Christian Koss’ 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 in Irvine.
Cal Poly scored just twice despite producing 14 hits, stranding 10 runners and 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.
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Just as they did Friday night, the Mustangs jumped to a 2-0 lead and UC Irvine tied it up.
Designated hitter Elijah Skipps singled to drive in a run in the fourth and right fielder Colby Barrick’s single in the sixth gave Cal Poly its 2-0 lead.
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.
Cal Poly’s 14 hits included three each by McKenna and shortstop Kyle Marinconz. Barrick and second baseman Bradlee Beesley added a pair of hits apiece.
On Friday night, Michael Sanderson’s double just inside the right-field foul line drove in the winning run in the 10th inning as Cal Poly opened Big West Conference baseball play with a 3-2 victory over UC Irvine.
Nick Meyer reached first base on a fielding error by UC Irvine shortstop Mikey Duarte and scored from first base on Sanderson’s second RBI hit of the game as Coach Larry Lee’s Mustangs snapped a three-game losing streak.
Cal Poly scored single runs in the first and third innings, and UC Irvine answered with single runs in the fourth and seventh frames.
Sanderson singled to knock in the run in the first and Meyer’s run-scoring single in the third gave Cal Poly a 2-0 lead. Bradlee Beesley, who singled in the first inning and doubled in the third, scored both runs.
Sophomore right-hander Michael Clark (3-0) pitched four scoreless innings in relief of starter Erich Uelmen for the win, allowing no hits and one walk with one strikeout.
Uelmen remains 1-4 with two no decisions despite lowering his ERA to 2.28. The junior right-hander struck out four, walked one and gave up two runs (one earned) and seven hits.
Beesley and Sanderson each collected two of Cal Poly’s eight hits. First baseman Adrian Damla had two of UC Irvine’s seven hits.
The final game of the series will be played at 1 p.m. Sunday with sophomore right-hander Bobby Ay (0-3, 4.34 ERA) on the mound for Cal Poly.