Titans rally late to finish sweep of Aggies

Junior Brad Pluschkell slugged his first career home run in Sunday's series finale against Cal State Fullerton. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)
April 9, 2017

Box Score

FULLERTON, Calif. -- Ryan Anderson and Brad Pluschkell each slugged home runs to help visiting UC Davis out to an early lead, but host Cal State Fullerton rallied for four runs in the seventh off the Aggie bullpen to finish off an 8-5 victory and a Big West Conference series sweep on Sunday afternoon at Goodwin Field.

UC Davis fell to 9-16 overall and 2-4 in conference play, also getting a pair of hits from Alex Aguiar in support of senior starter Justin Mullins, who allowed four runs on six hits over six innings before leaving with a lead.

The Titans improved to 21-10 overall and 5-1 in conference play, logging half of their 12 hits in the decisive seventh inning to complete the comeback.

After Fullerton opened with three runs in the first, the Aggies warmed up the bats and answered with a three spot of their own in the third, as back-to-back hits by Ryan Hooper and Aguiar set the table for the offense. A sacrifice by Jacob Thomas moved both into scoring position and a ground ball to short was enough to plate Hooper to break up the shutout.

Anderson then brought his team even three pitches later, slugging a 2-0 pitch off starter John Gavin (4-0) over the wall in left for his fourth of the season, making it a 3-3 ball game.

UC Davis' bats kept rolling in the fourth as Pluschkell cleared the wall in the left for his first career long ball and a 4-3 lead, and a sacrifice fly by Cameron Briggs in the fifth put the Aggies up two, scoring Aguiar after the junior led-off the frame with a double down the left field line.

The two home runs extended UC Davis' total to 19 in 25 games on the year, eclipsing last year's total (16) and posting the most in a single season since the Aggies hit 22 during the 2012 campaign. The 19 home runs are tied for the fourth-most in the program's Division I era.

Following the three runs in the first, Mullins settled in and stymied the Fullerton bats, holding the Titans to just one hit over the next three innings, and stranding four before the home side was able to scratch across a run in the fifth on a triple by Sahid Valenzuela and an RBI groundout by Timmy Richards to make it 5-4.

That set the stage for the seventh as Valenzuela led off with a single and, after a pop-out, strung together three consecutive hits to take a 6-5 lead as Dillion Persinger and Hank LoForte drove in runs. Ruben Cardenas then dealt the big blow, a two-run single to left after a double steal off reliever Connor Loar (0-1) for an 8-5 advantage.

Brett Conine then came on and pitched the final two innings to nail down his sixth save of the year, pitching a perfect eighth and ninth as the Aggies managed only two base runners following Aguiar's double in the fifth.

Following a mid-week 6 p.m. first pitch at Sacramento State on Tuesday (April 11) at John Smith Field, UC Davis returns to Big West play with a three-game series against Cal Poly beginning on Thursday (April 13) at 2:30 p.m.

Game two of the series with the Mustangs will be played at Raley Field, home of the Sacramento River Cats, on Friday night at 6 p.m., with the finale scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m., following a special pregame ceremony honoring Hall of Fame Head Coach Phil Swimley.

Tickets for Friday's game at Raley Field are available by contacting the UC Davis athletic ticket office at (530) 752-AGS1.

Cal State Fullerton 8, UC Davis 5 (Apr 09, 2017 at Fullerton, Calif.)
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UC Davis……………. 003 110 000  -  5  6  1      (9-16, 2-4 Big West)
Cal State Fullerton…. 300 010 40X  -  8 12  0     (21-10, 5-1 Big West)
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Pitchers: UC Davis - Mullins, Justin; Loar, Connor (7); Brown, Chris (7) and Diaz, Ignacio. Cal State Fullerton - Gavin, John; Conine, Brett(8) and Cope, Daniel.
Win - Gavin, John (4-0)  Save - Conine, Brett (6)  Loss - Loar, Connor (0-1)  T-2:42  A-1517
HR UCD - Anderson, Ryan (4); Pluschkell, Brad (1).
HR CSF - Persinger, Dillon (1).
Weather: 64 degrees, cloudy