The UC Davis baseball team blew a five-run lead, but pulled out an extra-inning victory on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch.
The Aggies traveled to San Jose State for a one-game match-up Tuesday afternoon, but after 12 innings and the score tied 3-3, the game was halted due to impending darkness and postponed until further notice.
With the win, UC Davis moved to 3-1 on the season.
Monday — UC Davis 9, Utah 8; 10 innings
Utah starting pitcher Tanner Tripp recorded a total of one out, as UC Davis pounded the Utes’ starter with four runs in the first inning.
Shortstop Alex Lipson drew a walk to open the bottom half of the first, then moved to third on a double from Ryan Allgrove. Paul Politi brought Lipson home with a sacrifice fly, a pitch hit David Popkins and Austin Logan ripped a double to bring two more runners home. Lipson recorded an RBI hit in the second inning to give the Aggies an early 5-0 lead.
Lipson’s heroics were just getting started, when in the top of the third with two Utah runners on and nobody out, Tyson Gonzalez hit a line drive right to Lipson, who then stepped on second base and threw to Logan at first for an unassisted triple play. It was the first triple play at Dobbins Stadium since 2007 when Evan Hudson performed the feat versus Portland.
Utah regrouped, scoring three in the top of the fifth and James Brooks launched a three-run home run over the center field wall in the sixth to give the Utes a 6-5 lead.
The Aggies responded when Brett Morgan led off the bottom half of the sixth with a base hit, moved to second on an Adam Young sacrifice bunt and then scored after pinch hitter John Williams hit a triple to the right field corner. Lipson brought home Williams with a sacrifice fly to put UC Davis back on top, 7-6. The Aggies added another run in the bottom of the seventh to take an 8-6 advantage into the final innings.
Utah was down to their final out with a runner on first, and Shaun Cooper connected for a two-run homer to left field, tying the game at eight runs apiece and forcing extra innings.
In the bottom of the tenth inning, Williams drew a walk, then moved to third base on pitcher Tyler Wagner’s botched throw to first. The bases were loaded to create a force-out at any base, but Popkins’ second hit-by-pitch of the game brought home the winning run and earned the Aggies a walk-off series win.
“It bodes well for a long season that we can play four games in four days and pull out a win like this,” said head coach Matt Vaughn. “We had a chance to put the game away in the first four or five innings and we relaxed a little bit. For them to hang in there and come back and put up some runs late and to see the young guys do what they’re doing has been outstanding.”
Tuesday — UC Davis 3, San Jose State 3; 12 innings
Freshman Spencer Koopmans retired San Jose State in the bottom of the 11th inning, but due to impending darkness, the game was postponed until further notice.
The Spartans struck early, scoring two in the bottom of the first inning, at the same time holding UC Davis hitless through five innings.
Morgan’s attempt for a sacrifice bunt with Young on first base in the sixth inning proved to be the Aggies’ first hit and rally starter; Allgrove followed with an RBI single to left. Allgrove scored on Popkins’ base hit, who then stole second and scored UC Davis’ third run of the inning on a single from Nick Lynch.
San Jose State equalized in the bottom of the seventh, and the score remained tied at three for the rest of the afternoon.
UC Davis will travel to Southern California to play a three-game series at CSU Bakersfield next weekend, then face another Pac-12 foe in Stanford next Tuesday.
Coach Vaughn stressed the importance of not looking past the Bakersfield series even though playing Stanford will be “fun.” Although unlikely, there is a possibility the Aggies could face Cardinal pitcher Mark Appel, who will potentially be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. Vaughn isn’t worried about that, especially with three games to play before the Stanford matchup.
“Our approach is one pitch at a time, one game at a time,” Vaughn said. “Stanford is one of the dates; you look at the schedule at the beginning of the year and mark it down, but Bakersfield, in my opinion, should have been a playoff club last year. They’re very good, especially at home. It’s going to tough.”
The first game versus CSU Bakersfield will be Friday — first pitch at 6:00 p.m.
RUSSELL EISENMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.