UCI News

Baseball program marks 10th season since revival

Ten years ago, UCI baseball returned,and with a College World Series appearance in 2007 and a stretch as the No. 1 team in the country in 2009, today stands as one of the best programs in the nation.

by Tom Vasich, University Communications | February 7, 2011

On the chilly evening of Jan. 25, 2002, more than 3,000 eager fans jammed into Anteater Ballpark to see something UC Irvine students hadn’t done in a decade: play baseball. Due to budget cuts, the program had been jettisoned in 1992. Buoyed by campuswide support, however, Anteater baseball rose from the ashes 10 years later and — with a College World Series appearance in 2007 and a stretch as the No. 1 team in the country in 2009 — today stands as one of the best programs in the nation.

The 2011 UCI baseball season kicks off Feb. 18 at home against Nevada. Once again, the Anteaters field a top team, earning a preseason No. 2 ranking in the competitive Big West Conference. In recognition of the 10th season since the program’s return, here’s a look at UCI baseball, by the numbers.

1: NCAA Division I College World Series appearance, in 2007

2: NCAA Division II national championships, in 1973 and ’74

6: Division I postseason appearances

10: Anteaters who earned 2009 All-Big West Conference honors, a record

12: times Ben Orloff’s name can be found in the NCAA Division I record book

22: conference wins in 2009 while capturing the Anteaters’ only Big West title

31: days ranked No. 1 in the country, in 2009

53: career saves by pitcher Blair Erickson from 2004 to 2007, an NCAA record

58: wins over rival Long Beach State, the most against any team in UCI baseball history

63: Anteaters named Big West Scholar-Athletes since 2002

69: bases stolen by Ollie Linton in 2006, a team record

89: Anteaters drafted by Major League Baseball organizations

126: wins since Hall of Fame head coach Mike Gillespie joined UCI in fall 2007

328: games won since program returned in 2002

394: runs batted in recorded in 2009, a single-season record

.403: batting average of Tom Spence in 1971, a school record

405: feet from home plate to the centerfield fence at Anteater Ballpark

1972: year that Dave Lyons won the NCAA Division II batting title with a .323 average

3,083: largest attendance in new era of UCI baseball (opening night in 2002)