Depressing mix of headlines today, but certainly not doomsday by any means.
- Men’s Basketball: It was Senior Day at the Long Beach Pyramid, and the 49ers definitely played like a team that has been together for four years. Still, a 77-50 crushing is a stark contrast from the close contests these two teams have had the past couple seasons. 1-9 shooting and two total points from your leading scorer (Daman Starring) isn’t going to do it. Mike Best was one of the only standout players, with 11 points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes of play.
“Even though we didn’t compete well, I thought Mike Best busted his tail out there tonight.
“Hopefully, this performance will give us the impetus to play hard at Riverside Saturday night.” – Coach Turner
- Baseball:A bit of a rocky start, dropping their first true weekend series to Washington, two games to one.
- Friday: Huskies ace Aaron West and a pair of relievers completely shut down UCI, wasting good efforts from Matt Whitehouse and Kyle Hooper,who had four more scoreless innings pitched.
- Saturday: Finally an offensive outburst, with UCI needing every single one of the eight runs they scored to beat UW 8-7.
- Sunday: UCI strands 10 runners, including the bases loaded twice, losing 4-3 in a game they should have won. Interesting to see Gillespie start all freshmen in spots 5-9 in the lineup – a sample of the future. DH Connor Spencer and OF Ryan Cooper are impressing thus far.
- Tuesday: In an exhibition game against Japan Railroad, a professional Japanese team, Gillespie was able to trot out an experimental lineup with Dillon Moyer at shortstop and Taylor Sparks at 3B. It was Sparks who stood out, going 2-4 with a walk-off home run. In my mind, Sparks has shown enough to be someone that UCI needs in their lineup more often than not.
- Up ahead: a trip to Texas for the Baylor Invitational. UCI will take on Baylor and Lamar in the weekend tournament, which should be a good test for UCI’s offense once again. The Baylor Bears are ranked No. 25 in the nation, while Lamar is thus far 2-4 on the season. Going 3-1 or 4-0 would be golden.
- Men’s Volleyball: After a disappointing 3-0 defeat to (at the time No.4) Stanford, UCI has resumed their previous business of easily brushing aside lower ranked teams such as No. 9 Long Beach State (3-0), No. 15 Cal State Northridge (3-0) and No. 12 Pacific (3-0)… The loss to Stanford saw UCI up 22-16 in the first game before the Cardinal rallied, winning a nail-biter 32-30. UCI then seemingly had their spirit crushed, losing 25-15 and 25-23 in the next two games… back-up setter Chris Austin has stepped in ably for Daniel Stork against Northridge and Long Beach, totaling an impressive 41 and 37 set assists respectively… Coach John Speraw seems more intent on using his depth this year, but it still comes down to the three-headed monster of Carson Clark, Kevin Tillie, and Jeremy Dejno. The three gifted offensive powerhouses switch off as the main man, riding the hot hand; it’s truly something special and rare that UCI volleyball fans have the pleasure of witnessing right now. Up next this weekend is a road trip up north against Pacific and a chance at redemption against Stanford in Palo Alto.