With an offense that is consistently scoring, UC Davis baseball has now won four of its last five games after two midweek victories.
Sophomore pitcher Evan Wolf gave the team a much-needed quality start on Monday and the Aggies scored a season-high 12 runs on nine hits in Tuesday’s make up game at Blethen Field in San Jose.
UC Davis improves to 22-27 overall and 8-10 in the Big West Conference.
Monday — UC Davis 6, Hawaii 3
Senior David Popkins went two-for-five and scored twice, junior Paul Politi drove in two runs and Wolf tied a career-high with five strikeouts as UC Davis won against the future Big West Conference opponent.
Playing for the fourth time in four days with another game on the way, Wolf gave up just two runs on six hits in six full innings of work and sophomore Harry Stanwyck earned his team-leading fifth save in two-and-one-third innings.
“We needed a six or seven-inning start today from Evan [Wolf] to help keep us intact for [the upcoming game],” said head coach Matt Vaughn. “He knows that he needed to go deep into this game and he found a way to do it. It’s been kind of a roller coaster year for him, but he’s been able to put together some good starts and today was one of them.”
The UC Davis offense complemented Wolf’s outing with some early offense, taking a 4-1 lead after three innings.
In the first, Popkins doubled and scored on junior Austin Logan’s single. Politi followed with a double to score Logan and give the Aggies a 2-1 lead.
Freshman John Williams doubled in the second and scored on back-to-back wild pitches. Politi’s second RBI single came in the third inning after sophomore Spencer Brann singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
The Rainbow Warriors scored one in the sixth and one in the seventh to cut the lead to 4-3.
The Aggies responded with two more runs in the seventh, as freshman Kevin Barker plated Popkins and senior Eric Johnson’s RBI single scored sophomore Nick Lynch.
“It’s a challenge to play four games in a row, and they met that challenge today,” Vaughn said. “It speaks to their character and hopefully it speaks to us turning a corner.”
Tuesday — UC Davis 12, San Jose State 9
Barker went two-for-five and Politi hit his second home run of the season while driving in three runs as UC Davis held off a furious six-run San Jose State rally late to win the make-up game.
Junior Ben Burke limited the Spartans to two runs with three strikeouts in five-and-two-thirds innings while the Aggie offense scored a season-high 12 runs.
Things got started in the second with senior Brett Morgan’s one-out double that scored senior Scott Kalush. Morgan stole third, his team-leading ninth steal of the season, and freshman Tino Lipson knocked him home for a 2-0 lead.
Politi hit a solo shot in the third and UC Davis scored three times in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
Logan hit a bases-loaded and clearing double in the fifth and UC Davis capitalized on one Spartan error in the sixth and two in the seventh to pile on the runs.
With the score 12-3 headed into the bottom half of the ninth, San Jose put together a six-run rally to keep it interesting and set up some unnecessary drama for the Aggies.
Senior pitcher Tom Briner and first baseman Eric Johnson won the pitcher and hitter Big West Players of the Week, respectively.
Briner threw a 79-pitch complete game shutout in a 5-0 victory over Long Beach State last Saturday, while Johnson hit .467 (seven-for-15) for the week, reaching safely in all four games with two doubles, a homer, three runs scored and four RBIs.
UC Davis will travel to Cal State Northridge for a Big West weekend matchup, first pitch Friday on Matador Field at 3 p.m.
RUSSELL EISENMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.