Did the Aggies win a championship?
Did they make the playoffs?
Did they have a winning record?
The answer to each of these questions is, “no”.
Despite the beliefs that they could have done better, the Aggies consider the 2010 season a success.
“We finished about where I thought we would,” said coach Rex Peters. “When you look back, you see some things that could have been improved but this season was definitely a step in the right direction.”
Before the season concluded, UC Davis faced UC Riverside on the road in a high-scoring series.
Friday – UC Riverside 12, UC Davis 8
You know the outcome of a game is unknown when 10 runs are scored in the final nine outs.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, the Highlanders would get the last laugh.
In his final appearance of the year, pitcher Dayne Quist was not on top of his game. The sophomore from Santa Cruz, Calif. allowed 11 hits, seven earned runs and four walks over 6.2 innings pitched. Quist also struck out three batters and threw a total of 124 pitches.
UC Davis tried to help out their starter as they scored five runs in the top of the eighth to take the 8-7 lead. However, David Popkins and Scott Heinig would combine to give up five earned runs in the bottom of the frame to give UC Riverside a lead it would not relinquish.
“We did a pretty good job battling back with a couple of big hits,” Peters said. “Unfortunately we panicked a little bit on the mound and lost our command. When you press the panic button, things start to unravel.”
Saturday – UC Riverside 26, UC Davis 7
In Saturday’s game, the Aggies allowed the most runs since 1962.
Starter Sean Watson lasted only 1.2 innings as he allowed 10 hits and 10 earned runs. CJ Blom did only slightly better in relief as he gave up 10 runs, seven earned, on 12 hits in 4.1 innings. Peters simply said, “We pitched very poorly.”
Despite the lopsided score, the Aggies never gave up at the plate as they scored seven runs against a tough Highlander squad.
UC Davis logged 15 hits in total led by shortstop Justin Schafer who went 3-for-5 with three runs, two RBI and a home run.
“We were playing a tough club,” Peters said. “We scored a lot over the first two games. You’d think you’d be able to pull out a win after scoring 15 runs in two days.”
Sunday – UC Davis 13, UC Riverside 1
Despite tough losses on Friday and Saturday, UC Davis bounced back to end the season on a positive note.
The win would not have been possible if not for pitcher Scott Lyman.
The sophomore out of Alamo, Calif. started the game on the mound and came through with seven innings of one-run baseball in which he allowed five hits, three walks and recorded three strikeouts.
His dominance did not end there as he drove the team offensively as well. He went 3-for-6 from the dish with four RBI and a run scored.
“He played well,” Peters said. “He has the potential to do that against anybody if he’s on his game. We got some runs early and he never let up.”
Popkins, Seth Batty and Kyle Mihaylo each added three hits to help Lyman.
Popkins ended the season leading the team with a .388 batting average, a .473 on base percentage, a .580 slugging percentage, 43 RBI and three triples.
The number two and three hitters on the team in terms of batting average are Lyman and first baseman Eric Johnson. Popkins, Lyman and Johnson are all sophomores, setting up UC Davis for a bright future.
“We have a talented young team,” Peters said. “We were very inconsistent on the mound but our offense gave us a chance to win most games. Hopefully this season will put us over the hump.”
MARK LING can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.