RIVERSIDE, Calif. — UC Davis showcased its power at the plate during Saturday afternoon’s Big West finale at the Riverside Sports Complex, posting 17 hits to secure its first league win of the season over UC Riverside. The Aggies’ stellar offensive performance was led by Brad Pluschkell, Ryan Hooper, and Logan Denholm who each finished 3-for-5 on the night, and highlighted by a career first triple from junior Garret Kelly, a two-run in the park homer by senior Guillermo Salazar, and a career-first win on the mound for senior Connor Loar, to help lift UC Davis past the Highlanders by a margin of 10-5.
With Saturday’s win, the Aggies improve to 7-15 overall with a 1-2 league record, while the Highlanders fall to 12-11 on the season and 2-1 in Big West play.
Following suit with Thursday’s series opener, the Aggies were first to score after Brad Pluschkell tallied the first hit of the day off a stand-up double down the left field line. UC Davis then took a quick 1-0 lead thanks an RBI-single to center field off the bat of Logan Denholm.
The top of the third would see eight Aggies come to the plate as UC Davis jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Highlanders. Following a single from freshman Tanner Murray, Pluschkell recorded his second double in as many at bats of the day before junior Ryan Anderson drove one across with a groudout-RBI. The Aggies' second and third runs of the inning came off a double by Denholm and a single from Cameron Briggs, respectively.
After two quiet innings by the Highlander bats, two singles and an RBI-double by Connor Cannon helped cut UC Riverside’s deficit to three in their half of the third.
UC Davis continued to build momentum in the fourth with a lead-off single from Murray who came around to score on a triple by Anderson--his second of the season. Denholm then boosted the Aggies to a five-run advantage with his second double of the day.
But the Highlanders continued to battle, tacking on one in their half of the inning thanks to a homerun by Matt Hardy. Hardy went on to finish 3-for-5 at the plate with three RBI and one run scored.
UC Riverside then posted two more in the bottom of the fifth, reducing the Aggies lead to two, a lead UC Davis would maintain through the sixth as both squads added one run to make it 7-5.
Following back-to-back scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth, the Aggies looked to add on more insurance runs in the top of the ninth. With two outs in the books, it looked like the Aggies' current two-run advantage would have to be enough. But a single to left field by Hooper sparked life in the Aggie dugout, beginning what would be a three-run inning for UC Davis. Hooper came around to score on a career-first triple to right center by Kelly, bringing up pinch hitter Guillermo Salazar. After working the count full, Salazar’s first swing of the at bat was driven out to right center field with the Highlander outfielders avoiding a near collision as the ball bounced past the center fielder, allowing Salazar to record his first homer of the season and second of his career.
The Highlanders could not find an answer to the Aggies’ five-run advantage, resulting in a 10-5 victory for UC Davis.
Pluschkell finished 3-for-5 at the plate with two doubles and three runs scored, and highlighted a strong defensive performance with a terrific over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory near the UC Riverside bullpen to record the Aggies’ first out of the third inning. Denholm finished 3-for-5 as well with two doubles, three RBI, and one run scored.
Senior Connor Loar (1-1) recorded his first career win for the Aggies after allowing just three hits and tying his career-high of three strikeouts over 3.2 innings of work. Starting left-hander Chris Brown put in 4.2 innings of work on the mound for the Aggies, allowing four runs on 10 hits, and striking out a career-high five batters.
Starter Abbott Haffar (0-1) suffered his first loss of the season for the Highlanders after allowing three runs on four hits over two innings.
The Aggies are scheduled to return to Davis, Calif. for a four-game homestand beginning on Tuesday Apr. 3 against San Jose State at 2:30 p.m. UC Davis will then open Big West Conference play at home hosting Hawaii on Apr. 6-8.
UC Davis 10, UC Riverside 5 (03/31/18 at Riverside, Calif.)
UC Davis............ 103 201 003 - 10 17 0 (7-15, 1-2 Big West)
UC Riverside........ 001 121 000 - 5 15 0 (12-11, 2-1 Big West)
Pitchers: UC Davis - Brown, Chris; Erwin, Brett(5); Loar, Connor(6) and Denholm, Logan.
UC Riverside - Haffar, Abbott; Breidenthal, Johnny(3); Compton, Max(5); Quijada, Hazahel(8) and
Win-Loar, Connor(1-1) Loss-Haffar, Abbott(0-1) T-3:07 A-200
HR UCD - Salazar, Guillermo (1).
HR UCR - Hardy, Matt (3).
Weather: Warm, slightly cloudy
ABOUT UC DAVIS
Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and animal science programs.
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