May 9, 2003
CHICO, Calif. -
Jeff Walker's two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth capped five unanswered runs by the Wildcats over the final three innings as Chico State took a four-run lead late then held on for a 6-4 victory over UC Davis in the California Collegiate Athletic Association Baseball Championship Tournament Friday evening at Nettleton Stadium.
Earlier in the day the Aggies dropped a 17-4 contest against top-seeded Sonoma State. With the two losses UC Davis was eliminated from the CCAA Tournament while Chico will face Sonoma in the championship on Saturday, needing two wins to capture the title. With the two losses the Aggies fall to 32-22 on the season. UC Davis will now wait for Sunday's announcement by the NCAA on the four-team, NCAA Division II West Regional participants. The Aggies entered this weekend ranked No.2 in the region.
Chico broke out first with a single run in the second when John Paluck, who led off the inning with a single, scored on Scott Thomson's RBI hit to left. UC Davis came back with a pair of runs in the fourth. Back-to-back singles by Dustin Soderman and Tyler LaTorre leading off the inning started the rally. Soderman then scored on a throwing error by Wildcat pitcher Brian Kroll and LaTorre came across on an RBI groundout from Ryan Coultas.
The Aggies maintained the 2-1 lead over the middle innings as freshman starter Michael Potter kept the Wildcat hitters off-balance and off the bases. At one point, Potter retired 10 straight hitters before running into trouble in the sixth. After a leadoff walk and hit batter, Brandon Vorhees sacrifice bunt looked as though it would go foul, but stayed fair, loading the bases with no outs. Joel Needham replaced Potter and got a double-play ball and groundout to limit the damage to one run, tying the score at 2-2.
In the seventh the Wildcats took a 4-2 lead on RBI singles from Jonathan Shepard and Ryan Wulfert and pushed the lead to 6-2 on Walker's hit in the eighth. UC Davis cut the lead in half on Matt Kamigawachi's
two-run single in the ninth, but with the tying run up and only one out, Clark Johnson came on to retire the final two batters for his 11th save of the season.
"The backbone of our program is pitching and playing defense and we didn't do either in the first three innings against Sonoma," said Aggie Head Coach Rex Peters. "Against a good team like Sonoma, they make you pay the price. In the Chico game we had opportunities to score early and didn't capitalize. They had more big hits than we did and that was the difference.
"I think we have proven over 55 games this season that we deserve an opportunity to play in the regional," Peters said, referring to Sunday's announcement by the NCAA.
In the first game, Sonoma's 17 runs and 24 hits were both season-highs as the Seawolves jumped out to a 10-0 after three innings and never looked back. Sonoma scored three runs in the first, taking advantage of two Davis errors then added two more in the second on Brian Stream's two-run double to the gap in right-center.
Sonoma chased Aggie starter Trevor Thornton in the third as it put five more runs on the board. Five hits and two more Aggie errors led to the outburst. Jeff Vignau came on in the middle of the third and went the next 5.1 innings for his longest stint of the season.
UC Davis got on the board in the fourth as David Butterworth hit his team-leading ninth home run of the season, a two-run shot scoring Kamigawachi. Coultas' RBI single in the fifth scored Mark Wells, cutting the Sonoma lead to 15-3. Lukas Kirby added a sacrifice fly in seventh, scoring Yaw Yiadom.
Sonoma put up four runs in the fifth and two more in the eighth to close out their scoring. Shortstop Gil Barry did much of the damage, going 4-for-4 with four RBIs. Brandon Burgess, Stream and Effren Trejo each added three hits. Darren Sack started and went seven innings for Sonoma as he picked up his ninth win of the season against two losses.
Butterworth, Coultas and Matt Blankenheim each had two hits as UC Davis connected for 14 in the game, but could not get the big hit early to get back in the game. Thornton took the loss for UC Davis, falling to 7-4 on the season.
UC DAVIS BASEBALL
No. 1 Sonoma State (43-13-1) 325 140 020 - 17 24 0
No. 2 UC Davis (32-21) 000 210 100 - 4 14 4
WP - Darren Sack (9-2). LP - Trevor Thornton (7-4). UC Davis, Trevor Thornton, Jeff Vignau (3), Peter Soskin (8) and Andrew Reisinger, Tyler LaTorre (6). SSU: Darren Sack, Brett Wedding (8), Jeff Henning (9) and Brad Shannon.
TOP HITTERS: UC Davis: David Butterworth, 2-3, HR, 2RBI; Ryan Coultas, 2-2, RBI; Matt Blankenheim, 2-4; Yaw Yiadom, 1-1, Run; Ross Warner, 1-2; Matt Kamigawachi, 1-5, Run; Josh Behrens, 1-1; Dustin Soderman, 1-3; Mark Wells, 1-4, Run; Kyle Irving, 1-4. SSU: Gil Barry, 4-4, 2B, 4 RBI; Brian Stream, 3-6, 2 2B, 2 RBI; Effren Trejo, 3-6, RBI; Brandon Burgess, 3-5, 3 Runs, RBI; Adam Rachlin, 2-4, RBI; Tom Everidge, 2-5, 2B, RBI; Armando Ornelas, 2-4, RBI; Nate Durham-Hammer, 2-5; Darrel Jacks, 1-1, RBI; Brad Shannon, 1-6, 2B, RBI; Keian Davis, 1-1.
No. 2 UC Davis (32-22) 000 200 002 - 4 12 2
No. 3 Chico State (36-17) 010 001 22x - 6 12 1
WP - Brian Kroll (7-4). LP - Joel Needham (2-1). Save - Clark Johnson (11). UC Davis: Michael Potter, Joel Needham (6), Travis Bearden (8) and Andrew Reisinger. CSUC: Brian Kroll, Clark Johnson (9) and Trevor Trevor Weedon.
TOP HITTERS: UC Davis: Matt Kamigawachi, 3-5, 2 RBI; Dustin Soderman, 2-4, Run; David Butterworth, 2-5; Robby Tulk, 1-3, 2B, Run; Andrew Reisinger, 1-5; Tyler LaTorre, 1-4, Run; Mark Wells, 1-3; Ross Warner, 1-1. CSUC: Jeff Walker, 2-5, 2 RBI; Ryan Wulfert, 2-4, RBI; John Paluck, 2-4, 2 Runs; Jonathan Shepard, 1-2, RBI; Chris Mendonsa, 1-3; Steve Newson, 1-3; Brandon Vorhees, 1-1; Brett Polan, 1-3, Run; Scott Thomson, 1-3, 2B, RBI.