Madigan heroic for UCI

College Baseball

His double off a tumbling outfielder scores three runs to cap eighth-inning rally to overcome visiting Waves Wednesday.

May 04, 2011|By Barry Faulkner,

IRVINE — UC Irvine senior Sean Madigan bounced a line drive off an indecisive center fielder to help the Anteaters bounce back for a 3-0 nonconference victory over visiting Pepperdine on Wednesday night.

Down the entire game, UCI scored four runs with two outs in the eighth to salvage a feel-good win and improve to 29-12.

Madigan's liner, with the bases loaded and the Anteaters trailing, 4-2, skipped off Brian Humphries, who made a late charge as it was sinking in front of him.


Had he been less aggressive, he likely would have fielded it on a hop, allowing only two runs to score.

As the ball caromed away toward right-center field, D.J. Crumlich scored from first with what proved to be the winning run.

"[Pepperdine reliever Eric Karch] hadn't thrown that off-speed pitch yet and I knew it was coming one time," Madigan said of the 2-2 offering. "I saw it out of his hand and it was up. It might have been ball four, but I knew I couldn't put the game in the hands of the umpire. So, I tried to get on top, stay up the middle and … here we go."

Junior catcher Ronnie Shaeffer singled with two outs to start the winning rally.

Sophomore Scott Gottschling followed with a single and junior second baseman Tommy Reyes bounced a 3-1 pitch up the middle for an RBI single to cut the deficit to 4-2.

Crumlich, a junior shortstop, worked a nine-pitch walk, after fouling off a pair of two-strike pitches, to load the bases. And set the stage for Madigan.

"First of all, Crumlich," Madigan said. "Just like when [Drew] Hillman hit that walk-off a week or so ago [against San Diego], it was [Brian] Hernandez's at-bat [a two-out single] that got him to the plate. The way that D.J. worked that walk, nine pitches, it was definitely a great at-bat to get it to me."

A crowd that had been unusually quiet for the first seven-plus innings, finally erupted with Madigan on second base.

"It's a great feeling," Madigan said of his clutch double. "There's nothing like it."

Hernandez worked a perfect ninth to secure his ninth save and preserve a win for freshman reliever Jimmy Litchfield, who got the final two outs of the eighth, after entering with one out and a runner on third base.

UCI, ranked No. 17 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assn., used seven pitchers, five of whom provided scoreless relief stints.

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