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Argomaniz gets big hit to top UCI

OCC transfer doubles in two runs in 10th inning. UCI blanked for first time in 48 games.

February 14, 2014|By Barry Faulkner
  • UC Irvine shortstop Chris Rabago throws out Fresno State's Manny Argomaniz at first during the season opener on Friday.
UC Irvine shortstop Chris Rabago throws out Fresno State's… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

It took Manny Argomaniz one game to earn hero status at Fresno State. The Bulldogs' junior second baseman, a transfer from Orange Coast College, doubled in two runs in the 10th inning to help the visitors upend UC Irvine, 2-0, in the nonconference season opener for both on Friday night.

Argomaniz made winners of a Bulldogs squad, for which three pitchers limited the Anteaters to one hit through nine innings, three hits total.

UCI's lone hit through nine innings was a 50-foot infield single rolled down the third-base line by sophomore second baseman Mikey Duarte to lead off the bottom of the third. But Duarte, one of only three UCI runners to reach second base, was stranded when 2013 Big West Conference Co-Player of the Year Taylor Sparks struck out.

Sparks, an All-American last season who opened 2014 on the Golden Spikes Award watch list, struck out twice, hit into a double play and was hit by a pitch to finish 0 for three. He left four runners on base, including two in scoring position.

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Fresno State starter Jordan Brink (6 1/3 innings with six strikeouts), Derick Velazquez (2 2/3 relief innings for the win) and Jake Shull (a scoreless 10th for the save) kept the Anteaters in check, nullifying a strong start by UCI All-American senior Andrew Morales.

Morales, 10-0 with a  1.89 earned-run average in 2013, allowed four hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking one. Morales left runners in scoring position in the first, fourth and seventh.

In the fourth, the Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out on a double, single and a walk. But the 6-foot right-hander, who has added 25 pounds of muscle in the off-season, buckled down to get a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat.

"Morales grinded it out," UCI Coach Mike Gillespie said. "We just didn't get any hits. We went up against three quality pitchers who dominated us."

It was the first time in 48 games, UCI had been blanked, dating back to a 2-0 loss to Portland on March 1, 2013.

The UCI starters were a combined one for 29, but two pinch-hitters came through for the hosts in the 10th. Grant Palmer opened the inning with a single up the middle, but was erased when freshman Evan Cassolato hit into a double play, the third of the game for the Bulldogs' defense.

Redshirt sophomore Jonathan Munoz doubled down the right field line to bring the tying run to the plate, but junior leadoff man Kris Paulino struck out to end the game.

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