The UC Davis baseball team didn’t have any wins to show for it, but it flew back from Portland, Ore. on Sunday with its offense back on track.
After a slow start to the season, the Aggies had 12 hits in Game 1 of Saturday’s double header and 10 more in Game 2. It was the first time all season they had strung together consecutive double-digit hitting efforts.
“I think it’s a sign that the bats are finally beginning to come around,“ said coach Rex Peters. “I think we’re a better offensive team that we’ve shown through 10 games this year and that we’re due to swing the bats and start producing some runs.
“Hopefully, we can do that, make some adjustments in our pitching and start to gather ourselves and play some better baseball.“
UC Davis dropped to 2-8 on the season after the sweep from Portland (8-4). It returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Nevada at 2:30 p.m.
Friday – Portland 4, UC Davis 2
The weather in Davis had kept the Aggies off the field and out of the batting cages.
For the first six innings on Friday, it showed.
UC Davis, which saw one home game postponed and another canceled earlier in the week due to rain, didn’t get a runner in scoring position before a two-run seventh inning that proved to be too little, too late in a 4-2 loss to Portland.
“We’re trying to get our hitters in rhythm, but when the weather is how it’s been the last few weeks, it’s kind of difficult,” Peters said. “I think it’s comparable to a basketball team going out and playing a game without shooting a basketball. That’s kind of what we’ve been doing – trying to go out there and produce runs without being on the baseball field.“
The lack of offense spoiled what was Jeremy McChesney’s best start of the season. The senior lasted a season-best five and one-third innings and allowed only three runs on five hits and two walks.
Saturday – Game 1: Portland 10, UC Davis 9
Pilots coach Chris Sperry was tossed after arguing a double that he thought looked foul.
As it would turn out, the ejection kept him from seeing the double that ended up mattering most.
Daniel Cepin scored the go-ahead run in the seventh after reaching base on the controversial double call, but the Pilots retook the lead for good when Riley Henricks hit a two-RBI double in the eighth that lifted the Pilots to a 10-9 win.
“I don’t know if him being ejected was the spark to that,“ Peters said of the Pilots rally, “but he was arguing a groundball that went over the first base bag that I thought was fair.“
Cepin went 2-for-3 with three runs to the RBI double. Ty Kelly hit a two-run homer in the first and finished 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI.
Converted reliever Andy Suiter allowed three hits, four walks and gave up five runs (three earned) in his start, lasting two-thirds of an inning.
The junior has pitched six and one-third innings in his three starts and will likely return to the bullpen.
“I think we have to sit down as a coaching staff in the next couple of days and talk about Andy and how he is best going to help this team,” Peters said. “Maybe that’s moving him to the bullpen where he has had some success in the past, and give somebody who better commands the strike zone the opportunity to pitch on Saturdays.“
Saturday – Game 2: Portland 5, UC Davis 3
The Aggies jumped out to their fastest start of the year.
Single by single, the Pilots methodically undid it.
UC Davis opened the game with three runs on four hits, but Portland hit five straight one-out singles and six singles total in a four-run first off Tom Briner en route to a 5-3 win.
“To Tommy’s credit, he did adjust after that first inning and gave us five good innings after that,” Peters said. “But sometimes the game is won or lost in the first inning.
“We didn’t do anything offensively for the rest of the game, so that first inning made all the difference. It started out as a positive for us, but it ended up being a negative.“
MICHAEL GEHLKEN can be reached at email@example.com.