he walked four in two-thirds of an inning.
Not involved in the decision, Mustang starter Spencer Howard (pictured at left) allowed two runs and six hits over 7 1/3 innings with no walks and six strikeouts.
UC Irvine collected eight hits, including two each by Koss and Evan Cassolato.
Final game of the series will be played Sunday at 1 o'clock with sophomore right-hander Bobby Ay (0-3, 4.34 ERA) on the mound for Cal Poly.
Photos courtesy of Matt Brown | Matt Brown Photography