Rain and the threat of lightning delayed Game 2 of the NCAA baseball super regional between host Virginia and UC Irvine for four hours and 18 minutes Sunday.
But it wasn’t until after play had resumed in the bottom of the fifth inning that the Anteaters’ offense finally displayed some voltage, as UCI twice erased deficits to claim a 6-4 victory and force a decisive game in the best-of-three series, Monday at 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
UCI (43-17), the designated home team, trailed, 3-0, midway through the fifth inning, having committed two errors that led to two unearned runs and having extended its scoreless streak against the Cavaliers (53-10), the No. 1 national seed, to 13 super regional innings.
But senior left fielder Drew Hillman’s bolt of a home run beyond the left-field grandstand with two outs in the sixth began to give the ’Eaters some juice.
“It really lifted the dugout,” UCI Coach Mike Gillespie, reached by phone in Charlottesville, said of Hillman’s team-leading sixth homer of the season, his second of the postseason to up his team-leading total to 51 runs batted in. “It electrified the dugout. This was a Dave Kingman home run. I mean, it was a gargantuan blast. This ball was crushed and the fact that it was hit so hard and so far, probably added to the electricity.”