For the second weekend in a row, the UC Davis baseball team faced off against nationally ranked Big West Conference competition.
For the second weekend in a row, the Aggies left play on the wrong side of a three-game sweep.
After falling to No. 15 Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo last week, UC Davis dropped three straight at the hands of No. 9 Cal State Fullerton at Dobbins Stadium over the weekend.
The Aggies came into the series with hot bats, having scored 30 runs in their previous four games, but were held to a single run over their three-game set with the Titans.
The UC Davis pitching staff bounced back from a rough Friday showing (13 runs) to limit Fullerton to a combined nine runs on Saturday and Sunday. The bats couldn’t come alive for the Aggies, though, costing them the opportunity to salvage the series.
Friday – Cal State Fullerton 13, UC Davis 1
Highlights were few and far between in the series opener Friday afternoon. Fullerton recorded 21 hits en route to breezing to a 13-1 win over UC Davis on Friday.
The UC Davis offense engineered its lone run in the home half of the seventh. Catcher Scott Kalush grounded to the shortstop for a fielder’s choice that allowed left fielder Kyle Mihaylo to score from third.
Third baseman Ty Kelly paced the Aggies by going 2-for-3 at the plate. Both hits were singles.
Pitching woes weren’t the only problems for UC Davis. The team committed three fielding errors, giving Titans starter Daniel Denken more cushion than he’d need.
Denken was dealing Friday, allowing six hits and one earned run in eight innings of work. Denken had a no-hitter through 5.2 innings before Kelly broke things up with an infield single.
Saturday – Cal State Fullerton 3, UC Davis 0
UC Davis pitcher Scott Chew threw seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball. It wasn’t enough, though, as the Aggie offense was shut down in a 3-0 defeat.
“My game plan was to throw all my off speed stuff for strikes, keep everything down and not fall behind their hitters,” Chew said.
“When you get the leadoff hitter out against them, it kind of takes them out of their offense,” said coach Rex Peters. “Scotty did a good job of that today.“
Chew was matched by Cal State Fullerton pitcher Tyler Pill, who dealt a complete-game, four-hit shutout.
Though both teams were blessed with solid pitching from their starters, only the Titans were able to capitalize on their offensive opportunities.
“We had a few opportunities to get on the board,” Peters said. “We had a leadoff double early, but just couldn’t get him to third and as a result didn’t score him.“
The Aggies and Titans each gave up four hits and committed two errors, but Fullerton was able to manufacture three runs while holding UC Davis scoreless.
Sunday – Cal State Fullerton 6, UC Davis 0
The Titans were once again led by a stellar pitching performance in the series finale.
This time it was Noe Ramirez who shut down UC Davis by throwing eight shutout innings to lead Fullerton to a 6-0 win and the series sweep. Ramirez allowed just four hits and added seven strikeouts.
Offensively, the Aggies were led by second baseman Justin Schafer. He had two singles on the day, making him the only UC Davis batter with multiple hits. Right fielder Ryan Scoma singled in the UC Davis half of the fourth to push his hitting streak to 10 games.
The three-game Titan sweep drops UC Davis to 7-31 on the year and 1-11 in Big West play. Fullerton, meanwhile, improves to 9-6 in league and 29-11 overall.
The Aggies are on the road this week, starting with a game at Nevada tonight at 6. They then travel south for a three-game weekend set against Big West foe Long Beach State.
JOHN S. HELLER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.