Stockton, Calif. - Brett Christopher turned in a three-for-four day at the plate, and freshman RHP Michael Benson turned in a quality start, but Pacific couldn't come back from an early deficit. The Tigers fell to UC Riverside, 5-2, in the opening game of a three-game series at Klein Family Field.
Freshman DH Taylor Murphy drove in both runs for Pacific, while senior RF Allen Riley added a double in his four trips to the plate.
Riverside scored a pair of unearned runs in the second and built a 5-0 lead before Pacific tallied two in the sixth. The Tigers had the tying run at the plate in the ninth, but stranded a pair of runners.
The Highlanders (18-26, 6-10 Big West) got on the board in the second when DH Kevin Davidson was hit by pitch and a grounder up the middle slipped under a glove and into centerfield with one out. After a foul out, C Bart Steponovich singled to center to plate one run and SS Eddie Young followed with an RBI single to left for a 2-0 lead.
RF David Andreise homered over the 365 sign in right center field in the third for his third home run of the season and a 3-0 UC Riverside advantage.
In the fifth, CF Devyn Bolansky singled through the left side and 3B Vince Gonzalez followed with a single to right field. LF Clayton Prestridge pulled a grounder into the hole at short, which Tiger senior SS Josh Simms backhanded, but his throw back to second wasn't in time to get the runner as Prestridge picked up the RBI single to make it 4-0.
In the Riverside sixth, 1B Kyle Boudreau walked, went to third on a single by 2B Alex Rubanowitz and came in to score on a Steponovich single to left before Benson got a double-play ball to end the inning.
Pacific got its bats working in the sixth, as Simms walked to open the frame and freshman CF Tyler Sullivan singled through the right side. Redshirt freshman Erik Lockwood smoked a line drive to second for the first out, but Rubanowitz's throw to first trying to double off Sullivan went awry allowing the runners to move up a base. Murphy delivered a two-run single to left center to cut the gap to 5-2.
Christopher laid down a bunt single in the seventh, and Simms added a two-out single, but Riverside RHP Eddie Orozco recordd his third strikeout of the inning to end the frame and strand a pair on base.
Orozco (5-5) departed after eight innings, allowing one earned run on seven hits. He struck out 12 to take over the Big West lea with 95 Ks on the season, while walking two.
In the ninth, Riverside's LHP Ben Doucette hit sophomore 2B Curtis Gomez, and Christopher's hot shot to short was throw away by Young, setting up second and third with no one out. But Duucette fanned the next three batters to end the ballgame and record his fourth save.
Benson allowed three earned runs in eight innings, striking out three and walking one. He surrendered 11 hits, but the Tigers' defense turned four double-plays behind him. He falls to 2-8 despite a 3.25 ERA.
Junior LHP Travis Lumby did not allow a hit in a scoreless ninth for Pacific (11-36, 1-15 Big West).
The Tigers and Highlanders will return to Klein Family Field for Saturday's 6 p.m. game two.