UC Riverside pitcher Eddie Orozco knows that all too well. Orozco pitched his third complete game of the season Saturday afternoon at Anteater Ballpark, but he was outdueled by Crosby Slaught as UC Irvine took a 2-0 win.
Slaught (5-4) allowed only one hit over seven innings, combining with closer Race Parmenter for a two-hit shutout of Riverside (14-22, 4-7) to take the Big West conference series. Orozco (4-5) pitched eight innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out eight. For the sixth time this year, the offense provided him with two or fewer runs of support.
Orozco was solid, but he couldn’t cool the hot bat of Tommy Reyes. The Irvine (22-17, 7-7) second baseman scored both runs after twice hitting doubles into the left-centerfield gap. Reyes missed four games last week while attending to family matters related to the death of his older brother Robby, a Marine Corps Cpl., who was killed in a training exercise in Morocco. Since returning, he has gone 7-for-8 in the first two games of the Riverside series.
Reyes hit his first double in the sixth inning and scored when Jordan Fox hit a soft single over the head of shortstop Eddie Young. When Reyes doubled with two outs in the eighth inning, the Highlanders elected to intentionally walk Fox, but freshman Connor Spencer was able to squeeze a bouncer through the middle, just out of Young’s reach to give the Anteaters an insurance run.
Slaught kept the Highlanders off balance with a mixture of off-speed pitches. He allowed one hit and three walks, needing only 84 pitches to get through seven innings before handing the ball over to Parmenter. Parmenter picked up his fifth save of the year. He allowed only a two-out single in the ninth while striking out two.
The weekend series will conclude Sunday afternoon at Anteater Ballpark. Trevor Frank will try to help Riverside salvage a win in the series finale that is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Check out 14-shot photo gallery from Saturday afternoon’s UC Irvine/UC Riverside matchup below: