Kendle’s two-out, two-run single gives UC Irvine a wild, 13-12 win over Nicholls State in the NCAAs

CORVALLIS, Oregon (AP) — Caden Kendle’s two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth lifted second-seeded UC Irvine to a wild, 13-12 victory after Nicholls State wiped out a 9-1 deficit and led 12-11 in the top of the inning at the Corvallis Regional in the NCAA Tournament on Friday.

The Colonels got their dramatic, three-run blast from first baseman Edgar Alvarez with one out in the ninth. But Nicholls State reliever Devin Desandro could not hold down the Anteaters.

He gave up a single to pinch hitter Jacob Stinson and a walk to Wade Hadeen. Myles Smith, who homered twice and drove in five runs to build the big lead, then reached on an error by third baseman Gerardo Villareal to load the bases.

That’s when Kendle sliced the ball into right field for the winning hit that touched off a crazy celebration for the Anteaters, a Big West Conference team who reached the NCAAs for the first time since 2021.

It was total disappointment for the Colonels (38-21), who looked like they would get their first tournament win after entering play 0-8 all time.

UC Irvine (44-12) will take on either host and top-seeded Oregon State or Tulane on Saturday for control of the regional.

Nicholls State plays the Oregon State-Tulane loser in an elimination game.

UC Irvine’s Smith, a junior, hit a two-run homer to right center in the first and added a three-run shot to right in the fourth, his ninth and 10th home runs of the season.

Kendle drove in three runs and, like Smith, finished with three hits.

David Utagawa (3-0), UC Irvine’s fourth pitcher, got the final two outs for the win. Desandro (6-5) took the loss.


AP college sports:

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