NCAA baseball: UC Irvine eliminates LSU, 4-3
The Anteaters (39-20), who had known only agony against the Tigers in postseason play, got solid pitching from freshman Evan Brock and two innings of edge-of-the-seat relief from Nick Hoover to advance to a game Sunday night against UCLA, scheduled for 6:07 p.m.
UCLA needs one victory to win the regional. An Irvine victory would force a decisive game Monday night.
Brock (6-4) retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced, and the only run he allowed through six innings was on a home run by Blake Dean. Brock struck out seven and left after giving up back-to-back doubles to start the seventh.
The Anteaters led, 4-3, through seven but had to live with bad memories. LSU (41-22) rallied from one-run down in the ninth and won, 11-10, in 11 innings Friday night. The Tigers had also decimated the Anteaters with a five-run ninth to stave off elimination in 2008, then bounced Irvine from the tournament.
The Tigers had chances to reenact those moments Sunday.
LSU had two on with no out in the eighth, but Hoover was brought in and retired the side.
The Tigers’ Alex Edward singled to lead off the ninth, but the game turned on a slick defensive play. A ground ball by Matt Gaudet appeared headed for center field, but Irvine second baseman Casey Stevenson got to the ball and started a double play. Hoover got Tyler Hanover to pop up to pick up his first career save for Irvine.
The Anteaters scratched out just enough offense, taking a 4-2 lead on Drew Hillman’s home run in the sixth inning. Irvine’s Ryan Fisher and D.J. Crumlich drove in runs with groundouts in the fourth. Jordan Leyland drove in a run with a single in the second.
-- Chris Foster