April 3, 2009
Fullerton, Calif. - Daniel Bibona and Eric Pettis combined on a 6-hitter and Francis Larson hit a solo home run Friday night to lead No. 8-ranked UC Irvine to a 2-1 Big West Conference baseball victory over No. 1-ranked Cal State Fullerton.
Bibona (5-1) worked eight shutout innings, walking only one and striking out five as the Anteaters improved to 18-7 and 4-0 in the Big West. Pettis allowed an unearned run in the ninth but logged his eighth save.
Fullerton, which was defeated Wednesday night at Arizona State, 3-1, lost consecutive games for the first time and fell to 19-6 and 2-2. Daniel Renken (4-2), who lost a complete-game start his last outing at UC Riverside, 3-1, was the hard-luck loser, allowing only 5 hits in 8 innings.
After wasting a pair of no-out hits in the second, UC Irvine took the early lead in the fourth when Larson hit his fourth home run of the year well over the fence in left-center field. The Anteaters went up 2-0 in the fifth when Casey Stevenson led off with a double off the fence in right-center and scored on Eric Deragisch's two-out single to right.
Fullerton put the tying runs in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth. Christian Colon singled with one out. Josh Fellhauer followed with an infield single and both runners advanced a base on Ben Orloff's throwing error. Colon scored as Clark grounded to short but Nick Ramirez grounded to first to end the game.
Fullerton didn't get a hit until Nick Ramirez led off the fifth with a single to right. Khris Davis followed with a double under the glove of third baseman D. J. Crumlich but Dustin Garneau struck out and Joe Scott's suicide bunt became a double play when first baseman Jeff Cusick made a diving catch in foul territory and easily doubled up Ramirez at third.
Fullerton had only three other baserunners. Garneau walked in the second but was stranded at second. Gary Brown had an infield single in the sixth but was caught stealing. Jared Clark singled in the seventh but was left at second.
Kyle Mertins pitched a scoreless ninth inning for Fullerton.
The series continues Saturday night at 6 p.m. with a battle of righthanders scheduled in Christian Bergman (2-1) for UCI and Noe Ramirez (3-0) for Fullerton.