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Morning Briefing: This UC Irvine baseball victory was so extra

When you see a baseball score of 17-4, it’s safe to assume that the winning team scored multiple runs in more than one inning and won in a nine-inning romp.

But that’s not always the case.

UC Irvine played Utah Valley State on Saturday in Orem, Utah. Trailing 4-3 going into the ninth inning, the Anteaters got a one-out single from Christian Koss, who then advanced to third on a bad pickoff throw. Brendan Brooks tied the score with a sacrifice fly, sending the game into extra innings.

Then everything fell apart for Utah Valley. Irvine loaded the bases with no one out in the 10th.

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An error scored a run.

A walk scored a run.

A hit by pitch scored a run.

Another walk scored a run.

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Then Mikey Filia hit a grand slam.

Then a single, another hit batter and a walk loaded the bases with one out.

A fielder’s choice scored a run.

Then Brooks hit a three-run homer.

Then a walk and a double scored another run.

By the time the final out of the top of the 10th inning was made, the Anteaters had scored 13 runs (seven earned) on six hits, one error, two hit batters and six walks.

Final score: UC Irvine 17, Utah Valley State 4 (10).

Surely, though, the next day had to go better for the Wolverines, right? Yes, it did, and don’t call me Shirley. They lost to UC Irvine again by the same score of 17-4, but this time it wasn’t in extra innings.

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All that might explain why Utah Valley is 3-17 after losing another 10-inning game Tuesday, 14-13 to Brigham Young. UC Irvine is 12-4 and ranked No. 22 in the nation by Baseball America.

Browns as favorites?

The forecasters in Las Vegas have released their NFL division title odds, and would you believe the Cleveland Browns are favored to win the AFC North?

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened the Browns as 7-5 favorites to win the North, followed by Pittsburgh at 8-5, Baltimore at 5-2 and Cincinnati at 30-1. There are no records readily available for teams’ opening odds, but according to SportsOddsHistory.com, the Browns have never closed as the AFC North favorites (dating to 2002 when the four-team division was created).

SuperBook director John Murray told ESPN the Browns had “the most talented roster in the division, and they are the team the public will be looking to bet.”

The Rams opened as 1-2 favorites to win the NFC West, followed by Seattle (5-2), San Francisco (7-1) and Arizona (25-1). Meanwhile, the Chargers are 3-1 to win the AFC West, trailing Kansas City (4-11) but ahead of Denver and Oakland (both 14-1).

NIT thrills

Indiana men’s basketball coach Archie Miller was not happy his team was overlooked for the NCAA tournament, but he’s happy to be a top-seeded team in the NIT.

“It is an honor to earn an invitation to postseason play of any kind, and our program will treat it as such,” Miller said. “We look forward to the opportunity to be a No. 1 seed in the NIT, and our goal is to win and take advantage of the experiences we can gain as a team.”

The Hoosiers beat visiting St. Francis (Pa.) 89-72 in the first round Tuesday night.

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I guess it’s OK to be excited about going to the NIT instead of the tournament that everyone cares about. It’s like being excited to finish in fourth place in an Olympic event. Or being named valedictorian of summer school. Or finishing second in a state Senate election.


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