IRVINE, Calif. – Two-out rallies continued to hamper No. 23 Baylor as No. 30 UC Irvine scored 13 two-out runs, including 10 in an 11-run fifth inning, to defeat the Bears (0-3) 15-3 in Sunday's series finale at Anteater Ballpark. Of the 33 runs in the series, 27 were with two outs. The Anteaters (3-0) plated 22 of their 26 runs with two outs while Baylor scored five of its seven that way.
"The whole weekend was about scoring runs with two outs," said Baylor Head Coach Steve Smith. "That's baseball. Some of it was good hitting, some poor defense, but once you get the ball rolling like that sometimes it's hard to stop it. We ran a number of different guys out there and we weren't able to stop it. It got away from us."
Baylor began the fifth inning tied 3-3 with UCI. Prior to that, the Bears had built a 3-1 lead following a second-inning two-out RBI double by Nate Goodwin and Adam Toth RBI triple and Goodwin sacrifice fly in the fourth.
The momentum started to swing at the end of the top of the fifth after the Bears stranded a leadoff single by Nathan Orf and double by Brett Doe, failing to regain the lead.
UCI pounced right away with a leadoff double by Mikey Duarte. An out later, Dominique Taylor scored Duarte on a sacrifice fly. With starter Dillon Newman near his pitch limit for the day, Smith went to the bullpen but to no avail.
Eight hits and 10 runs later, the Bears were down 13-3. The crushing blow coming from a three-run homer by Jerry McClanahan. UCI then followed with two more two-out runs in the sixth on a two-run double by Taylor.
"We are learning some things, and clearly, we weren't as ready to pitch coming into this weekend as Irvine was," Smith said. "We are going to take our lumps here early and we may take them for a few more games, but I think we'll get it."
The Bears' bats were alive and well with 12 hits, but they weren't able to string them together. Orf led the way with four in five at-bats, tying a career high. Doe, Goodwin and Wendel Duncan each had two hits. Toth and Lawton Langford provided BU's other two knocks.
UCI's offensive performance was led by Taylor Sparks, who went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI.
Neither starter factored in the decision as Newman threw 4.2 innings and allowed three runs on five hits with two strikeouts. UCI starter Evan Brock lasted only four innings, surrendering three runs on six hits with three strikeouts. Andrew Morales (1-0) earned the win in relief, giving up three hits and a walk in two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Crayton Bare (0-1) took the loss for Baylor.
"[Dillon] was pretty good," said Smith of Newman's third career start. "He actually went deeper than I thought he'd go on the pitch count he was on. He got some swing and misses. They made some adjustments on him as the order came up again but I thought he was effective enough to keep us in the game."
Next up for Baylor is its home opener at Baylor Ballpark on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 6:35 p.m. CT against Texas State. The Bears are 13-5 in home openers under Smith and have won five of its six. Since 1960, Baylor is 40-13 in its first home game of a season.
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