May 2, 2004
DAVIS, Calif. - The 2004 season came to a fitting conclusion as UC Davis rallied for three late runs and senior Joel Needham came on in the eighth to shut the door as the Aggies completed a four-game series sweep over Cal State L.A. with a 6-4 California Collegiate Athletic Association victory Sunday afternoon in front of 411 at Dobbins Stadium.
With the win the Aggies conclude their 2004 season with a 37-15-1 record, 32-7-1 and atop the standings of the CCAA. They also earn their sixth conference sweep of the year. CSLA ends its season at 24-24-1 overall, 17-22-1 in CCAA action.
The Golden Eagles took an early lead in the first when a pair of singles and an RBI fielder's choice scored Rafael Arroyo with the game's first run. UC Davis countered with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Robby Tulk and Brandon Oliver led off the inning with back-to-back singles before Matt Kamigawachi's sacrifice fly scored Tulk. Two batters later, Tyler LaTorre lined a single to left that scored Oliver followed by Andrew Reisinger's RBI single that scored Matt Blankenheim.
In the fourth CSLA took advantage of two Aggie errors to open the inning to take a 4-3 lead. With runners at first and second and nobody out, Das Jesson foul tipped a ball into the glove of Reisinger, but the home plate umpire said the ball hit the ground first., keeping Jesson's at-bat going. Two pitches later, Jesson drilled a three-run home run over the left field fence, putting the Golden Eagles in the lead.
CSLA starter Derrick Loop worked in and out of trouble through the middle part of the contest as the Aggies stranded six baserunners in the first six innings.
In the bottom of the seventh the Aggies regained the lead on a three-run double off the bat of LaTorre. UC Davis capitalized on a Golden Eagle error that prolonged the inning, allowing all three runs to be unearned.
CSLA put together a rally in the eighth. With two runners on via a walk and hit batter, Needham came on to get a fielder's choice and after walking Tim Wilkerson on a 3-2 pitch, Needham struck out the next two batters to end the Golden Eagle threat.
In the ninth Needham retired CSLA in order to earn his eighth save of the season, tying the single-season mark at UC Davis.
In addition to the play on the field, the game featured three streakers in between the fifth and sixth innings racing throughout the outfield before exiting through an outfield gate.
Mick Philips started for the Aggies and went 6.0 innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on six hits while striking out six. Nik Aurora came on in the seventh to earn his fifth victory of the year. Peter Soskin faced two batters in the eighth before Needham came on.
Loop started for CSLA and went 7.0 innings, allowing all six runs, three earned, on 10 hits as his record falls to 1-1. Matt Winkelman had a pair of hits for CSLA while Jesson finished with his fourth home run of the season and three RBI.
"What a positive way to end the series and to sweep the four games is a great end to our season," said Aggie head coach Rex Peters. "We got a good start out of Mickey, Tyler had the big hit and then Joel came in and closed out the game. For Joel to get out of that jam in the eighth is the sign of a true closer. He did an outstanding job.
"This is a special group of seniors," Peters continued, referring to the seven Aggies who played their final game on Sunday. "They really set the tone for program for years to come. We don't have the success over the last two seasons without them."