LOS ANGELES -- The Trojans dropped game two of back-to-back contests against UC Irvine, 14-3 on Tuesday evening at Dedeaux Field.
The Trojans (18-17) kept it close through the first four frames, tying the ballgame at 2-2 in the bottom of the second with a bases-loaded walk after a Keston Hiura two-run home run in the first inning. However, the Anteaters (14-20) added three runs in the fifth innings, two off a Cade Kreuter home run, chasing starter Solomon Bates (Victorville, Calif./Great Oak HS) who threw 4.2 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts in his first collegiate start.
The Anteaters pulled away after taking a 5-2 lead in the fifth inning, tacking on six runs in the sixth inning, taking advantage of poor fielding and free passes as reliever Mason Perryman (Bakerfield, Calif./Bakersfield HS) struggled in his first appearance back after a knee injury, allowing six runs on two hits with four walks and one strikeout in the inning.
They added two more in the seventh off reliever Michael Gates (Huntington Beach, Calif./St. Michael's Prep), who threw two-complete innings, allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and a career-high three strikeouts.
Brock Larson (Del Mar, Calif./USF) threw the ninth, giving up one run on one hit with one walk and two strikeouts.
The Trojans were led at the plate by Matthew Acosta (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala HS), who was 2-for-4 with one run scored, as he scored the third run of the day in the bottom of the eighth on a Kaleb Murphy (Apple Valley, Calif./Excelsior Charter HS) fielder's choice. Lars Nootbaar (El Segundo, Calif./El Segundo HS) drove in one run in the bottom of the first on an RBI single. The Pac-12 leader in walks, the sophomore also drew two walks on the day.
Bates took the loss in the game, falling to 1-1 on the year, while Anteater reliever Andre Pallante earned the win to advance to 4-2 on the year.
The Trojans will be back in action on Friday, April 21 at 7 p.m. as they begin a series at California.