FULLERTON, Calif. -- Senior Cameron Olson scored on a wild pitch to break a six-all tie in the seventh and junior Guillermo Salazar homered in the ninth to give UC Davis a two-run lead, but host and No. 12-ranked Cal State Fullerton rallied for three runs in its last at-bat to steal a 9-8 victory and a series win on Saturday afternoon at Goodwin Field in Fullerton, Calif.
The loss dropped the Aggies to 9-15 overall and 2-3 in Big West Conference play despite leading by two runs on three different occasions on the day. The Titans improved to 20-10 overall and 4-1 in league play with the win.
After Fullerton had rallied for two in the sixth to tie the game at 6-6, UC Davis bounced back to push across the go-ahead run in the seventh as Olson led-off with a single, moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch, and went to third on a sacrifice following a walk to Ignacio Diaz. That brought up Salazar, who struck out swinging, but the ball got far enough away from the catcher to allow Olson to scoot home on the wild pitch and make it 7-6.
Salazar then gave the Aggies some breathing room in the ninth after they had stranded a pair in scoring position in the eighth, clearing the wall in left centerfield on a 3-1 pitch -- his first of the year -- for an 8-6 lead.
That set the stage for Fullerton's winning rally as a walk, hit batter and a sacrifice put two in scoring position for Ruben Cardenas, who laced a double to left, scoring JT McLellan to make it a one-run game. With runners at the corners, Scott Hurst waked to load the bases for Sahid Valenzuela, whose chopper to short looked to end the game, but the throw on the turn to first sailed wide, allowing Cardenas to score the winning run.
Junior Zach Stone (3-2) suffered the loss, allowing two earned on three hits while walking four over the final 2.2 innings of work. Junior Orlando Razo started, but was stuck with his second straight no-decision, allowing five earned runs on 10 hits while striking out four over the first six innings.
Blake Workman (4-1) earned the win in relief for Fullerton, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out four over three innings.
UC Davis was the first on the board with a pair of runs in the first off Titans' starter Gavin Velasquez, as Ignacio Diaz punched an RBI single through the left side and Olson scored later in the frame on a fielding error for a 2-0 lead.
Fullerton bounced back quickly with three runs in the third to take its first lead on a double by Chris Hudgins and a two-run shot by Cardenas for a 3-2 advantage. A run-scoring double by Alex Aguiar in the third brought the Aggies even once again, but a Taylor Bryant RBI single in the home half put the Titans back in front as the two teams went back-and-forth.
It stayed that way until the fourth when UC Davis put up three runs in its half of the frame. Ryan Hooper dropped a one-out double into left and scored two batters later on a Jacob Thomas single through the left side to tie the game at four. Sophomore Caleb Van Blake then took the second pitch he saw from reliever Erik Cha over the wall in right for his second career home run and a 6-4 advantage.
Two innings later, Hurst tied the game with one swing, scoring Cardenas ahead of him thanks to his fourth home run of the season, setting the stage for Saturday's wild finish.
Both teams left 12 runners on base for the game, including nine in scoring position for the Aggies and seven for the Titans.
Olson and Van Blake each finished with three hits on the day to lead UC Davis -- the latter tying a career high in the category -- while Thomas and Salazar finished with two hits apiece. Cardenas finished 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBI for Fullerton, which had the top five in its order finish with two hits apiece.
The Aggies will look to salvage a win in the series finale on Sunday afternoon (April 9) at 1 p.m.
Tickets are still available for the second game of the UC Davis baseball team's series against Cal Poly at Raley Field on April 14 at 6 p.m. Prices are set at $13 for adults, while students can get in on the action for just $5. For more information, contact the UC Davis athletics ticket office at (530) 752-AGS1, or purchase online at UCDavisAggies.com.
Cal State Fullerton 9, UC Davis 8 (Apr 08, 2017 at Fullerton, Calif.)
UC Davis............ 201 300 101 - 8 15 1 (9-15, 2-3 Big West)
Cal State Fullerton. 031 002 003 - 9 14 3 (20-10, 4-1 Big West)
Pitchers: UC Davis - Razo, Orlando; Blais, Matt (7); Stone, Zach (7) and Diaz, Ignacio. Cal State Fullerton - Velasquez, Gavin; Cha, Erik(4); Pabich, Jack(6); Workman, Blake(7) and Hudgins, Chris; Cope, Daniel.
Win - Workman, Blake (4-1) Loss - Stone, Zach (3-2) T-3:33 A-1893
HR UCD - Van Blake, Caleb (2); Salazar, Guillermo (1).
HR CSF - Hurst, Scott (4); Cardenas, Ruben (3).
Weather: 65 degrees, cloudy
Blais faced 2 batters in the 7th.