Aggies pull off upset with series win over No. 13 UCSB

CIERA PASTUREL / AGGIE
CIERA PASTUREL / AGGIE

UC Davis baseball defeats nationally ranked UCSB in weekend series at home

This season has not been the best for the young UC Davis baseball team — but that just might change after their upset of the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in a weekend series at Dobbins Stadium.

The Aggies have really turned it around as they headed into the first game on Friday with a four-game winning streak after defeating rival Sacramento State last Tuesday.

Once again, redshirt freshman Robert Garcia took the mound for the team in the Friday matchup. Garcia gave up two runs in the second inning of the ball game as UC Santa Barbara took the early lead. However, Garcia was phenomenal, allowing only four hits and striking out eight Gaucho batters during the remainder of the game.

Garcia threw six strong innings, but the Aggies were unable to give him any run support, down 2-0.

The Ags found a way to break through in the bottom of the seventh inning, putting three runs on the board to take a 3-2 lead. The team then capitalized on two errors by their opponents to add three more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Heading into the ninth, UC Davis had a 6-2 lead that would stand pat. Freshman pitcher Chris Brown held UC Santa Barbara quiet for two plus innings and he picked up his first win of the season. Brown was pulled in the ninth and sophomore pitcher Matt Blais closed it out.

Senior first baseman Spencer Henderson was the Ags’ best hitter of the day. Henderson drove in two runs on three hits, including a double. Senior outfielder Tanner Bily extended his hitting streak to 11 games and sophomore shortstop Brad Pluschkell pushed his streak to six games.

Friday’s win marked the first time UC Davis baseball had defeated UC Santa Barbara since April 28, 2012. It was the team’s first home victory over the conference opponent dating back to May 22, 2011.

With the upset, the Aggies turned to Henderson to grab another victory in Saturday’s ball game.

UC Davis struck first offensively with a run in the first, but the Gauchos had a big fourth inning. The visiting team strung together four hits for four runs to take a 4-1 lead.

For UC Santa Barbara, that would be all they needed. Each team added a run apiece in the sixth inning for a score of 5-2. The Aggies tried to make their way back into the ball game with one run in the eighth inning, cutting the deficit to two.

But the nationally ranked UC Santa Barbara added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth. The home team failed to make a come back in the ninth inning to lose the second game of the series, 7-3.

Henderson took the loss as the team’s offense was relatively quiet. They only had four hits, and two of the three runs came from walks.

After a tough loss on Saturday, the Aggies still had high hopes of completing the upset for another series victory.

They did exactly that in a huge blowout over UC Santa Barbara. Although the Gauchos scored first, the Aggies were able to take down their opponent.

The Gauchos scored two runs in the second inning but the Ags came back strong, doubling the opposing team’s score for a 4-2 lead. The offense for the home team came in bunches after that.

The Aggies scored two runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh inning and three in the sixth. UC Santa Barbara brought in the final run of the game in the top of the eighth as UC Davis won, 13-3.

With little offense on Saturday, the team had 17 hits and freshman catcher Logan Denholm had a monster game.

Denholm had three hits, including a two-run homer and four RBIs. Pluschkell had three hits on the day and extended his hitting streak to eight consecutive games knocking in two runs.

Senior pitcher Nat Hamby picked up win number three on the season, only giving up two runs on four hits in five-and-two-thirds innings.

After not having won a series all season, the upset over the nationally ranked Gauchos is a great confidence booster for the young Aggie squad.

The team moves to 15-26 on the season and 4-11 in Big West play. Momentum is in the team’s corner as they face off against Sacramento State on the road on May 10 at 3 p.m., a team they defeated on May 3.

Written by: Michael Martinez — sports@theaggie.org