Matadors hold off charging Aggies to take series

Senior Tanner Bily became the first Aggie with five hits since Kevin Barker did so in 2014. (Photo by Mark Honbo/UC Davis Athletics Communications)
May 14, 2016

Box Score

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -- Led by a 5-for-5 day at the top of the order by senior Tanner Bily, visiting UC Davis scored eight times in the final four innings to try and overcome an early deficit, but it wasn't enough as host CSUN held off the Aggies for an 11-8 win and a Big West Conference series victory on Saturday afternoon at Matador Field.

Despite out-hitting its hosts by a 16-12 count, UC Davis fell to 16-28 overall and 4-13 in league play, scoring multiple runs in two of the final four frames down the stretch to try and close the gap. The Matadors won their first series against the Aggies since 2013 with Saturday's triumph, improving to 30-16 overall and 9-11 in conference.

Bily, who finished with five singles, a run scored, and an RBI, became only the sixth different Aggie to collect at least five hits in a game during the program's Division I Era, and the first since former teammate Kevin Barker ended the day 5-for-6 at UC Riverside on April 17, 2014. Bily's perfect day at the plate was the best since Nick Lynch was 5-for-5 at Saint Mary's on May 14, 2013, and was one hit shy of David Popkins' Division I record of six hits set at CSU Bakersfield on Feb. 24, 2012.

Daniel Cepin (5-for-5 at California in 2010) and Jake Jefferies (5-for-6 at Washington State and 5-for-7 at UC Santa Barbara in 2008) are the other two Aggies to collect at least five hits in a game at the Division I level.

The effort, however, came up just short as CSUN exploded for the first eight runs of the game, including a four-run fourth, to jump out to the early lead, holding UC Davis to just four base runners over the first five innings.

Sparked by Bily's third hit of the game to lead-off the sixth, the Aggies began to chip away, scoring three times to break-up the shutout. Freshman Caleb Van Blake brought Bily home with a two-out single up the middle and, after a hit by pitch, Mason Novak clubbed a two-run double to make it 8-3.

The Matadors got all three runs back in their half of the inning and that proved to be the difference. CSUN loaded the bases on a hit batter, a single, and a walk, and Bobby Schuman cleared the bases with a double down the right-field line to make it 11-3.

That was just enough as the Aggies continued to battle back in the late innings, bringing the tying run to the plate in the ninth before the Matadors shut the door. A sacrifice fly by Cameron Olson in the seventh brought his team a run closer before UC Davis plated three in the eighth on a passed ball, an RBI double by Brad Pluschkell, and a run-scoring single by Bily, made it 11-7.

In the ninth, a one-out single by Ignacio Diaz started another rally, and the Aggies had runners at second and third after a Ryan Hooper double for Novak, who lined a shot back through the box for his third hit of the day to make it 11-8. Pinch hitter David Langer then came to the plate, representing the tying run, but Joe Ryan caught him looking at strike three to end the threat and the game.

Kenny Rosenberg (5-1) earned the win, allowing four runs on nine hits while striking out seven without a walk over six innings of work. Spencer Henderson (1-4) suffered the loss, allowing five earned on five hits and striking out four in just three innings.

The Aggies look to salvage a win in game three of the series on Sunday (May 15) at 1 p.m.

CSUN 11, UC Davis 8 (May 14, 2016 at Northridge, CA)
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UC Davis............ 000 003 131  -  8 16  2      (16-28, 4-13 Big West)
CSUN................ 112 403 00X  - 11 12  0      (30-16, 9-11 Big West)
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Pitchers: UC Davis - Henderson, Spencer; Hannah, Blake (4); Steindorf, Ryan (6) and Denholm, Logan; Diaz, Ignacio. CSUN - Rosenberg, Kenny; Diaz, Ray(7); Ryan, Joe(8) and Alexander, Dylan.
Win - Rosenberg, Kenny (5-1)  Loss - Henderson, Spencer (1-4)  T-3:34  A-246
Weather: Sunny, clear skies
Henderson, S faced 3 batters in the 4th.
Rosenberg faced 2 batters in the 7th.