May 11, 2004
(Irvine, CA; Anteater Ballpark) - San Diego continues to establish its case for an at-large berth into the NCAA Regionals after a 6-3 road victory over No. 21 UC Irvine. San Diego has totaled 31 wins against one of the nation's toughest schedules, and Tuesday's triumph over Irvine (31-14-1) was the fourth for USD (31-21) against an opponent currently ranked in the national polls. Randy Curtis hit a go-ahead single in the seventh and Kyle Collins pitched five scoreless innings to pick up his sixth win.
Torero freshman lefty Nate Boman was called upon to make his first start in over two months. After being moved into the role of USD's closer in early March, Boman strung together 23 consecutive scoreless innings in 12 appearances, recording five saves in as many chances.
After retiring the first five batters he faced Tuesday, Boman gave up three runs in the third inning on a pair of homeruns. A solo shot by Andy Amara and two-run job courtesy of Jaime Martinez put the Anteaters in front 3-1. Boman dealt four complete innings, registering four K's and allowing three runs on six hits.
Kyle Collins (6-1), who hurled eight shutout frames against Gonzaga on Friday, won his sixth consecutive decision working five scoreless innings in relief of Boman on Tuesday. Collins, the WCC's April Pitcher of the Month, allowed just five hits and punched out five Anteater batters. Collins owns a 1.40 ERA over eight appearances and 51.1 innings since March 28th.
Freddy Sandoval hit his team-leading eighth homerun in the second inning, taking a first pitch offering from Irvine starter Justin Cassel over the 405 sign in straightaway centerfield. With USD trailing 3-1 in the fourth, Sandoval doubled to left-center off Irvine lefty Glenn Swanson, increasing Sandoval's season average against left-handed pitching to .466 (21-45).
Sandoval's fourth-inning double moved Keoni Ruth
to third base and Joey Prast
drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Irvine shortstop Chad Lundahl muffed a routine groundball off the bat of USD's Jose Ortega
, allowing Ruth to score from third and San Diego trailed 3-2. With the bases still loaded Swanson ended the USD threat in the fourth by striking out Joe Wickman
Joey Prast joined the homerun party in the seventh, hitting his 26th career long ball off junior Michael Koehler (1-1) to even the score at 3-3. Koehler then walked Ortega and was pulled in favor of David Huff, who gave up the lead when Randy Curtis singled home Ortega on a two-out base hit to leftfield. The Toreros added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth on a Sandoval sac fly and a bloop single by Prast.
On the night Sandoval was 3-for-3, with three RBI's a homerun and double. Ruth went 2-for-4 and Prast enjoyed a 2-for-3 evening, homering and driving in two.