LOS ANGELES, Calif. --- A wild night at Page Stadium Tuesday night ended in a 7-6 Anteater victory over LMU thanks to a one-out, three-run home run from Evan Cassolato to seal it for UCI.
UCI (7-4) trailed by two entering the night inning, but got a couple runners for leadoff hitter Evan Cassolato who got all of a 1-0 pitch and crushed it high over the right field fence picking the most opportune time to score his first career home run putting the 'Eaters up 7-6.
Calvin Faucher entered as the seventh pitcher on the night for the 'Eaters and maneuvered through a shaky ninth to leave the bases loaded and nail down the victory.
Cassolato took over the game with four hits, scoring twice, and driving home a career high five RBI, the first for an 'Eater since 2015. He and the offense helped keep UCI in the game after the staff fell apart through the middle innings.
Chris Vargas loaded the bases after retiring the first 10 batters of the game to give way to Ryan Johnston and Kaz Akamatsu who together would walk five straight Lions for a five-run fourth inning on just one LMU (6-7) hit.
A couple runs in the sixth put UCI back in striking distance before LMU brought in closer Niko Decolati from the outfield to close things out. Decolati, who had only given up two baserunners on the year, was touched up for three runs on four hits, and even had a chance to redeem himself with the bases loaded in the ninth, but struck out looking to end the game.
Andre Pallante picked up the win after working a scoreless eighth, the first win of his young career. Faucher locked up his fifth save as the seven Anteater pitchers struck out 14 Lion hitters. The Anteaters struck out 12 times themselves in a four-hour, five-minute game that saw UCI out-hit LMU, 17-4.
There was even an 18-minute delay to tend to home plate umpire Bud Dunklin who had to exit the game in the seventh after he was struck in the throat by a wild pitch, and a two-man crew finished out the game.
All-in-all, it added up to the seventh win on the year for the Anteaters who ride a four-game win streak into a heavyweight bout with No. 1-ranked TCU this weekend. UCI returns home on Wednesday to host an exhibition game first with professional club NC Dinos from Korea Republic.
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