DAVIS, Calif. — Senior Brad Pluschkell finished 1-for-3 during Friday's opener against Big West rival, UC Santa Barbara, coming around to score in the sixth after recording his first triple of the season then driving in the go-ahead run in the seventh to help lift UC Davis past the Gauchos in a 4-3 victory on Friday afternoon at Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium.
The Aggies improved to 11-21 overall and 4-6 in Big West play, while the Gauchos fell to 17-16-1 on the season with a 3-4 league record. Games two and three of the series are scheduled tomorrow (Apr. 21) at 2 p.m. and Sunday (Apr. 22) at 1 p.m. Aggie fans are encouraged to arrive early for Saturday’s game as the UC Davis baseball program will be honoring its 2008 NCAA Division I regional team in a pre-game ceremony.
”We’re still one good weekend away from being in the Big West race, so to start out with a win today is huge,” said Head Coach Matt Vaughn. “We come out every day to win and we have to approach the rest of the weekend with the same mentality—just take it one pitch at a time and one game at a time,” added Vaughn.
Senior right-hander Matt Blais recorded his third win of the season for UC Davis, limiting the Gauchos to two earned runs on six hits while striking out three over seven innings of work. After surrendering a pair of earned runs through the first two innings, Blais settled down, retiring 14 of the next 18 batters he faced, holding the Gauchos scoreless over the next five innings.
“I thought Matt Blais put forth an outstanding effort today. He battled through some adversity in the first two innings and dealt with the hotter temperatures really well,” Vaughn added.
Chris Lincoln suffered the loss for the Gauchos after allowing two earned runs on five hits and striking out five over 6.1 innings on the mound.
The Gauchos jumped out to a quick lead over the Aggies during Friday’s Big West opener, scoring two runs on a walk, a single, a double, and a passed ball in the first inning.
UC Santa Barbara added to its lead in the second, scoring on an RBI-single from Andrew Martinez after Michael McAdoo roped a double down the left field line, giving the Gauchos a 3-0 advantage.
The Aggies threatened in the home half of the second with runners on the corners thanks to a double from senior Ryan Hooper and an infield single off the bat of freshman Joseph Myers, but could not convert to get on the board.
The Gauchos maintained their three-run lead until the sixth, when momentum began to shift in favor of the Aggies. Senior Brad Pluschkell brought new life to the UC Davis dugout after scorching one down the left field line for a triple—his first of the season. But when junior Ryan Anderson sent a grounder to the third baseman, it was off to the races for Pluschkell, who somehow managed to maneuver his way around the tag of the UC Santa Barbara catcher, showcasing heads-up baserunning and getting UC Davis on the board.
The Aggies’ momentum spilled over into the seventh inning, as the UC Davis bats came alive. Logan Denholm led off the inning with a drawn walk before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Then back-to-back singles from Cameron Briggs and Garret Kelly got the Aggies within one and forced the Gauchos to look to their bullpen.
UC Davis then tied things up at three-all after an overthrow to first base by the UC Santa Barbara defense allowed all baserunners to move up an extra 90 feet, going down as a single in the books for freshman Tanner Murray. But the Aggies weren't done yet as Pluschkell was back to his old tricks, once again giving the Aggies what they were looking for by driving in the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly to cap off the inning.
The Aggies' three-run effort in the seventh would prove to be enough for UC Davis as the fans at Dobbins Stadium would see no other scores from UC Santa Barbara. Freshman right-hander Brett Erwin entered in the eighth in relief of Blais, and provided the Aggies with two innings of scoreless, hitless relief en route to his third save of the season.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday (Apr. 21) at 2 p.m., with freshman right-hander Jared Sasaki scheduled to take the mound for UC Davis, while the finale is set to take place on Sunday (Apr. 22) at 1 p.m.
UC Davis 4, UC Santa Barbara 3 (04/20/18 at Davis, Calif.)
UC Santa Barbara.... 210 000 000 - 3 6 1 (17-16-1, 3-4 BWC)
UC Davis............ 000 001 30X - 4 7 0 (11-21, 4-6 BWC)
Pitchers: UC Santa Barbara - Lincoln, Chris; Chandler, Kevin(7) and Yang, Eric; Rowan, Thomas.
UC Davis - Blais, Matt; Erwin, Brett(8) and Denholm, Logan.
Win-Blais, Matt(3-4) Save-Erwin, Brett(3) Loss-Lincoln, Chris(2-2) T-2:28 A-204
Weather: Sunny, 79 degrees, NW 6mph
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.
DON'T MISS OUT!
Season tickets for UC Davis softball and baseball are now on sale by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting us online at UCDavisAggies.com.
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