IRVINE, Calif. --- UC Irvine proved its opening showing was no fluke taking down the No. 1 team in the country for a second day in a row, 6-3, Saturday afternoon in front of the 2007 College World Series squad in Anteater Ballpark.
UCI honored the historic run of the 2007 Anteaters that went to Omaha in a pregame ceremony, and then gave them some fireworks in the first inning.
A leadoff walk to Evan Cassolato led to a towering, two-run home run from Cole Kreuter to put UC Irvine (9-4) on the board early. The offense kept the momentum going with a pair of RBI doubles from Adrian Damla and Jake Hazard to build a 4-0 lead after one.
TCU (11-3) starter Nick Lodolo settled in to retire the next 14 batters he faced allowing his offense to creep back into the game. TCU chipped away at UCI starter Cole Spear scoring on a bases loaded walk in the fifth and a wild pitch in the sixth to cut the deficit in half, but he battled his way out of a jam, and was relieved by Jordan Bocko in the sixth minimizing the threat.
Nolan Brown launched a home run to right field in the seventh to make it a one-run game, but the next man up in the pen, Andre Pallante turned the Horned Frogs away in the seventh and eighth innings.
UCI added some cushion on some smart baserunning from Devin Pettengill to create a sac fly opportunity, and some two-out magic capped by a Keston Hiura double grew the lead back to 6-3. Calvin Faucher worked around a fielding error in the ninth to save the game and clinch the series for the Anteaters.
Saturday marked the second time in program history UCI has taken a series from a No. 1 foe joining the 2009 Anteaters that dropped Cal State Fullerton on the road. It's the sixth win all-time against a ranked opponent and first series win in Anteater Ballpark.
Kreuter put up big numbers for a second straight game with a pair of hits and RBI to go with the homer. Damla joined him in the two-hit club while Evan Cassolato scored twice keeping that average up near .500.
Cole Spear dealt a second straight impressive outing on the mound for the weekend pitching into the sixth and allowing four hits and two earned runs with four strikeouts for his second win of the year. The bullpen allowed a single hit and struck out seven in 3.2 innings with Faucher cleaning up his seventh save.
Lodolo was charged with the loss, his first, while the offense for TCU revolved around Nolan Brown with two of the five hits and a run and RBI.
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