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'Eaters handle Aztecs

IRVINE — Even though UC Irvine freshman designated hitter Connor Spencer continues to solidify his spot atop the team batting average leader board, it's still the seniors who move the productivity needle most often for the Anteaters.

Spencer, who came in batting a team-best .367, had two singles and drove in three runs in a 10-5 nonconference baseball triumph over visiting San Diego State on Tuesday.

But seniors Jordan Fox, Tommy Reyes and D.J. Crumlich combined for seven hits, four RBIs and six runs to help the Anteaters get back on track after having lost five of their previous six.

Senior starting pitcher Crosby Slaught allowed one hit in three scoreless innings to record the victory. Slaught, who is 4-3 this season, now has 20 wins in 26 decisions for his UCI career. His 20 wins put him tied for 11th on the school's all-time list. Eric Pettis sits at No. 10 with 22 wins.

Both teams used 15 combined pitchers and both teams committed three errors in a battle that was less-than aesthetically pleasing. The visitors' nine pitchers issued six walks and hit two batters, while UCI hurlers totaled two walks and did not hit a batter.

UCI pitchers registered 11 strikeouts, while only two Anteaters hitters were fanned.

The 13 UCI hits were a welcome sight to a team that came in batting .264 and has largely struggled offensively all season.

Fox went three for four and was hit by a pitch. He drove in two in a five-run eighth by dropping a squeeze bunt past the mound on the right side as two runners sped home to make it 10-4. He scored three times.

Reyes was three for five with two RBIs, singling in runs in the sixth and eighth innings. He scored once.

Crumlich was one for three with a walk and two runs.

Freshman right fielder Kris Paulino and junior left fielder Jeff Stephens had RBI singles for the winners, who also got singles from junior outfielder Scott Gottschling and freshman catcher Chris Rabago.

Jimmy Litchfield worked 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and junior Evan Brock blanked the Aztecs in the eighth inning to anchor the bullpen corps for the hosts.

Sam Moore allowed one run on one hit in the ninth to lock down the victory and give Coach Tony Gwynn's visitors their fifth loss in their last six games.

Spencer lifted his average to .372 and now has 17 RBIs, bested only by Fox's 24 and Reyes' 20.

Fox, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games, upped his average 13 points to .346.

Crumlich, who trails Fox, 45-43, for the team leadership in hits remains at .321, and his 22 runs lead the squad.

UCI cashed in three unearned runs and the Aztecs had two.

Tim Zier, who doubled twice for the game's only extra-base hits, Jake Romanski and Tanner Reibenspies had two hits apiece for San Diego State.

UCI visits Long Beach State for a three-game Big West Conference series that begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Blair Field.

barry.faulkner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BarryFaulkner5

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Nonconference

UC Irvine 10, San Diego State 5

SCORE BY INNING

SDSU 000 002 111 – 5 9 3

UCI 100 031 05x – 10 13 3

Walby, Pongs (3), Crabb (4), Robards (5), Hansen (5), Hachadorian (6), Anawalt (8), Bluman (8), Kendroza and Romanski; Slaught, Merten (4), Hoover (6), Litchfield (6), Brock (8), Moore (9) and Rabago, McClanahan (9). W – Slaught, 4-3. L – Walby, 0-3. Sv – Parmenter (5). 2B – Zier (SD) 2.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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