Feb. 17, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - Senior southpaw Dayne Quist fanned 12 batters and allowed just three hits with no walks in six complete innings, leading UC Davis to a 3-0 victory over visiting Utah in a collegiate baseball season opener at Dobbins Stadium Friday afternoon. The win also marked the debut for new head coach Matt Vaughn, a former Aggie pitcher and longtime assistant.
UC Davis opens the new season at 1-0.
Quist retired eight straight batters, including five consecutive strikeouts, during the first three innings. He fanned the side again in the fourth, getting Shaun Cooper and Parker Morin to wave at breaking balls before freezing Utah third baseman Trey Nielsen on a fastball up in the zone. Quist recorded his 10th strikeout against Brooks with two away in the fifth. The Utah shortstop had hit doubles to each field in his two previous at-bats but chased a 1-2 pitch in the dirt to strand Jo Jo Sharrar and Tyler Relf on the bases.
"Dayne was throwing all of his pitches for strikes today," said Vaughn. "Utah is a team that likes to sit on fastballs. He was great at keeping his fastball down and he was able to get his offspeed over. It kept them off balance enough so that when he did throw a fastball, he got it by them. Utah is a pretty good hitting team, actually. And he made it look easy."
Meanwhile, the Aggies put runners in scoring position in every innings. They had their first scoring chance in the third when Eric Johnson's double put runners on second and third with two outs. Third baseman Paul Politi hammered a hard grounder toward right field but Utah sophomore Cory Hunt made a spectacular diving effort to glove the ball. He then made a quick throw to first to retire Politi and prevent two UC Davis runs.
The Aggies pushed across their first tally in the fourth, thanks mostly to the speed of senior Brett Morgan. The UC Davis center fielder legged out a slow roller to shortstop, stole second, then scored when freshman John Williams poked a single to short right field. The Aggies added a second run on two hits in the sixth inning. Redshirt freshman Nick Lynch rapped his first collegiate hit then Morgan drilled a hooking double down the left-field line. Senior catcher Scott Kalush lofted a ball well into left, deep enough to advance both runners for a sacrifice fly.
"They did a great job with the bats today, laying off the breaking stuff," Vaughn said. "It's Opening Day. It's an anxious day. So to lay off the breaking ball and get fastballs was outstanding. We do need to do a better job to score when we have those opportunities. But we're getting them, and we'll only get better."
The UC Davis defense also came through to hold off a Utah threat against reliever Ben Burke in the top of the eighth. With Relf on first, senior David Popkins made a sliding catch to snare a deep drive into the left-center gap. Then with two down and the potential tying and go-ahead runners aboard, Cooper drilled a hard shot toward left. Aggie redshirt freshman Alex Lipson backhanded the ball to knock it to the dirt, then calmly threw a strike to first baseman Eric Johnson for the third out.
Williams posted his second RBI in the eighth inning, scoring pinch runner Kevin Barker from second on a single to right.
Johnson provided a defensive boost in the Ute ninth. Morin singled on a hard grounder to right center to lead off the inning. Johnson, holding Morin at first, was in perfect position to grab a line drive off Trey Nielsen's bat. Johnson took two steps to double up Morin for the second out. Sophomore Harry Stanwyck, who relieved Burker in the ninth, got Ethan Leiter looking to record both the save and the Aggies' 15th strikeout.
Lipson, Morgan and Williams each finished the day with two hits. Brooks had three of Utah's five hits for the day, including the two doubles.
The two teams continue the four-game series on Saturday at 1 p.m.
|UC Davis (1-0)||000||101||01X||-||3||11||0|
Hitters - Utah: James Brooks, 3x4, 2 2B; Parker Morin, 1x4; Jo Jo Sharrar, 1x3. UC Davis: Alex Lipson, 2x4; Ryan Allgrove, 1x4; David Popkins, 1x2; Eric Johnson, 1x4, 2B; Paul Politi, 1x4; Nick Lynch, 1x3; Brett Morgan, 2x2, 2B; Scott Kalush, 0x3, SF, RBI; John Williams, 2x4, 2 RBI.