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Davis, California

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Aggies’ streak stops just short of seven

The Aggies were on a roll.

With a 6-5 victory over San Jose State on Wednesday, UC Davis had a four-game win-streak heading into a series at Pacific.

The Aggies tacked on two more wins in Stockton as key individuals came up big for the team.

“It was a combination of everything,” said coach Rex Peters. “You have to be playing good baseball to win six in a row. That entails quality pitching, and most of our guys were giving us seven-plus good innings. And then you have to get some quality hits. All through that six-game win-streak, we were doing all of those things.”

In game three of the weekend series, however, it took a two-out run in the bottom of the eighth to put an end to the Aggies’ stretch of six wins.

With the series victory, UC Davis moves to 15-26 on the season, with an 8-7 Big West Conference record.

Friday – UC Davis 6, Pacific 3

Down 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning, UC Davis had a reason to respond.

The Aggies answered with a run in the following frame, as Brett Morgan scored from first base on a David Popkins double.

Aggie bats did more damage in the fifth when Scott Kalush came to the plate with bases loaded and just one out. Kalush cleared the bases on a double for the 4-1 Aggie advantage.

“[Kalush] has come up with some big hits in the last couple weeks,” Peters said. “He’s made some good contact – even his outs are good, solid outs.”

That lead would remain, as starting pitcher Scott Lyman held the Tigers scoreless through his final 2.2 innings on the mound.

Nate Slater pitched the final 2.1, surrendering just one more Pacific run.

Seth Batty and Eric Johnson each scored to cushion the Aggie lead as they cruised to the 6-3 win.

Saturday – UC Davis 5, Pacific 4

Lyman was 0-for-3 on the day until coming to the plate in the seventh inning.

That’s when he drilled one deep over the left field wall for a two-run shot and a 5-3 UC Davis lead.

“It was one of those games where you’re getting into the later innings of a close ball game, and it’s going to come down to one key at-bat and situation,” Peters said. “[Lyman] was able to get us a big hit and hang onto a victory. One swing can change the outcome of a game, and that’s what he did for us.”

The Tigers rallied for one run in the eighth but came up short, as Aggie closer Tom Briner came in to relieve Anthony Kupbens on the mound. Briner left the bases loaded in that frame, striking out two Tigers to end the inning.

Briner returned in the bottom of the ninth to strike out the side for the save.

“It was one of the most impressive closing pitching performances I’d seen in quite some time,” Peters said. “He had a good fastball with some movement on it. It was pretty impressive.”

To help a dominant UC Davis pitching staff to the 5-4 win, nine Aggies had one or more hit at the plate.

Sunday – Pacific 5, UC Davis 4

Aggie pitcher Dayne Quist started game three, striking out four in 7.1 innings.

After surrendering a one-out single in the bottom of the eighth, Quist’s pitch count was up over 100, and Peters knew it was time to make a change.

Slater came in to face one batter, forcing a fly-out to center field, while the Tiger runner advanced to third base.

With two outs and a tie-game at four runs apiece, Briner came in to close once again.

Unfortunately for UC Davis, Pacific scored on a costly fielding error by Scott Heylman to take the lead and the eventual 5-4 win.

“Bottom line is you can’t be too disappointed when you go on the road in the Big West and win a series,” Peters said. “But we could have turned a good weekend into a great weekend, and we kind of gave the game away.”

Lyman hit 3-for-5 on the day with two RBI, while Justin Andrade went 3-for-4.

GRACE SPRAGUE can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.


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