Baseball gallops over No. 3 team in the nation

Aaron Lai/HIGHLANDER
Aaron Lai/HIGHLANDER

April 29, 2014

Highlanders 8 – Rebels 2

With the taste of defeat still on their tongues, the Highlanders came out of the blocks with a vengeance, downing the 29th ranked team in the nation, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. UCR recorded eleven hits throughout the game and eight runs to give them the victory, 8-2.

Angel Landazuri would be the starting pitcher for UCR and came in relatively inexperienced, making only his second start of the season. At the top of the second, he was put in a tough situation with runners on first and second with only one out. Yet his teammates would not let him take it on alone as Nick Vilter picked up a grounder from Rebel Edgar Montes and tagged UNLV’s Patrick Armstrong preventing the Rebels from getting on the board.

The second would be the key inning for the Highlanders, as they scored a total of six runs. After David Andriese struck out swinging, Thomas Walker got a double with his hit to right field and Drake Zarate would be sent to first after being hit by Rebel starter Kenny Oakley. Matthew Ellis hit a grounder straight to third but made it to first after an overthrow, allowing Walker to score and get the first run of the game.

Third baseman Cody Hough would jump in with a single to right to let Zarate and Ellis home for a 3-0 lead with still only one out. Devyn Bolasky followed with another single to left while UNLV pitcher Oakley walked Highlander Francisco Tellez to load the bases. Oakley walked Vilter as well and gave UCR another run on the board. Andriese got another chance at bat and got to first off of another throwing error by third baseman T.J. White to allow Tellez and Bolasky to score with a now-commanding lead of 6-0 for the Highlanders.

UCR’s Landazuri put himself in another jam in the third with no outs and runners on first and second. He managed to get out of the quandary unscathed but was then replaced with Cody Rogina. This was the first time he’d stepped on the mound in 18 days but he was ready to take out the Rebels. After four innings UNLV only recorded two hits and Rogina struck out a career-high of four batters.

In the fifth inning UCR got two more runs on the board after the first four batters all singled from UNLV reliever Matt Thomas, extending their lead to 8-0.

Highlander Jordan Kron would replace Rogina in the eighth to give the Rebels their only two runs of the game. UNLV’s White launched a double to left-center and was sent to third after Armstrong grounded out. Erik VanMeetren sent another double to the left-field line for White to score. Morgan Stotts hit to the same spot to score a double and send Van Meetren home. Montes would ground out and pinch hitter Dylan Ellis struck out to end the inning.

 

May 2, 2014

Highlanders 7 – Mustangs 3

The streak is now over: The Highlanders have finally beat the Mustangs, who are ranked third in the nation, after losing the last seven games dating back to 2011. With four runs in the third inning, UCR not only took the lead but also held on for its third straight win over a ranked opponent, 7-3.

After an RBI by Peter Van Gansen in the second that allowed Zack Zehner to head home and give the Mustangs their only lead of the game, the Highlanders would respond when it was their turn to bat with the help of David Andriese. Singling to left field, he would take second after an error from the pitcher, Matt Imhof, and then reach third after a failed pickoff. Thomas Walker would follow with an identical hit to left field to send Andriese home and tie up the game.

The Highlanders easily ended the top of the third with a strikeout and two fly balls to right field.

Joe Chavez opened the inning with a single, advancing to second on a wild pitch by Imhof, and with the help of David Bolasky he’d make it to third. Francisco Tellez was walked and all waited patiently for Andriese. The Highlanders scored twice off of a hit by Andriese to right-center with the bases loaded.

With runners still on second and third, Walker came up to bat with another single to right field to take two more runs, giving the Highlanders a 5-1 lead.

After Mustang starter Imhof was taken out in the fourth, right-handed pitcher Danny Zandona would come in for the Mustangs hoping to clean up the mess Imhof had made. He would strike out Tellez but by hitting shortstop Nick Vilter he would only bury Cal Poly deeper into the hole.

Andriese would again single to left field on the first pitch to send Vilter to second, but with two wild pitches he’d sneak his way home to extend the lead to 6-1.

Cal Poly would score once in the sixth and seventh but a home run by Chavez in the seventh would prove to be the last run of the night, allowing UCR to secure a 7-3 victory.

 

May 3, 2014

Mustangs 7 – Highlanders 5

In their second game of the series against third-ranked Cal Poly, the UCR baseball team was unable to keep the momentum going, falling 7-5 to the visiting team.

Things were looking up for the Highlanders in the early stages of the game. At the bottom of the first inning, a double steal by Francisco Tellez and Joe Chavez allowed the latter to score from third base. The next batter up hit an RBI single to send Tellez to home plate, putting the Highlanders up 2-0.

After two scoreless innings, the Highlanders found themselves in position to score again at the bottom of the fourth. With runners on second and third, a Joe Chavez fly to center field allowed Drake Zarate to score. After Zarate’s run, the Highlanders found themselves leading 3-0 against one of the best teams in the country.

At the top of the fifth inning, the Mustangs were finally able to get on the board after Brian Mundell’s triple to center field set up a subsequent scoring play that allowed the runner on third base to reach home, cutting the Highlander lead to 3-1. After being unable to score at the bottom of the fifth, the Mustangs cut the lead even farther at the top of the sixth when Cal Poly’s Matthew Ellis scored off an error by the UCR catcher.

The downhill trend of events for the Highlanders continued at the top of the seventh inning, when two runs by Cal Poly officially gave them the lead, 4-3. At the top of the eighth, three more runs by Cal Poly widened the margin even further to 7-3, a seemingly insurmountable deficit for the Highlanders.

At the bottom of the eighth, the Highlanders scored two runs, making things interesting. However, UCR was unable to put a single run on the board at the bottom of the ninth, which ended the comeback attempt right where it started.

With the loss, the Highlanders find themselves at 20-22 overall, with an 8-6 record in conference play.

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