IRVINE, Calif. --- UC Irvine put up a valiant effort against the Korean professional squad, NC Dinos, Wednesday night, but came up a run short falling 7-6.
The 'Eaters erased a 4-0 deficit after finally getting to NC Dinos' starter Jeff Manship in the fifth scoring three times and following that up with a run in the sixth to tie it at 4-4. Manship left with the lead after five and 10 strikeouts, but was all undone by errors from the Dinos defense.
The big blow came with two out in the fifth as Keston Hiura lined a shot into the gap that was expertly run down by Kim Seong Uk, but the ball was dropped allowing two runs to come home. The Anteaters tied things up in the sixth thanks to a Matt Reitano squeeze play plating an unearned run to which five of the six runs on the evening were.
The Dinos regained the lead in the eighth capped off by a sharp, two-run double from Xavier Scruggs to break the game open and make it 7-4 Dinos. UCI chipped away getting a couple runs home on a seeing-eye single and a double steal, but remained down a run.
Kim Jin Sung came in for the ninth and closed things down completing the 7-6 NC Dinos victory in its last game as part of their spring training trip to the United States.
Despite the result and the exhibition nature of the game, there were a lot of notable happenings in the game itself:
Wednesday night featured the debut for one player in redshirt freshman Matt Marini. Marini, a Florida-native, entered in the fifth inning, and aside from a throwing error, held his own with three strikeouts and a single hit allowed giving up a single unearned run in two innings.
Another debut of sorts came from redshirt freshman Mikey Filia who made his Anteater Ballpark debut as a pinch runner. He reached second on a balk and third on a wild pitch before he was left standing on third for the final out of the inning.
Jake Hazard kept on hitting after his three-hit performance on Tuesday slashing a pair of doubles down the line and scoring twice. Matt Reitano kept his hot bat alive as well with a pair of hits, RBI, and runs scored.
Defense really took over the night as each squad made three errors accounting for over half of the 13 runs to be deemed unearned.
The next step is the mammoth weekend ahead of the 'Eaters with No. 1 TCU visiting Anteater Ballpark beginning Friday, March 10 at 6:30 p.m.
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