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Big West Conference
'Small ball' has big payoff for UC Irvine baseball and Mike Gillespie
'Small ball' has big payoff for UC Irvine baseball and Mike Gillespie

Arms folded, Mike Gillespie slowly circles the dirt-meets-grass perimeter of the infield at UC Irvine's baseball stadium, pausing every few feet to monitor an intrasquad scrimmage from a different angle, with a different gaze, in a different glint of sunlight. As his team practices, he is searching for cracks in its game. The coach's voice is a whisper from willing his underdog team to a place at college baseball's mecca, Omaha, Neb., home of the College World Series. No matter. Gillespie doesn't need to yell to establish his command. Everyone on the field and in the dugout knows who is in charge. And they follow orders, no matter how unpredictable or unorthodox the...

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