If there were one word to sum up UC Davis baseball, it would be resilient.
After being swept in a three-game series at Cal State Fullerton by a combined score of 46-13, the Aggies rebounded by taking two out of three from a tough Long Beach State squad.
“We needed to get back on the right track and win this series,” coach Rex Peters said. “It turned out that we played well enough to get two wins. [The Dirtbags] have a pretty good program with a pretty good tradition so I’m happy with it after getting banged around last weekend.”
Friday – UC Davis 3, Long Beach State 2
In the first game after the Cal State Fullerton series, UC Davis looked to Dayne Quist to set the tone.
He delivered by pitching 8.1 innings during which he struck out seven, walked two and allowed two earned runs. Quist had a shutout through eight innings but allowed two Dirtbags to cross the plate with one out in the ninth.
The Aggies then brought in reliever Matthew Lewis who was handed the task of closing out a close game. He did not back down as he struck out the only two batters he faced to record his first save of the season.
In the contest, left fielder David Popkins recorded a hit for the fourth game in a row while right fielder Scott Lyman went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
The Aggies were able to capitalize on three Dirtbag errors as all three of the UC Davis runs were unearned.
“In nonconference, you play teams that occasionally make mistakes,” Popkins said. “In the Big West you don’t find too many mistakes and if you do, you need to take advantage of it.”
Saturday – Game 1: UC Davis 10, Long Beach State 8
Going into this series, Peters believed that there wouldn’t be many runs scored.
His prediction came true in Friday’s game, but the doubleheader was a different story.
The Aggies took an 8-0 lead in the second inning, and despite allowing a late Dirtbag charge, held on to clinch an important series win.
“Last weekend [against Cal State Fullerton] was so bad it was important for us to get back on the horse and get after it,” said shortstop Justin Schafer. “We did that and it’s a much better feeling.”
Despite starting strong, pitcher Scott Lyman, who had a shutout through five innings, ended up allowing five earned runs and 10 hits in 6.1 innings.
The Aggie offense would carry the team as four players logged two-hit games including Popkins who went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
Long Beach State made a late charge but UC Davis again brought in Lewis for the two-out save. Mirroring his performance from the day before, Lewis struck out two to earn his second save in as many days.
Saturday – Game 2: Long Beach State 11, UC Davis 0
After clinching the series win earlier in the day, the Aggies looked to sweep the Dirtbags in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Unfortunately for UC Davis, Long Beach State came out firing on all cylinders.
Despite the lopsided loss that saw 11 runs and 18 hits for Dirtbags compared to zero runs and three hits for the Aggies, UC Davis was happy to win two out of three.
“It’s awesome,” Popkins said. “It would’ve been nice to sweep them but to win the series is great. Even the loss doesn’t take away from that.”
MARK LING can be reached at email@example.com.