Taylor Sparks hit his nation-leading ninth triple of the season to fuel UC Irvine's three-run eighth inning in the Anteaters' 3-1 victory over Texas in the opening game of the College World Series Saturday afternoon at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
The Anteaters had been shut out for seven innings before they broke through against Texas starter Nathan Thornhill (8-3) and reliever John Curtiss.
One of the last four teams selected for the NCAA Tournament, UC Irvine (41-23) continued to amaze during a postseason run in which it knocked off No. 1 national seed Oregon State and swept a Super Regional at Oklahoma State.
The Anteaters advanced to a winner's game Monday against Vanderbilt or Louisville. The Longhorns (43-20) play the Vanderbilt-Louisville loser.
Evan Brock (9-6) earned the win, pitching 2.1 innings of no-hit relief and striking out the side in the ninth.
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