IRVINE, Calif. --- All joking aside, UC Irvine did away with a six-game losing streak thanks to a towering, bases-loaded walkoff single from Christian Koss to even the series against Cal Poly in Anteater Ballpark, 3-2.
Adam Alcantara led off the ninth-inning festivities with a first-pitch single, and was sacrificed to second base. Following a pair of walks to load the bases, Christian Koss connected on a booming single over the drawn-in outfield to easily score Alcantara and put UCI back in the winner's column with the 3-2 win.
Much like last night, UCI (12-11, 1-1) needed a pair of late runs to tie things up after a couple early runs for Cal Poly (9-17, 1-1). Mikey Duarte's groundout with runners on the corners chopped the deficit down to 2-1, and then a balk from starter Spencer Howard forced home the tying run making it 2-2 after six innings.
Howard and Louis Raymond went toe-to-toe each pitching into the eighth inning before giving way to their bullpens. Calvin Faucher bounced back wonderfully after a subpar week to end a threat in the eighth inning, and then scored a couple strikeouts in the ninth before Matt Reitano finished it off catching a Mustang stealing to set up the bottom of the ninth.
The Cal Poly bullpen was the victim on Saturday, most notable Slater Lee who, despite taking a hard shot off his leg in the eighth to avert danger with the bases loaded, drew the loss after loading the bases and walking four batters in 0.2 innings.
Both starters allowed two earned runs and no walks while no figuring in the decision. Raymond put up career highs with 7.2 innings and 104 pitches. A week after being handed the loss after allowing 11 hits to Houston, he danced around 13 Cal Poly hits, the most allowed by a single Anteater pitcher since 2010.
Koss finished with two hits and a run as did Evan Cassolato. Koss and Duarte each recorded RBIs. Cal Poly rode three-hit days from Alex McKenna and Kyle Marinconz, and got RBI contributions from Elijah Skipps and Colby Barrick on singles to RF.
The win sets up a rubber match for Sunday at 1:00 p.m. to decide the series winner on this opening weekend of Big West play with Chris Vargas and Bobby Ay taking the mound.