Elliot Surrey (Crescenta Valley High, 2012) UC Irvine baseball sophomore: UC Irvine’s surprising NCAA postseason run was furthered Friday night and the Falcons product was very much the catalyst.
Surrey pitched seven innings in notching a quality start, allowing five hits and two walks, while striking out five. He allowed two runs, but both were unearned.
In three postseason appearances now, Surrey has thrown 15 innings and allowed two earned runs for a 1.20 earned-run average, while going 2-0 with a save.
Surrey got off to a bit of a rough start, allowing an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning after a one-out error by the third baseman was followed by a double and a run-scoring groundout. Surrey allowed a base runner in each of the next two innings, but kept Oklahoma State off the scoreboard.
Irvine answered the call at the plate in the top of the fourth, plating a pair of runs on a two-run, two-out single by Adam Alcantara.
Surrey carried the momentum into the bottom of the inning with his first 1-2-3 stanza of the game. He retired seven straight at one point with perfect fourth and fifth innings. In the bottom of the fifth, Irvine erupted for five runs to push the lead to 7-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, Surrey got into some trouble, allowing a leadoff single and a one-out base hit, but stranded both runners, notching a strikeout and a line out to end the threat. After a leadoff walk in the seventh, Surrey induced a pop-up before recording back-to-back strikeouts to retire the side.
Surrey took to the hill to start the eighth, but gave up a leadoff single through second base on a ball that was poorly fielded. That spelled the end to Surrey’s night and, consequently, Irvine began to unravel. An error followed to allow another runner to reach before a three-run home run, a single and a hit by pitch. When the inning finally concluded, Oklahoma State had halved its deficit at 8-4, but left the bases loaded.
Despite a stellar regular and Big West Conference season, Surrey was left off the All-Big West Tournament team.
Then Surrey dazzled in the Corvallis Regional to open the NCAA postseason, getting a win over the top-ranked team in the nation with seven innings of three-hit ball, with two runs charged against him in a 14-2 win over Oregon State before locking down his first save in the 4-2 regional-clinching win over Oregon State once again with an inning of scoreless ball.
The second game of the best-of-three series with Oklahoma State is set to air on ESPNU at 7 p.m. PDT Saturday.
Surrey now sports an 8-4 record with a 1.99 earned-run average over 18 appearances (17 starts) and 108 1/3 innings. He’s struck out 75 to 27 walks.
UC Irvine (39-23) has won of the last four selections to the NCAA Tournament after finishing fourth in the Big West and losing its final seven games of the regular season, but is now making its fourth appearance in the Super Regional round since 2002.
Ruben Padilla (Glendale Community College, 2012) Chico State baseball senior: A phenomenal season for Padilla and Chico State came to a close May 26 in the NCAA Division II College World Series, as the Wildcats lost to Tampa, 14-6.
Padilla was two for four in his final college game, driving in a run with a fifth-inning single to left field that cut the score to 10-5. Chico plated another run to cut the deficit to 10-6, but Tampa scored two runs in the seventh and eighth innings to put the game out of reach.
Chico ended its season with a 43-15 record, having won its ninth West Region title in 18 seasons.
Chico defeated Dixie State (5-4), California Baptist (2-0), UC San Diego (6-5) and San Diego again (3-1) to win the West Regional between May 15-18 in La Jolla.
The Wildcats opened up the NCAA DII series on May 24 in North Carolina with a loss to Lander before falling to Tampa two days later. For the postseason, Padilla, the Wildcats’ starting third baseman, hit five for 20 with two runs and an RBI.
Padilla started all 58 games for the Wildcats, hitting .316 (68 for 215), which was third-highest on the Wildcats, with a team-high 10 doubles to go along with 31 runs, 25 runs batted in, a .386 on-base percentage and seven stolen bases.
Padilla’s accolades hardly went without recognition. He was named a West Region Gold Glover, a Daktronics first-team All-West Region honoree, an American Baseball Coaches Assn. All-West Region second-team pick, a first-team All-California Collegiate Athletic Assn. pick and a CCAA championship all-tourney pick.
Will Thayer (Crescenta Valley High, 2009) Hawaii Hilo baseball senior: Thayer singled in his final college game on May 4 and scored the game-winning run in his team’s final win of the season on May 3.
Overall it was a bit of a rough go for Hawaii Hilo, though, as the squad finished 14-33 with a 9-21 record in the Pacific West Conference. Hilo dropped a doubleheader to Hawaii Pacific, 15-6, 2-0, to end the season May 4. Hilo swept a doubleheader against Pacific, 4-4, 3-1, the day prior.
Thayer became a regular in the starting lineup in right field in late March.
Thayer played in 39 games, hitting .206 (14 for 68) with a team-leading two home runs and added 10 runs, eight RBI, 13 walks and five stolen bases.
Follow Grant Gordon on Twitter: @TCNGrantGordon.