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Spencer stars in win

UCI freshman sings national anthem, then lines three-run, go-ahead triple to help key win.

February 25, 2012|By Barry Faulkner

IRVINE — UC Irvine freshman designated hitter Connor Spencer hit his rendition of the pregame national anthem out of the park. But it was not until the seventh inning of the Anteaters' 8-7 nonconference victory over visiting Washington that he executed his encore.

Spencer, who had singled but run into an out on the bases in the sixth inning, lined a three-run triple over the head of the Huskies center fielder with one out in the seventh to break a 4-4 tie. Spencer, who at the time was part of a lower portion of a batting order that was four for 47 in two-plus games during the week (.085), then scored what turned out to be the game-winning run on a double by sophomore second baseman Dillon Moyer. Moyer, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the top of the inning, had been 0 for 10 for the season and four for 37 in his college career (.108).

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"It was huge," UCI Coach Mike Gillespie said of Spencer's three-run triple, which was the biggest of nine hits for the Anteaters (4-2), ranked No. 21 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assn. of America. "Huge, huge, giant. Certainly we did more hitting today by a long shot than any other day [this week after going a combined 12 for 62 and scoring two combined runs in two straight home losses to UNLV and Washington]. We know what a big difference [Spencer's triple] made in this game, but I'd like to think it makes a big difference with everybody knowing, 'Well, we can do this.' I think that one hit could be bigger than one hit can sometimes just look like."

Moyer's bloop double inside the right-field line that gave the 'Eaters an 8-4 lead, turned out to be crucial as well, after the Huskies (3-3) cut the lead to one on Trevor Mitsui's three-run home run in the eighth.

UCI, which had gone 12 innings without a leadoff man reaching base, or any runner reaching third base, let alone scoring, finally broke through in the second against Huskies starter George Asmus.

Senior shortstop D.J. Crumlich doubled to left to open the inning, advanced to third on a balk, and scored on Christian Ramirez's sacrifice fly to center.

Senior first baseman Jordan Fox then tripled to right-center and scored on a sacrifice fly by Tommy Reyes.

The good feelings for the home crowd, however, proved short-lived, as Washington parlayed three extra-base hits, including a two-run homer by Caleb Brown, into a 3-2 advantage against UCI starter Andrew Thurman.

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