Six games in six days – the busiest stretch of the UC Davis baseball team’s season is over.
There may not be anybody more relieved than coach Rex Peters.
“It was a very busy week, and you always worry if you have enough pitching to get through a week like that,” Peters said. “We’re past it now, so hopefully we can move forward into the lighter part of our schedule where it will be less taxing on our pitching staff.“
UC Davis ended the six-day stretch with a four-game series against No. 21 San Diego State. The Aggies knocked off the Aztecs on Sunday to push their record to 5-21.
The team returns to Big West Conference action when it hosts UC Santa Barbara for a three-game series. First pitch at Dobbins Stadium is scheduled for Friday at 2:30 p.m.
Friday – SDSU 14, UC Davis 0
Stephen Strasburg was as good as advertised. His catcher Erik Castro was even better.
The country’s most highly-touted prospect allowed only two hits in six scoreless innings, and Castro blasted two home runs and had six RBI to lead the Aztecs to a 14-0 win over the Aggies on Friday at PETCO Park.
UC Davis managed just five hits – all singles – in the loss, but Strasburg registered a season-low six strikeouts.
“We knew going into that game it was going to be a tough one for us to get with Strasburg on the mound,” Peters said. “He should be the first overall pick in the draft, but I thought we worked him pretty well, got his pitch count up.“
Saturday – Game 1: SDSU 9, UC Davis 4
UC Davis struggled with its control on the mound, and SDSU capitalized.
Five of the seven Aztecs to draw walks went on to score in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader, proving to be the difference in the Aggies‘ 9-4 loss at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
“It’s kind of been our Achilles heel on the mound, commanding the strike zone,” Peters said. “That comes back to haunt you against very good teams. You’re going to pay for it.“
Saturday – Game 2: SDSU 5, UC Davis 3
Ryan O’Sullivan led off the seventh inning with a walk. The next batter, Pat Colwell, followed suit.
Control problems had already led to one UC Davis loss on Saturday. Sure enough, they were about to lead to a second.
Breaking a 3-3 tie, Brandon Meredith singled to left to bring home O‘Sullivan, and Colwell scored the insurance run off a wild pitch as SDSU clinched the series with a 5-3 win.
The two-run Aztec seventh directly followed a game-tying, two-run outburst earlier in the inning by the Aggies.
“That’s been an issue that has occurred far too often,” Peters said, “where we have either taken the lead or tied the game offensively and go right back the next inning and start with two leadoff walks that give the lead right back. We need to be able to put a zero after we take a lead, and we haven’t been able to do a good job of that.“
Sunday – UC Davis 6, SDSU 5
Scott Lyman had made a mess in his previous appearance.
This time, the freshman salvaged a series by cleaning one up.
In the seventh, after Castro hit an RBI single to cut the Aggies‘ lead to two runs at 6-4, Lyman entered the game with the bases loaded and one out. The 6-foot-3 righthander then forced two fly outs to escape the inning before finishing the Aztecs off with two scoreless frames in a 6-5 UC Davis win.
The save was the first of Lyman’s collegiate career and came one week after allowing seven earned runs in a loss to Pacific.
“That was a huge step for Scotty, his confidence, his career and his advancement as a pitcher to pitch like he did in those circumstances,” Peters said. “He grew up a little bit in that game.“
MICHAEL GEHLKEN can be reached at email@example.com.