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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Aggies ‘just kept fighting’

Though the 2010-11 baseball campaign didn’t meet UC Davis’ expectations, the Aggies have something to be proud of: they stuck together in the face of adversity.

“When you’re losing, the best thing you can do is come out here and still have fun with it,” said junior Scott Lyman. “We had a lot higher expectations coming into it, but we still had a lot of fun. Everybody enjoys being out here together.”

With one home win over UC Riverside this weekend, the Aggies finished the year sixth in the Big West Conference – two spots higher than where they were projected to finish. UC Davis finished the season with a record of 18-36, 10-14 in league play.

The series marked the final event of the season, and Sunday’s Senior Day marked the end of the career for five Aggies: Justin Andrade, Daniel Cepin, Scott Chew, Alex Dreyfuss and Scott Heylman.

Friday – UC Davis 2, UC Riverside 1

After four and a half hours and 16 innings of play, you certainly want to come out on top to avoid an emotional letdown, said coach Rex Peters.

Aggie starter Lyman threw eight scoreless innings, surrendering just six hits and striking out four.

Reliever Nate Slater retired the side in the ninth frame. After Slater walked the first Highlander Vince Gonzalez in the 10th, Tom Briner stepped onto the mound in relief.

Gonzalez managed to score on a single, giving UC Riverside the 1-0 lead.

The Aggies responded promptly in the bottom of that frame on consecutive singles from Heylman, David Popkins and CJ Blom. Blom’s hit down the left field line scored Heylman for the tying run.

Briner made it through six innings on the mound, surrendering just four hits and striking out two. Together with Joe Biagini, the Aggie bullpen held the Highlanders scoreless through the final seven frames.

It was in the bottom of the 16th when Seth Batty came to the plate with two runners on. Batty sent the 2-1 pitch through the left side for a walk-off single and a 2-1 Aggie win.

“We just kept fighting,” Peters said. “[Batty] came through with a quality at bat with guys on base.”

Saturday – UC Riverside 3, UC Davis 0

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, the Aggies struggled to get runs across.

Popkins and Blom registered two hits apiece, while Dreyfuss and Ryan Allgrove each had one to lead the Aggies on offense.

UC Riverside got on board with a 1-0 advantage in the top of the fifth. The Highlanders didn’t look back, hitting two home runs in the sixth and seventh innings, en route to the 3-0 win.

Junior Anthony Kupbens pitched five and two-thirds innings and gave up two runs. Freshman Harry Stanwyck took over soon after the first Highlander homer to end the sixth frame with a strikeout.

Junior Ryan Lucas closed out the game, facing just seven batters, thanks to two double plays in two innings.

Sunday – UC Riverside 11, UC Davis 4

The Aggies had their work cut out early on Senior Day, as the Highlanders jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the second frame.

UC Davis scored two on an Eric Johnson RBI triple in the third and one more on an Andrade sacrifice fly to bring in Cepin in the fourth.

Despite the help of an additional Aggie run, the effort wouldn’t be enough, as the Highlanders pulled ahead for the 11-4 win.

With the season’s end, UC Davis seniors Andrade, Cepin, Chew, Dreyfuss and Heylman will be missed.

“[The seniors] all really love playing baseball,” Lyman said. “They’re really good guys and I’ll miss playing with them. All season they’ve played hard and played it like it’s been their last game. A lot of them are leaders on and off the field, so it’s been really fun having them around.”

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

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