Pitcher's Duel Ends in Heartbreak for Aggies

Senior right-hander Evan Wolf finished with his first career complete game, allowing just five hits against UC Irvine on Sunday.
 
Senior right-hander Evan Wolf finished with his first career complete game, allowing just five hits against UC Irvine on Sunday.
 

April 27, 2014

Box Score

DAVIS, Calif. -- UC Davis senior right-hander Evan Wolf finished with a complete-game five-hitter, but a two-out bloop single with the bases loaded in the ninth for UC Irvine was the difference, as the Anteaters rallied for 3-1 victory and a series sweep of the Aggies on Sunday afternoon at Dobbins Stadium.

The loss dropped UC Davis to 17-23 overall and 3-12 in the Big West Conference, while UC Irvine improved to 28-14 overall and 11-1 in league play with the win.

Wolf (3-4) was the latest Aggies starter to pitch a gem, tossing his first career complete game while allowing just three runs and striking out two. He retired 12 straight at one point from the fourth to eighth innings, and allowed only four baserunners until running into trouble in the ninth.

Along with Harry Stanwyck and Spencer Koopmans' efforts on Saturday, the Aggies' starting pitchers allowed just four earned runs in 23 innings of work in the series (1.57 ERA), but UC Davis fell to 17-23 overall and 3-12 in the Big West Conference.

Of UC Irvine's 11 runs in the three-game series, nine of those came in the final two innings -- including eight of those nine in the ninth inning alone -- none bigger than the two on Sunday as the Anteaters rallied to push across the winning tallies. With the score tied at one, a pop-up and a diving grab by Tanner Bily at the track in right produced two quick outs before UC Irvine loaded the bases on a walk to Taylor Sparks, an infield single by Jonathan Munoz that was smothered by a diving Tino Lipson behind the second base bag to save a run, and a full-count walk to pinch-hitter Evan Cassolato.


 

 

Catcher Renae Martinez, who had just two hits to his name all season long, then strode to the plate, working the count full before muscling the ninth pitch of the at-bat just over the head of first baseman Nick Lynch and onto the edge of the grass in right field, scoring a pair and giving the Anteaters a 3-1 advantage.

UC Irvine turned the ball over to NCAA saves leader Sam Moore, who allowed an infield single by Lipson, but got a fly ball, a strikeout, and a ground ball to close out the game and nail down his 19th save of the year. Evan Brock (7-3) matched Wolf zero for zero, allowing just the one run on four hits while striking out three over the first eight innings to earn the win.

Both teams scored in the first to break the seal early. Grant Palmer reached on a bloop double in front of a diving Kevin Barker in centerfield, was sacrificed to third, and scored on Connor Spencer's sacrifice fly to left centerfield for a quick 1-0 lead.

The Aggies had an answer in their half of the first as Barker laced a two-out double to the gap in left and scored two pitches later when Adam Young dropped a single into left center to tie the game at one apiece.

Both teams went quietly until the Anteaters' rally in the ninth as Wolf held UC Irvine to just two hits in the second and fourth, while Brock held UC Davis to hits in the third and fourth innings, and stranded the Aggies' go-ahead run at third in the sixth. Seth Batty walked to lead off the inning (the first of the game for either pitcher), was sacrificed over to second, and moved to third on a balk. However, Brock got a ground ball to short to end the inning, and keep the two teams deadlocked at 1-1.

Munoz led all hitters with a 3-for-4 day for the Anteaters while four different hitters finished with hits for the Aggies. Barker's double in the first -- his fourth of the weekend -- allowed him to reach base for the 18th consecutive game, tying him with Young for the longest such streak by a UC Davis hitter this season, and extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games.

Bily, who singled in the fourth for the Aggies, also extended a lengthly hitting streak -- now at nine games following the weekend -- tied with John Williams for the longest this season, while reaching base for the 10th consecutive contest.

UC Davis returns to open a stretch of eight games away from home next weekend, beginning a three-game series at Big West rival Cal State Northridge on Friday (May 2) at 3 p.m. Games two and three of the series against the Matadors are both scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch from Matador Diamond.

UC Irvine 3, UC Davis 1 (Apr 27, 2014 at Davis, Calif.)
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UC Irvine........... 100 000 002 - 3 5 0 (28-14, 11-1 BIG WEST)
UC Davis............ 100 000 000 - 1 5 0 (17-23, 3-12 BIG WEST)
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Pitchers: UC Irvine - Brock, Evan; Moore, Sam(9) and Martinez, Renae. UC Davis - Wolf, Evan and Silva, Izaak.
Win-Brock, Evan(7-3) Save-Moore, Sam(19) Loss-Wolf, Evan(3-4) T-2:13 A-375