Ninth-inning UConn rally sinks Aggies late

Senior catcher Ignacio Diaz finished 4-for-4 at the plate to help power the UC Davis offense in Friday's opener against UConn. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)
March 10, 2017

Box Score

DAVIS, Calif. -- Conor Moriarty's double scored John Toppa with the go-ahead run, keying a three-run ninth inning, and lifting visiting UConn to a, 7-4, victory over UC Davis in the opener of a three-game series on Friday afternoon at Dobbins Stadium.

In the first-ever meeting between the two programs, the Aggies rallied from an early two-run hole to take a, 4-3, lead into the seventh, but fell to 4-8 overall on the season. The Huskies, meanwhile, scored four unanswered runs to improve to 7-4 on the season.

Senior catcher Ignacio Diaz, who entered the day with five hits in his first 10 games of the season, exploded for a perfect 4-for-4 performance at the plate on Friday, while sophomore Ryan Anderson and junior Guillermo Salazar each added a pair to help UC Davis tie a season high with 12 hits on the day.

Single runs in the first two innings staked UConn to the early lead, but the Aggies bounced back quickly with three in the third to take their first lead of the day. Back-to-back RBI singles by Brad Pluschkell and Cameron Briggs brought the home team even before Salazar drove home the first of two runs on the day with an infield single two batters later for a 3-2 advantage.

A double by Anthony Prato with one out in the fifth tied the game, but that didn't last long as UC Davis answered with back-to-back doubles by Anderson and Salazar with two outs to push the Aggies back in front.

The contest stayed that way until the seventh when Prato, who finished with three hits and three RBI, tied the game once again with a single to left that scored Moriarty, who finished 3-for-3, and set the stage for a big ninth inning. Toppa reached on an infield single, was sacrificed to second and, after a pitching change, scored when Moriarty found open space in left field for a double that made it 5-4.

After a fly ball for the second out, Prato came through with a double to center and Willy Yahn added a single to right for some breathing room before the Aggies were able to get a ground ball to end the inning.

A pair of walks by Alex Aguiar and pinch-hitter Mark Cardinalli around a fly ball had UC Davis thinking comeback, but closer John Russell collected his fourth save of the year with a strikeout and a flyout to end the game.

Blake Peters (1-1) suffered the loss for the Aggies in relief of starter Robert Garcia, surrendering two runs on four hits over 3.1 innings of work. Garcia went the first five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and striking out three.

C.J. Dandeneau (1-0) took home the win in relief, facing the minimum in one inning of work, giving up a hit to Diaz, but inducing an inning-ending double play to end any threat.

Game two of the series is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday (March 11) at Dobbins Stadium. A live video stream of the contest will be available at UCDavisAggies.com.

UConn 7, UC Davis 4 (Mar 10, 2017 at Davis, Calif.)
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UConn............... 110 010 103  -  7 12  2      (7-4)
UC Davis............ 003 010 000  -  4 12  1      (4-8)
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Pitchers: UConn - Poulin, P.J.; Rajkowski, Dan (4); Radue, Ryan (6); Dandeneau, CJ (8); Russell, John (9) and Susi, Zac. UC Davis - Garcia, Robert; Peters, Blake (6); Stone, Zach (9) and Diaz, Ignacio.
Win - Dandeneau, CJ (1-0)  Save - Russell, John (4)  Loss - Peters, Blake (1-1)  T-2:49  A-279