Irvine Continues to Win, Frustration Mounts for WazzuAt The Ballpark
IRVINE, Calif. — Ben Orloff shook up his lineup for the middle game of No. 23 UC Irvine’s series against Washington State.
Brendan Brooks started the season with a six-game hit streak, but had been mired in a slump hitting .135 since. Orloff gave him a night off, putting Sam Ireland at second base for only his second start of the year. Catcher Griffin Mazur was also inserted for his second start.
Orloff was a button-mashing maestro. He pushed all the right ones as Irvine improved to 14-4 and picked up its second series win over a Pac-12 opponent from the Evergreen State.
Mazur had two hits and scored a run. He threw out the only Washington State runner that tried to steal. Ireland was 1 for 2 with an RBI and a sacrifice that led to a two-run inning.
And Orloff summoned Brooks from the bench to pinch hit with two outs in the sixth inning of a tie game. Brooks lined a 1-2 pitch off the first baseman’s glove and into right field for a two-run single that put the Anteaters ahead en route to a 5-1 victory at Anteater Ballpark.
Mazur and Ireland helped provide an early lead for Irvine. Christian Koss was hit by a two-strike, two-out pitch and came around to score after a single up the middle by Mazur and a single through the left side by Ireland.
Washington State (6-15) evened the score in the fifth inning. Freshman Kodie Kolden, hitting in the leadoff spot for the first time, turned on a pitch and drove it over the left field fence just inside the foul pole. The Cougars followed with three straight singles, but UC Irvine starter Tanner Brubaker got Ryan Teel to ground out to end the threat.
Brubaker turned in a stellar 6.2 innings to pick up his second win of the season. He gave up eight hits but was able to minimize situations.
“He throws strikes. He’s composed,” Orloff said. “He gets ground balls, so even when he gets some hits, he’s able to scatter them and not give up those big innings.”