IRVINE, Calif. --- In a game that saw no run-scoring hits, the UCI pitching staff rose to the occasion striking out 12 Pilots to deliver a 3-1 victory Friday night in Anteater Ballpark.
Portland (1-7) drew even with a sacrifice fly after an error to start the inning tying the game at 1-1 in the fourth.
UCI would tactfully maneuver through the fifth and sixth innings with a Hiura sac fly to take the lead, and then a perfectly executed double steal put runners on second and third in the sixth for freshman Christian Koss to squeeze home the insurance run and put the 'Eaters up 3-1.
The rest fell on the pitching staff as Louis Raymond exited in the top half of the seventh after allowing a leadoff double, but was given a huge helping hand from Jordan Bocko to strand the runner with a couple strikeouts and strike out the side in the eighth to hand things over to Calvin Faucher in the ninth.
Faucher would put the tying runs on base, but came through with three strikeouts of his own to close out the series-opening win.
Raymond improved to 2-1 on the season allowing just the one unearned run in the contest. Faucher picked up his third save while Bocko now has 10 strikeouts in his last two appearances spanning seven innings.
Grady Miller on the Portland side was effective allowing two runs over five innings and adding five punchouts, but dropped to 0-3.
As mentioned, the runs all came in odd ways on the evening as the teams combined for one hit in 24 opportunities with runners in scoring position. Three runs came home on sacrifices while the fourth was added on a groundout for a team that averaged nearly 17 total runs in their contests up to this point.
Hiura was responsible for two of the RBI giving him 17 on the year now adding two doubles. Christian Koss had an RBI and produced multiple hits along with Evan Cassolato and Devin Pettengill who entered as a pinch-hitter in the sixth.
UCI jumps back to the .500-mark with a chance to take the series on Saturday with senior Sean Sparling on the mound and first pitch scheduled at 2:00 p.m.
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