May 4, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - Paul Politi hit a walk off single in the bottom of the 11th to score David Popkins, giving UC Davis a 5-4 win over Cal Poly in a Big West Conference series opener on Friday at Dobbins Stadium in Davis.
With the win, UC Davis improves to 17-24 overall and 5-8 in league play while Cal Poly moves to 26-18 and 9-7.
Politi went 4-for-6 on the day with an RBI, but it was a two-out single with an 0-2 count into right center field in the bottom of the 11th that highlighted his performance.
"Paul Politi set the tone today," said head coach Matt Vaughn. "They went away from him and away from him so many times and he just put on a clinic in hitting and that's contagious. The other guys see it and it helps them and they learn from that."
The win was also highlighted by a three-run home run by Scott Kalush in the bottom of the fifth inning which gave UC Davis a 4-2 lead over Cal Poly. Kalush took a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall to score Politi and Kevin Barker. Barker had drawn a walk to lead off the inning while Politi had a base hit in the next at bat.
It was Kalush's third home run of the year.
"We matched them AB for AB and actually overtook them in that last three or four innings," said Vaughn.
Cal Poly took a brief 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth after Jimmy Allen singled to score Mike Miller, then David Armendariz hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Tim Wise.
After being held to just one hit over the first four innings, Barker drew a walk in an 11-pitch at bat to start the mini rally. Politi's single into right field set up Kalush's three-run home run.
Evan Heptig followed with an RBI double to score Brett Morgan, who singled after Kalush's home run, giving UC Davis the 4-2 lead.
Cal Poly would rally late to tie the game after Allen's two-RBI single scored Miller and Denver Chavez and UC Davis was unable to respond in the bottom half of the inning.
Neither team would score in the tenth and Aggie reliever Harry Stanwyck retired the side in the 11th, striking out Wise to end the inning. Politi's heroics came after Tino Lipson grounded out and Popkins and Nick Lynch singled in consecutive at bats. John Williams hit a fly ball into left field for the second out of the inning, but Politi's base hit rolled through the gap into right center field to bring Popkins home from second base.
UC Davis did not commit an error during the game and allowed the Cal Poly leadoff hitter to reach base in just one inning.
Anthony Kupbens received the start on Friday after a minor injury to Dayne Quist kept the lefty out of the rotation. Kupbens pitched seven complete innings, struck out five batters and gave up just two runs on seven hits.
"Pitching and defense is what we've done well all year and we felt good about being able to do that today," said Vaughn. "The thing that was really special about today was that we had to move our pitchers up, and to get that effort out of Anthony today on short rest is a special effort on the mound. That's the best offensive team in the conference right now."
Stanwyck earned the win after entering in the eighth inning and striking out two to move to 2-3 overall.
UC Davis and Cal Poly return to action on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Dobbins Stadium.