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Davis, California

Monday, February 26, 2024

Home cooking

The UC Davis baseball team snapped a three-game losing streak and stopped Seattle’s five-game winning streak, taking two of three in the weekend series.

Seniors Dayne Quist and Tom Briner each threw complete games for the Aggies in the two wins.

UC Davis moves to 8-8 overall on the season.

Friday — UC Davis 5, Seattle 3
Quist pitched the fourth complete game of his career, striking out seven and retiring 20 straight batters to lead UC Davis to a much-needed victory.

The Aggies returned to Dobbins Stadium after a mid-week clash with No. 7 Arizona and on a three-game losing streak.

“It’s a good sign to get back in the win column and not let this go farther than three games in a row, and they had that approach,” said head coach Matt Vaughn. “They knew about it, they were thinking about it, and they executed it today.”

Senior David Popkins put UC Davis on the board early with a solo home run in the first inning. It was Popkins’ first round-tripper of the year.

Seattle responded with a three-run third inning when Quist hit a batter. Then the Redhawks put together four straight singles.

From there, Quist was lights-out, retiring every single Seattle hitter the rest of the way.

“He’s setting the tone for us on weekends,” Vaughn said. “He’s showing this team that if you have some guts and are willing to attack, good things can happen. He’s been outstanding, which is exactly what I thought he would be.”

The Aggies put together a three-run inning of their own in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman Kevin Barker and senior Ryan Allgrove scored on sophomore Adam Young’s grounder under the Seattle shortstop’s glove, and senior Brett Morgan drove a ball into the gap that scored Young.

Junior Austin Logan led off the sixth with a double for UC Davis and scored the final run of the day on senior catcher Scott Kalush’s RBI hit up the middle.

Saturday — Seattle 4, UC Davis 3
Senior starter Anthony Kupbens held Seattle scoreless through seven innings, but several late-game mistakes allowed Seattle to overtake the 1-0 UC Davis lead in the top of the eighth.

The teams combined for 16 hits, all singles, through seven innings.

Trent Oleszczuk led off the eighth for Seattle with a single. A sacrifice bunt attempt ensued, but Kupbens overthrew to first, putting two runners on with no outs. Sophomore Harry Stanwyck relieved Kupbens, but gave up two quick hits that allowed Seattle to take a 2-1 lead.

Stanwyck then attempted a pickoff throw to second base, but nobody was covering for the Aggies and the ball sailed into center field, putting both runners in scoring position. Seattle cashed in with a base hit and secured a 4-1 advantage.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, UC Davis tried to rally back. Sophomores Evan Wolf and Nick Lynch were walked and hit by a pitch, respectively. Junior Mike Mazzara’s pinch-hit double-plated both runners and brought the Aggies within one run.

Freshman John Williams pinch-ran for Mazzara, advancing to third on a grounder from fellow freshman Evan Heptig. The throw from the Seattle shortstop sailed over first base, and Williams charged for home. He was called out, despite questions about whether or not the Redhawks catcher held on to the ball. Coach Vaughn argued and was subsequently ejected from the game.

The Aggies rallied again in the bottom of the ninth, but Seattle held on for a 4-3 victory, the third one-run loss of the season for UC Davis.

Sunday — UC Davis 3, Seattle 0
Briner gave up just five hits and struck out six with no walks in the first complete game shutout of his career.

Briner’s efficiency on the mound was surprising after having to leave last weekend’s game early after taking a ball off the chin. Briner threw 110 pitches and faced only two batters over the minimum in the win.

“He picked up right where he left off last week with a low pitch count and no walks,” head coach Matt Vaughn said. “For [Briner] to come back like that after what happened and the week he went through, I just can’t say enough about it. It’s a special kid and a special effort today.”

The UC Davis bats were able to complement Briner’s magnificent performance, putting up 10 hits in the win. Heptig went 2-for-3, and Barker hit his team-leading sixth double of the year and scored a run.

Junior Paul Politi’s double in the first scored Allgrove to give the Aggies and Briner an early 1-0 advantage. In the second, freshman Austin March scored on Morgan’s RBI base hit. Barker scored in the fourth on Politi’s RBI groundout to short.

The home stand for UC Davis continues this week, with the University of San Francisco coming up on Tuesday, first pitch at 2:30 p.m.

RUSSELL EISENMAN can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.


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