Missed chances haunt Aggies in series opener

Senior Mason Novak finished with three hits and scored twice on Thursday in the opener against Grand Canyon. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)
May 18, 2017

Box Score

DAVIS, Calif. -- UC Davis twice rallied to tie the game in the late innings, but the Aggies stranded 15 base runners on the day -- 11 of those in scoring position -- as visiting Grand Canyon escaped with a 6-5 victory in 12 innings in the series opener on Thursday afternoon at Phil Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium.

Playing in its second extra-inning game of the season and its longest in terms of innings since a 12-inning contest at Arizona State on March 12, 2016, UC Davis fell to 18-27 overall on the year, going toe-to-toe with the Antelopes in a four-hour, 15-minute marathon -- the longest in terms of time since battling Cal Poly in a 13-inning game that took four hours and 25 minutes back on March 30, 2013.

Grand Canyon improved to 28-24 overall on the season with the win, stranding 10 runners of its own -- eight in scoring position.

The Aggies clawed their way back from a two-run deficit with a rally in the eighth as Alex Aguiar was hit by a pitch with one out and came all the way around to score on Jacob Thomas' triple off the wall in left field to make it a one-run game. Caleb Van Blake then came through with the tying hit, going the other way with a single to score Thomas and tie things up at 4-4.

Both teams stranded runners in scoring position in the ninth, and the Antelopes were able to regain the lead in the 10th on a single by Greg Saenz, putting UC Davis' collective backs against the wall once again.

This time, fortunes fell in favor of the Aggies as Thomas bounced a one-out single through the left side and went first-to-third on a since by Van Blake to put runners at the corners. After a strikeout for the second out, Ryan Hooper came up and popped the first pitch from Mick Vorhof up on the right side that should have ended the game.

The first baseman, however, lost track of the ball and had it bounce off his glove and safely to the ground, allowing Thomas to score and tie the game once again.

An inning-ending double play set Grand Canyon down quietly in the 11th and UC Davis got a runner to second once again in the home half, but were unable to push across the winning run, setting the stage for the Antelopes' winner in the 12th.

Tom Lerouge led off with a single, was sacrificed to second and moved to third on an error that should have ended the inning. That brought up Saenz once again and his fourth hit of the night up the middle off the second base bag plated another go-ahead score, giving Grand Canyon the 6-5 lead.

Van Blake started the home half of the 12th with a walk and was sacrificed to second, but reliever Jeramy Smith got a strikeout and a fly ball to left to record his first save of the year and nail down the win.

Josh Andrews (1-0) earned the win, allowing just two base runners while striking out one over 1.1 innings of work. Zach Stone (5-3) suffered the loss, allowing one earned run on five hits and striking out two.

The Aggies jumped out to the early lead plating single runs in the first and third innings. Mason Novak singled up the middle and moved to third on a wild pitch  and ground ball, eventually scoring when Ignacio Diaz's line drive to the shortstop was dropped.

A one-out double by Novak set the stage for the second run as Ryan Anderson's double down the left field line on the next pitch plated his senior teammate to make it 2-0. Anderson's hit extended his hitting streak to 17 games, tying him with Matt Dempsey -- who had hits in 17 straight from Feb. 29 to March 29, 2008 -- for the third-longest in the program's Division I history.

Austin Bull's two-run single and an RBI groundout by Lerouge gave the Antelopes their first lead of the day as part of a three-run fifth, and Grand Canyon struck for an insurance score in the eighth on Preston Pavlica's RBI double, setting the stage for the Aggies' comeback.

Game two of the series is scheduled for Friday afternoon (May 18) at 2:30 p.m.

Grand Canyon 6, UC Davis 5 (May 18, 2017 at Davis, Calif.)
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Grand Canyon........ 000 030 010 101  -  6 14  3      (28-24)
UC Davis............ 101 000 020 100  -  5 12  1      (18-27)
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Pitchers: Grand Canyon - Repavich, Jake; Franks, AJ(6); Vorhof, Mick(8); Andrews, Josh(10); Smith, Jeramy(12) and Meyer, Josh; Barnes, Griffin. UC Davis - Razo, Orlando; Loar, Connor (8); Stone, Zach (9); Peters, Blake (12) and Diaz, Ignacio; Ontiveros, Elijah.
Win - Andrews, Josh (1-0)  Save - Smith, Jeramy (1)  Loss - Stone, Zach (5-3) T-4:15  A-104
Weather: low 80s; wind:NNW 14 mph