80 F

Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

UC Davis baseball wins Causeway Classic against Sacramento State

After an eighth-inning rally, the Aggies beat the Hornets in extra innings


By CAROLYN (CARI) FENN — sports@theaggie.org


After a tough week with back-to-back losses against UC San Diego, the Aggies beat Sacramento State 4-3 in extra innings on April 11 at home on the Phil Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium. Despite losing to the Hornets in a previous matchup four days prior, the team looked strong on Tuesday and defeated their cross-town rivals. 

Throughout the game, eight of the Aggies’ pitchers took the mound, beginning with third-year Nate Freeman. In the top of the first inning, the Aggies gained a one-run lead, which Freeman was able to hold for the three innings he pitched. Despite only allowing two hits in the three innings, Freeman was taken out before the fourth inning. Second-year Trevor Allen replaced him and began UC Davis’s constant pitching rotation that lasted for the duration of the game.

  Offensively, the Aggies were unable to score another run until the eighth inning. During the team’s seven scoreless innings, the Hornets gained a 3-1 lead over the Aggies, scoring in the fourth, sixth and eighth innings against three different pitchers.

While some of the eight pitchers who took the mound for UC Davis played well, a new pitcher was brought in each inning until the ninth inning. Fourth-year Nathan Peng pitched from the bottom of the ninth inning until the first out of the 11th inning. The constant rotation of relief pitchers on the mound — aside from Peng’s three-inning stint — could have been why Sacramento State was able to gain a lead. Luckily for the Aggies, the Hornets also substituted their pitchers quickly for a total of seven substitutions. 

While this number of substitutions isn’t the norm, both teams did so as to not overwork their pitchers in preparation for big weekends ahead, especially since this was not a conference game. Both teams had three-game series scheduled for last weekend; Sacramento State played UT Arlington and UC Davis faced UCLA. While UCLA isn’t a conference opponent for UC Davis either, the Aggies needed their bullpen at full strength to perform well against the PAC-12 team.

Going into the eighth inning, the game appeared to be nearing an end. Sacramento State had a 3-1 lead, and the Aggies hadn’t been able to score a run since the first inning. However, the momentum of the game shifted when the first UC Davis batter came up to the plate. 

To start the eighth-inning rally for the Aggies was second-year right fielder Mark Wolbert, who hit a home run straight out to right field. The Aggies then scored another run to tie the game 3-3, bringing hope to a game that seemed as good as over. 

The Aggies were able to hold the Hornets to a 3-3 tie at the end of the ninth inning and forced the game into extra innings.

The game remained tied through the ninth and 10th innings, in part thanks to impressive pitching by Peng and a strong defensive performance by UC Davis. The Aggie offense was less successful, getting a single hit in the two innings.

The 11th and final inning was probably the most intense of the game, with excitement in both the top and bottom. In the top of the 11th, Sacramento State loaded the bases with only one out against UC Davis. The Aggies were able to prevent the Hornets from scoring, with third-year pitcher Kaden Riccomini relieving Peng and finishing off the top of the 11th.

The Hornets’ defense had more trouble preventing UC Davis scoring runs. After pitching two hitless innings, Hornets’ third-year pitcher Wesley Harper ended up walking multiple batters.

The Aggies loaded the bases with one out; second-year outfielder Riley Acosta was on third, third-year outfielder Damian Stone was on second and first-year infielder Joey Wright was on first. After a deep fly ball by third-year infielder Alex Gouveia to left field, Acosta took advantage of the distance between the left fielder and the catcher and made a sprint for home plate, beating the throw by the left fielder and scoring the winning run for the Aggies.

Following the winning hit, the Aggies ran onto the field to celebrate their late rally against the Hornets. While UC Davis was down for most of the game, they were able to make an impressive comeback when they needed to the most.

Following their win, UC Davis traveled to Southern California, where they lost their series against UCLA 2-1.

Next up, UC Davis hosted Saint Mary’s on April 18 for one game. From April 21-23, the Aggies will host UC Riverside for a Big West Conference series.

Written by: Carolyn (Cari) Fenn — sports@theaggie.org