UC Riverside traveled to Phoenix on Feb. 26 for a matchup against Grand Canyon University (GCU). After suffering a walk-off loss to San Jose State, the Highlanders were able to bounce back and get the victory in a 5-3 win.

Junior pitcher Connor Cannon got his first start of the season, playing two innings. Sophomore Abbott Haffar played a little less than three innings in which he allowed two runs on four hits. Meanwhile, junior Hayden Petrovick did not allow a single hit in his time on the mound but he only threw for one and a third of an inning.

On the offensive end, UC Riverside got off to a quick start in the first inning, scoring two runs. The Highlanders followed up those two runs with another two runs in the second inning after a few errors by GCU.

“Given our circumstances so far, playing games without our two best pitchers, you take that out of play and we have begun to play solid baseball so far. I think the season will get better as we go. We just gotta keep playing hard and executing the game plan,” Head Coach Troy Percival said in an interview with the Highlander.

Their next three games are special because they face off against another Riverside rival, California Baptist University (CBU). CBU is currently sitting on a perfect season with a 9-0 record but that doesn’t stop Percival from playing them any differently.

“It becomes a little special because some of the Cal Baptist guys have played against UCR. Being only 15 minutes away, it’s always special to go against their guys. But we would play them like any other team though and setting the tone defensively early on is a must,” Percival said.

Against Cal Baptist, UC Riverside got the victory with a final score of 8-3. The Highlanders ended the Lancers’ perfect record, giving them their first loss of the season. Connor Cannon led the charge as he scored three runs of his own.  

Up next, UC Riverside will face University of San Diego on March 5 at the Riverside Sports Complex.