IRVINE, Calif. --- UC Irvine got a little baseball in Monday night playing a rescheduled contest from a prior rainout against USC, and got tripped up in a 3-hour, 44-minute marathon by a score of 9-7 in Anteater Ballpark.
The Anteaters (13-20) kicked its slow start it had been having lately in favor of three-run innings in the first and third innings helped along by a clutch of Trojan errors. Keston Hiura and Parker Coss singled home runs in the first while Cole Kreuter pinged a two-run single off the pitcher's knee in the third inning staking the 'Eaters to a 6-2 lead after three innings.
USC (18-16) woke up in the fourth inning hanging five runs on the 'Eaters and driving Michael Martin, making his first career start, from the game after he put the first three runners on in his fourth inning of work. Two-run singles from Brandon Perez and Corey Dempster off Ryan Johnston salted away UCI's four-run lead to make it a 7-6 USC lead.
The Anteaters got back in the game the next half inning as Parker Coss put up another RBI single as Evan Cassolato slid in under the tag despite a brilliant throw from center fielder Matthew Acosta tying things up at 7-7 after four.
The only error the Anteaters made proved to give up the lead in the sixth inning. Matthew Acosta chopped a grounder toward Cole Kreuter for the infield single, but Kreuter went for the barehand and let the ball slip by allowing Brandon Perez to score and take the lead back, 8-7.
The 'Eaters had chances to tie including their best chance in the eighth inning as a Keston Hiura sky single dropped in with two runners on, but confusion fell onto the basepaths as runners would get tagged out at third base and home plate for the unlikely double play as one of many unlikely sequences in the game meant it just wasn't the Anteaters' night who would eventually fall, 9-7.
Johnston was saddled with the loss after allowing three runs, two earned, in his 2.2 innings of relief. Martin was effective through three innings, but failed to keep it together in the fourth and finished allowing five earned runs on six hits.
Quentin Longrie threw three hitless innings of relief to score his third win. Starter Brad Wegman went four innings allowing seven runs, but just three earned.
Brandon Perez could not be stopped with the bat going 3-for-4 with a double, three runs, and three RBI reaching base five times. Corey Dempster also had a pair of RBI, while Blake Sabol eased his two-error night with three hits.
Keston Hiura reached in all five plate appearances including a walk and two HBP, and added an RBI and two runs. Mikey Duarte and Parker Coss each had two-hit games, and Coss drove home two. Evan Cassolato had the club's first four-walk game since 2015, 13th in program history, and scored twice.
The Anteaters have an opportunity for redemption tomorrow as the teams will meet again on Tuesday, a 6:00 p.m. start, this time at Dedeaux Field at USC.
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