FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
IRVINE, Calif. — Three first-time opponents dot the 2010 UC Irvine baseball schedule as announced today by head coach Mike Gillespie.
UC Irvine opens the season against Loyola Marymount Feb. 19-21, and then travels to Myrtle Beach, SC, to compete in the Coastal Carolina Tournament. The games will be played at BB&T Coastal Field, home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the advanced-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. UCI takes on the Chanticleers Thursday (Feb. 25) and Saturday (Feb. 27) in their first-ever meetings and also tackle first-time opponents North Carolina State (Feb. 26) and James Madison (Feb. 28) in tournament action.
The Anteaters then head to Malibu, Mar. 2, to take on Pepperdine before meeting Saint Mary’s in a three-game series Mar. 5-7 for the first time since 2002.
UCI hosts San Diego three times (Mar. 9 & 16, Apr. 13) and travels to Sacramento State for a three-game series (Mar. 12-14). The Anteaters then host Gonzaga, a 2009 regional qualifier, for a weekend series, Mar. 19-21, before UCI make a trip to Reno, NV to play the Wolf Pack (Mar. 26-28).
The team dives into Big West Conference action at Cal State Northridge (Apr. 1-3) prior to hosting Cal State Fullerton (Apr. 9-11) and Pacific (Apr. 16-18). Games against San Diego State bookend the two-week span with the Aztecs making the trek to UCI, Apr. 6, and the Anteaters traveling to SDSU, Apr. 20.
Conference action continues at UC Davis (Apr. 23-25). The Anteaters then play five-straight non-conference games against UCLA (Apr. 27), Cal State Bakersfield (Apr. 30-May 2) and USC (May 4) before resuming Big West play at Cal Poly (May 7-9). Following a second midweek game against the Bruins (May 11), UCI takes on UC Santa Barbara (May 14-16) and UC Riverside (May 21-23) on back-to-back weekends. A midweek game at USC (May 25) is followed by the regular-season finale at Long Beach State, May 28-30.
The Anteaters return 26 letterwinners and seven All-Big West honorees. All-American and Big West Pitcher of the Year, Daniel Bibona, headlines the group. Bibona posted a 12-1 record last year and was undefeated in conference games at 7-0.
Francis Larson and Eric Pettis, both first-team all-conference choices also return to the squad. Larson led the team in home runs with nine and RBI with 43 while batting .309. Pettis made a team-high 29 appearances and recorded 17 saves on the season. The right-hander, who has tallied 17 saves in two seasons, needs 19 saves to tie NCAA record holder Blair Erickson, who totaled 53 from 2004-07.
Christian Bergman, a second-team All-Big West choice was second on the team with a 3.50 ERA. The right-hander was 9-3 on the season and walked just 15 batters in 97.2 innings. Ronnie Shaeffer and Casey Stevenson were also second-team honorees last season. Shaeffer led the `Eaters with a .388 average, posting 64 hits and 36 RBI. Stevenson hit .346 and was fourth with 66 hits, including a team-high 19 doubles.
Tommy Reyes was voted as honorable mention as a freshman after hitting .348 with 32 hits in 32 games with seven doubles and 15 RBI.
UCI won its first-ever Big West title last season and hosted an NCAA Regional for the first time in program history, finishing the season with a 45-15 record.