The red-hot UC Irvine Anteaters came into this weekend’s Big West showdown with the Long Beach State Dirtbags on a 13-game winning streak. After winning the first two games of the three-game set, the Anteaters dropped the series finale on Sunday to snap their win streak at an impressive 15 games. UC Irvine may have come into the season with modest expectations, but head coach Mike Gillespie’s tactic of sharing the playing time at a number of positions until an obvious starter emerges appears to be playing dividends.
UC Irvine’s Adam (A.J.) Alcantara continues to start roughly half of the team’s games and split his time between the two corner outfield positions. Over the last two weeks, Alcantara has gone three-for-eight with an impressive six RBI, but it’s still not enough to earn a starting job with the team firing on all cylinders. Alcantara has put up a .286 / .375 / .306 slash line (BA / OBP / SLG) in 49 at-bats this season.
Freshman right fielder Ben Polshuk of Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo) has only been given a pair of at-bats over the last couple of weeks. He’s 1-for-18 at the plate this season. The other current HarbourCat on the Cal Poly squad, freshman Austin Dondanville, has yet to make his college debut on the mound.
UC Irvine continues to hold down the top spot in the Big West Conference with an 8-1 record in conference play and they may even crack the Top 25 rankings this week. Cal Poly is tied for third place with a 4-2 conference record, while the UC Davis Aggies fall to 4-5.
|Mareno Rankin |
aka Reno Rankin Jr.
- Over the last 15 games, LA Mission’s Reno Rankin Jr. has gone 9-for-25 with three walks, eight runs scored and nine RBI. The speedy outfielder has clubbed three extra-base hits in his last 20 at-bats after only registering one in his first 38 at-bats, so it’s good to see his slugging percentage (.397) on the rise. Although Rankin has been splitting time between left and right field, the freshman can also play in centre. For the season, he’s hitting .310 with no homers and nine RBI in 58 at-bats, and he boasts a team-leading .488 on-base percentage, so I would expect him to get more playing time moving forward if he can keep getting on base at that clip. Rankin has also walked more often than he has struck out this year (10 walks versus nine K’s).
- Alex Fagalde of Cuesta College has settled into a groove after four rough outings to start the season. The sophomore right-hander has posted wins in three consecutive starts, limiting the opposition to only five earned runs on 21 hits and six walks in 24 innings on the hill. Fagalde walked six and struck out 17 over those three appearances, and he has now thrown five consecutive quality starts. He currently sports a 3.58 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 60 ⅓ innings pitched.
- Sophomore centre fielder Kevin Amezquita of East LA College has gone 5-for-21 with three walks and an RBI since we last checked up on him a couple of weeks ago. Three of those five hits were for extra bases, a good sign considering that he only launched three extra-base hits in his first 94 at-bats of the year. Amezquita is hitting .261 with no homers and 13 RBI in 115 at-bats this season, but he has notched a solid .363 on-base percentage.