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UCI’s Bibona a game-changer in 5-2 win

Baseball: Pitcher’s changeup helps him lead Anteaters to win over Mustangs in Big West opener Friday.

March 27, 2009|By Barry Faulkner

Bibona , who had thrown 86 pitches through five innings, finished with 116. He walked only one and stranded eight runners on base, displaying his trademark poise after the first-inning flare-up.

Bibona also showed impressive stamina, Gillespie said.

“We had to ride him like a mule tonight,” Gillespie said, “more than we really wanted to. He threw 116 pitches and we’ve gone over 110 maybe four times [in two seasons] since I’ve been here. But on his 115th pitch, he got a called third strike on a fastball up under the guy’s hands and I mean it looked like it had plenty of juice on it. That was impressive to me.”

The UCI offense was less impressive, but took advantage of most of the few opportunities Cal Poly ace DJ Mauldin provided.

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Senior shortstop Ben Orloff went two for four with a run batted in, as did junior catcher Francis Larson.

Senior outfielder Eric Deragisch was also two for four and freshmen Ronnie Shaeffer and DJ Crumlich each had an RBI.

UCI capitalized on an error by Maudlin, failing to handle a routine flip from the first baseman to first base, to score two unearned runs to take a 3-2 lead in the third inning.

“I am mindful of the fact that we caught a couple breaks tonight,” Gillespie said. “Five runs are not very many and we got help to get to five. I think it’s a very, very important win.”

The importance was emphasized when reliever Cory Hamilton was pulled after nine pitches — with a 3-2 count on his second hitter — in favor of Pettis with no outs and a man on in the eighth.

“That was a desperation move there,” said Gillespie, who has seen UCI relievers other than Pettis struggle all season.

Pettis needed just four pitches to record three outs. After a ball to finish the second walk credited to Hamilton, a Cal Poly batter was called out for interfering with catcher Francis Larson’s pickoff throw to second base.

Two pitches later, Pettis induced a double-play grounder to short.

Pettis, who earned his sixth save, ended the ninth with a strikeout.

The three-game series resumes today at 1 p.m.

Big West Conference

UC Irvine 5, Cal Poly 2

SCORE BY INNINGS

Mauldin, DeVincenzi (8) and Brayton; Bibona, Hamilton (8), Pettis (8) and Larson. W – Bibona, 4-1. L – Mauldin, 3-2. Sv – Pettis (6). 2B - Orloff (UCI), Cusick (UCI), Crumlich (UCI). HR – Crocker (CP).


BARRY FAULKNER may be reached at (714) 966-4615 or at barry.faulkner@latimes.com.

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