LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Grant Palmer answered the call in the 10th inning, belting a 2-2 fastball over the left-field fence for a pinch-hit home run as UC Irvine toppled No. 14 USC 8-5 Tuesday at Dedeaux Field.
With the score knotted at 5-5, Jerry McClanahan flared a pitch down the first-base line. With the ball tailing away, first baseman Jeremy Martinez dove to try to snare the sinking line drive but was unable to make the catch. McClanahan was pushed to second on a sacrifice bunt from Cameron Bishop and John Brontsema worked a full-count walk to extend the inning. Ryan Cooper gave way to Palmer and the move proved to be the right one as the junior recorded his first home run of the year to drive in the game-winning runs.
The Anteaters, who have boasted a deep team all year, needed their reserves again after USC chipped away to erase a 4-0 UCI lead.
UCI grabbed the early lead behind Keston Hiura's RBI double and a sacrifice fly from Mitchell Holland in the first. Mikey Duarte delivered in the second with a two-run hit to drive in Cole Kreuter and Wyatt Castro for the four-run Anteater advantage.
UCI-USC highlights on the Pac-12 Network. http://t.co/pT1ZGULNGA— UCI Baseball (@UCIbsb) May 6, 2015
However, the Trojans caught UCI with the long ball, using a pair of sacrifice fly-balls and three solo home runs, including a round-tripper in the sixth from Dante Flores that gave USC a the lead at 5-4.
The 'Eaters, who posted a pair of come-back wins against Minnesota, continued to demonstrate resilience, breaking through a six-inning drought with a run in the ninth to catch the Trojans. Adam Alcantara was called off the bench to face closer Marc Huberman and promptly singled to right to spark the rally. Brontsema was asked to pinch-run and took second on a sacrifice from Cooper. After Huberman set downParker Coss, Andrew Martinez took up the bat for the 'Eaters and hit a fly-ball to shallow left but shortstop Angelo La Bruna was tripped up by outfielder Bobby Stahel and was unable to hold onto the ball as Brontsema came around to score the tying run.
Sam Moore, who had logged four scoreless innings in UCI's extra-inning win against Minnesota last week, faced the minimum against the Trojans tonight. The right-hander dealt a perfect eighth and picked off A.J. Ramirez to help his own cause in the ninth. He then struck out two of the final three batters to improve to 5-3 on the year.
Bishop gave the 'Eaters three innings in relief, limiting USC to a run on three hits while Matt Esparza held USC to a run on one hit in two innings. Duarte led the team with three hits and added two RBI.