BYU baseball: No. 21 UC Irvine avoids sweep

By Jared Houghton

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, March 9 2013 3:45 p.m. MST

PROVO, Utah –No. 21 UC Irvine avoided a sweep with an 8-3 victory over BYU on Saturday at Larry H. Miller Field.

The nation’s No. 4 pitcher Andrew Morales (5-0) and his relief held the BYU bats in check in front of 1,146 fans. The Cougars (9-7) recorded six hits on the afternoon, and the Anteaters (12-4) peppered the home team with 11 hits.

“I felt like we were playing catch up the whole game,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. “We came out a bit complacent, I didn’t like that. Really good teams don’t come out with that mentality.”

UCI jumped out to an early lead in the opening frame when Connor Spencer lined a double to right center to score Dominique Taylor from first. Ronnie Shaeffer singled to left to score Spencer and gave the Anteaters a 2-0 advantage.

Center fielder Jaycob Brugman ripped a ball over the right fielder’s head for a stand-up double in the bottom of the second for BYU. Brock Whitney moved him one step closer to home on a grounder to second and Kelton Caldwell sent him home on a sacrifice fly to deep right to bring the Cougars within a run at 2-1.

The Anteaters capitalized on a pair of Cougar errors and a two-run home run by Shaeffer to extend the lead, 6-1, in the third inning.

With UCI threatening in the fifth, freshman Keaton Cenatiempo saw his first action of the season in relief of Mark Anderson and got out of a bases-loaded jam by getting Ryan Cooper to pop up to Whitney to end the inning.

“We had a shaky start but we turned it on there in the last couple of innings,” Cenatiempo said. “This was the biggest crowd I’ve pitched in front of and it boosted me a lot. I hope I gave coach (Littlewood) a good impression.”

In the sixth and seventh innings, the Anteaters added one run in each to increase their lead to 8-1.

Morales was relieved by Evan Brock after the Cougars juiced the bases in the bottom of the seventh. Pinch hitter Bret Lopez hit a sac-fly to right to plate Brugman from third and bring the score to 8-2.

“We didn’t quit,” Littlewood said. “We chased Morales and tried to get to their bullpen. He bent a little bit, but he didn’t break.”

Jacob Hannemann recorded his second hit of the game on a single to left and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Brennon Anderson snuck a single under the shortstop’s glove to advance Hannemann to third. Adam Law reached on a fielder’s choice to score Hannemann and narrow the margin to 8-3.

In the ninth, back-up catcher Collin Braithwaite recorded his first career hit in a stand-up triple to the right center wall.

“It was another confidence builder for us,” Littlewood said. “I consider these guys a great team. I want to tip my hat to Brian Hill; he’s done a great job of getting the field ready for us to play this weekend.”

The Cougars travel to open the conference season next week for a three-game series against San Diego starting Thursday, March 14 at 6 p.m. PDT. Game two will be Friday at 6 p.m. PDT and game three will be Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT. All three games will be broadcast locally over KOVO 960 AM and on BYU Radio.

Jared Houghton is a Sports Information Director who works in the BYU Athletic Communications with the men's and women's swimming teams. He can be reached at for questions relating to swimming.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere