Baseball winless on week but battle late

Cameron Yong/HIGHLANDER
Cameron Yong/HIGHLANDER

March 31, 2015

Roadrunners 10 – Highlanders 0

The UCR baseball team suffered its sixth loss in a row in an away matchup against CSU Bakersfield on Tuesday, putting their overall record at 10-19.

The Roadrunners broke the two-sided shutout by scoring three runs in the third inning and continued to pile it on with a seven-run outburst in the fifth.

Meanwhile, the Highlanders struggled to get anything going, totaling a mere seven hits and striking out seven times as a team.

Austin Colvin and Mark Contreras led the Highlanders in hits, converting on two of three at-bats, respectively. However, the Highlanders failed to conjure up a run and were shut out for the third time this season. They’ll look to bounce back in their upcoming three-game home series against conference opponent UC Irvine.

April 2, 2015

Anteaters 15 – Highlanders 5

The UC Riverside baseball team came out aggressive Thursday evening in game one of their three-game series against UC Irvine (16-10, 4-0), jumping out to a three-run lead early on. The Anteaters scored first thanks to a leadoff double by Mikey Duarte, which was followed by a sacrifice bunt, putting them up 1-0 on the Highlanders.

However, UCR was able to respond by scoring three runs in the bottom of the first, a charge led by the bats of Joe Chavez (single), Austin Colvin (double) and Adonis Morrison (single). This onslaught was followed by a scoreless inning of pitching in the top of the second by Highlander Kevin Sprague in which he allowed just two hits. UC Riverside went on to score one more run in the bottom of the frame, giving the Highlanders a 4-1 lead.

The Anteaters had answers of their own, though, scoring a total of seven runs in the third, highlighted by a three-run home run from Andrew Martinez. The third inning also marked the start of a masterful game from Irvine pitcher Elliot Surrey. After allowing a total of four runs on five hits in the first two innings, Elliot gave up a mere one run on three hits the rest of the way through before being replaced in the ninth  by Shaun Vetrovec. Surrey ended the game throwing a total of 110 pitches and seven strikeouts, while allowing four earned runs, eight hits and zero walks in his dominant performance.

The pitching from Riverside could not find its groove, however. After a solid first two innings from Kevin Sprague, he was replaced on the mound by Jesus Gonzalez once giving up the three-run homer to Martinez. Gonzalez, though, only lasted 1.2 innings, giving up two hits and two walks in his time on the mound. The Highlanders continued using their relievers, yet none seemed to have an answer to quell the onslaught of aggressive batting by Irvine.

The pitching struggle, combined with the Highlanders’ lack of run support to start the third, led to Irvine scoring seven runs to Riverside’s one the rest of the way through, ending the game with a score of 15-5 Anteaters.

April 3, 2015

Anteaters 10 – Highlanders 4

It is often said that baseball is a game of failure, so perhaps the UC Riverside baseball team is doing it right. Coming off a blowout loss in game one versus UC Irvine, the Highlanders suffered yet another defeat at the hands of the Anteaters, 10-4. Though the margin of defeat is lesser than that of their previous two, the loss is no less painful, as it was the team’s eighth in a row and twelfth in their last 15 games.

It was a seven-run third inning from the Anteaters that hurt the Highlanders for the second game in a row. In what seemed like a series of deja vu events, the Highlanders let up after playing very solid defense early on. The score was 1-0 Anteaters until a fielding error by UCR third baseman Edgar Morales put a man on base. The floodgates then opened for a seven-run rally as the next five batters for Irvine reached home safely. This marked the end of the night for pitcher Kevin Leach as he was relieved by Cody Rogina. After allowing two to reach base, Rogina eventually retired the side thanks to a double play and a line out to third.

The Highlanders went on to score two runs in the bottom of the third and another in the fourth thanks to a home run by Vince Fernandez, which was his fourth of the season. Cody Rogina also pitched a great seven innings for Riverside, allowing only four hits on 102 pitches. Yet the offense never responded to the Anteaters’ onslaught in the third, only totaling one hit and one run after the fourth.

April 4, 2015

Anteaters 11 – Highlanders 9

The UC Riverside baseball team suffered a close loss Saturday afternoon against UC Irvine as the team rallied for five runs in the ninth after being down 11-4.

In a game that looked like the team was destined to be on the wrong side of another blowout, UCR fell behind 5-1 after three and a half innings before scoring two runs in the bottom of the third. The Anteaters then went on to score two runs in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh, whilst also shutting out the Highlanders during the period. This put their lead at 11-4 going into the ninth.

The lead seemed insurmountable and UCI brought in pitcher Shaun Vetrovec to close out the ninth. But Vetrovec allowed UCR to shift the momentum their way, loading the bases thanks to a single by Joe Chavez and a couple of walks. This forced Irvine to look to the bullpen and bring in reliever Sean Sparking. Sparking did not fare much better, however, walking Robby Witt on four pitches, which brought a runner home. Mark Contreras conjured up an RBI single, making it an 11-6 game.

This marked the end of the day for Contreras and closer Sam Moore was brought in to quell the run. Yet Moore was hurt after a fielding error by the third baseman allowed a run to come home; then a single by Vince Fernandez brought the Highlanders within two, making it 11-9.  AJ Sawyer was next at the plate but hit into a double play, ending the game.

It was an anticlimactic ending to what looked like a potential UCR comeback. The team fought hard, however, and Head Coach Troy Percival took note, saying after the game, “We played hard in a game that we were getting beat up pretty bad and we came back. There is a definite positive there.”

Saturday’s loss marked the ninth loss in a row for the Highlanders, putting their overall record at 10-22. The team will travel to Loyola Marymount on April 7 in search of better fortunes.

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