DAVIS, Calif. -- UC Davis scored three times in the seventh to erase an early 2-0 deficit and added three more in the eighth to pull away, as the Aggies upset No. 13-ranked UC Santa Barbara, 6-2, to open a three-game Big West Conference series on Friday afternoon at Dobbins Stadium.
The victory extended UC Davis' season-best winning streak to five games as the Aggies improved to 14-25 overall and 3-10 in conference play this season and snapped a 10-game losing skid to the Gauchos in the process. It was their first win over UCSB dating back to a 10-6 triumph on April 28, 2012, and their first win at home over the Gauchos since a 5-4 win on May 22, 2011.
UC Santa Barbara, which limited UC Davis to just three hits and four base runners over the first six innings, fell to 30-11-1 overall and 8-5 in conference play with the loss.
Freshman left-hander Chris Brown (1-3) picked up the win in relief, allowing just one hit -- a lead-off double in the ninth -- over two innings of work while striking out two. He retired the side in order in the seventh and stranded the potential tying run at third after a lead-off walk in the eighth before giving way to Matt Blais, who got the final three outs, in the ninth.
Left-hander Robert Garcia pitched well in the no-decision, striking out eight over six innings, allowing two runs on four hits in the no-decision. Aside from a 52-pitch second inning when UC Santa Barbara scored its two runs, Garcia limited the Gauchos to just two base runners on a third-inning walk and a lead-off single in the fourth, retiring the final eight batters he faced.
Shane Bieber (8-3) suffered the loss for the Gauchos, allowing three runs -- all in the seventh inning -- on six hits while striking out seven over seven innings of work.
Spotting UC Santa Barbara a pair in the second on an RBI single by Clay Fisher and a bases-loaded walk to Andrew Calica, the Aggies were stifled until the decisive seventh inning, putting together a rally against Bieber to take the lead. A one-out single by Logan Denholm set the stage for Spencer Henderson, who doubled over the head of the left fielder to bring home the first run of the day for UC Davis, cutting the deficit in half.
A walk to Alex Roeser brought pinch-hitter Caleb Van Blake to the plate, and he wasted no time, roping the first pitch from Bieber just inside the first base bag and down the right field line, driving home Henderson with the tying run, and putting two in scoring position with still only one out. With the infield in, Justin Allen's bouncing ball almost got the best of the Gauchos' shortstop, rolling up his glove to give Roeser just enough time to beat the throw to the plate and put UC Davis up, 3-2.
After a double play to limit the damage in the seventh, UCSB looked to rally in the eighth as Calica walked to lead things off, was sacrificed to second, and moved to third on a deep fly ball to right. That brought up Austin Bush with the chance to tie the game once again, but Brown got ahead of the Gauchos' slugger 0-2, before getting him to strikeout swinging and end the threat.
The Aggies then pulled away in the home half off reliever Trevor Bettencourt as a one-out single by Alex Aguiar turned into an insurance run when Cameron Olson doubled off the wall in right for a 4-2 advantage, and UC Davis tacked on two more thanks to a throwing error on a single by Denholm that missed the cut-off man on the throw to the plate, allowing pinch-runner Chris Roppolo to score, and an RBI single by Henderson for the final 6-2 advantage.
A lead-off double in the ninth gave UC Santa Barbara life once again, but Matt Blais came on in relief to shut the door, allowing a one-out single before inducing a game-ending 4-6-3 double play to close it out.
Henderson tied his season high with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, driving in two, while Denholm added a pair of hits and scored twice. Tanner Bily (11 games) and Brad Pluschkell (six games) each extended their respective hitting streaks thanks to back-to-back singles in the third.
Fisher was 3-for-4 to lead UC Santa Barbara offensively, while Josh Adams added two more hits.
Game two of the series is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon (May 7) at Dobbins Stadium.
UC Davis 6, UC Santa Barbara 2 (May 06, 2016 at Davis, Calif.)
UC Santa Barbara.... 020 000 000 - 2 6 2 (30-11-1, 8-5 BIG WEST)
UC Davis............ 000 000 33X - 6 10 0 (14-25, 3-10 BIG WEST)
Pitchers: UC Santa Barbara - Bieber, Shane; Bettencourt, Trevor(8); Chandler, Kevin(8) and Grover, Dempsey. UC Davis - Garcia, Robert; Brown, Chris (7); Blais, Matt (9) and Denholm, Logan.
Win - Brown, Chris (1-3) Loss - Bieber, Shane (8-3) T-2:43 A-272
Weather: overcast, low 60s
Brown faced 1 batter in the 9th.