If you’re losing by seven runs in the ninth inning, you might feel like giving up.
Unless you’re an Aggie, that is.
In the first contest of a three-game series, UC Davis scored nine in the ninth inning and eventually won by a score of 12-11.
“To do that is miraculous,” said coach Rex Peters. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire career.”
Unfortunately for UC Davis, after overcoming that monstrous deficit, the Roadrunners would turn on the jets in the final two games of the series.
Friday – UC Davis 12, Cal State Bakersfield 11
Things did not look good at first.
Workhorse Dayne Quist was off his game as he allowed five runs to score – only three of which were earned – despite striking out a season-high eight batters in six innings. Reliever Scott Heinig came in and allowed five runs in just two innings, putting the Aggies into a seemingly insurmountable hole.
Then the UC Davis offense came alive.
In total, six Aggies recorded multi-hit games highlighted by first baseman Eric Johnson who went 2-for-5 with four RBI and shortstop Justin Schafer who went 2-for-5 with three runs scored.
“We just strung hits together for the first time in the game,” Peters said of the ninth-inning outburst. “We finally built some momentum and capitalized on it.”
After taking the 12-10 lead into the bottom of the ninth, the Aggies called upon newly anointed closer Matthew Lewis to shut the door on the Roadrunners.
Lewis gave UC Davis a scare as he allowed a walk, a single and a sacrifice fly to begin the inning. He then locked Cal State Bakersfield down by striking out the final two batters of the game.
“He’s really embraced the role,” Peters said. “He’s the guy who’s getting the ball to close things out.”
Saturday – Cal State Bakersfield 12, UC Davis 4
After a thrilling victory on Friday, UC Davis looked to carry their positive momentum into Saturday.
They had no such luck as starter Scott Lyman allowed nine hits and six earned runs in four innings despite recording six strikeouts.
While they believe they could have been better on the hill, the Aggies attribute their pitching and defensive woes to a hitter-friendly environment.
“They have a real offensive ballpark [in Bakersfield],” Peters said. “I do have to give their hitters credit, though. They worked hard and executed their game plan well.”
The Aggie offensive attack was led by third baseman Paul Politi who went 3-for-4 at the dish while Schafer and Johnson had two hits apiece for the second straight game.
Sunday – Cal State Bakersfield 19, UC Davis 8
The offensively oriented series ended with a bang as both teams combined to score a total of 27 runs on Sunday.
Unfortunately for UC Davis, its pitching and defensive struggles continued resulting in the lopsided final score.
“We just didn’t play well at all,” Peters said. “We didn’t pitch well and we kicked it around defensively. When you do that, you’re asking for trouble.”
In just his second collegiate start, CJ Blom allowed eight runs in two innings but only two were earned. After Blom exited in the third frame, the Aggies continued to struggle on the mound due in large part to fatigue.
“We were worn down by a long week,” Peters said. “We only have nine active pitchers which isn’t enough. We just ran out of gas.”
The Aggies return to action today as they travel to Nevada. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
MARK LING can be reached at email@example.com.