Brian Walbrink’s two-run home run put UC Riverside ahead to stay in the top of the eighth inning, and the third-seeded Highlanders withstood a four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth to upset Richmond, the nation’s No. 17-ranked team, 10-8, in the first round of an NCAA baseball regional at Stanford on Friday.
Scott Powis drove in four runs for the Highlanders (41-15), who overcame an early 4-0 deficit, scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, three in the eighth and five in the ninth.
Chad Decker (4-0) pitched a season-high 4 2/3 innings in relief and got the win. Brian Hoff got the final three outs in the ninth, when the Spiders scored four times to cut a 10-4 deficit to 10-8.
Jason Collette also homered for UC Riverside, which has won four in a row and nine of 12.
All-American pitcher Tim Stauffer (9-5), who had given up one earned run in his previous 21 innings, took the loss for Richmond (46-14). He gave up five runs and a season-high 11 hits in eight innings. He struck out 11, giving him a school-record 146 for the season.
Riverside starter Jaymie Torres gave up four runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings. He walked one with no strikeouts.
Riverside, which finished third in the Big West, today will play Stanford, which defeated Illinois-Chicago, 9-2. Richmond, the Atlantic-10 tournament winner, plays Illinois-Chicago.
The Highlanders’ comeback began in the fifth, when Powis scored on a throwing error. He hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Collette led off the eighth with his fifth home run of the season. After Brian Emmons reached on an error, Walbrink hit a towering drive over the left-field fence for his team-leading 12th home run and a 5-4 lead.
Riverside added five runs in the ninth, including Powis’ bases-loaded triple.
Jim Fasano’s two-run homer powered Richmond’s rally in the ninth.