May 25, 2003
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -
Travis Evans drilled a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning and Travis King came on to pitch 3.2 innings of scoreless relief as No.3 Kennesaw State jumped out early then held on to defeat No.9 UC Davis, 9-5, in the opening round of the 2003 NCAA Division II National Baseball Championships in front of 845 Sunday afternoon at Paterson Field.
With the loss the Aggies fall to 35-23 on the season and move into the losers bracket where they will face Abilene Christian Tuesday afternoon. Kennesaw State improves to 39-16 and will face Tampa Tuesday evening.
The Aggies scored first in three games last weekend at the West Regional Championships in Hays, Kansas. But it was Kennesaw who struck first, putting up a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. With runners at second and third and one out, Julius Thames grounded out to second, scoring Scott Conway with the games first run.
In the top of the third, the Aggies cut the lead in half as Robby Tulk led off the frame with a walk. Two outs later and tulk on second, Dustin Soderman collected the first of two hits on the afternoon, singling through the left side to score Tulk.
The Kennesaw lead would grow to 6-1 after the Owls put up two more runs in both the third and fourth innings before UC Davis got back in the game.
In the fifth, Andrew Reisinger connected for a one-out single to right. One out later, David Butterworth singled up the middle, moving Reisinger the second. With two outs, Soderman then lined a double to left-center, clearing the bases and cutting the Owl lead to 6-3. Tyler LaTorre then hit a laser off second baseman Jeremy Brotherton, with the ball bouncing into shallow right field. Soderman never stopped, rounding third and scoring to cut the lead to 6-4. One inning later and with runners on first and third, Reisinger's grounder was bobbled by Brotherton, scoring Kyle Irving and cutting the Kennesaw lead to 6-5.
During the fifth the Aggies got to Owl starter Grant Reynolds, bringing on King in relief. King silenced the Aggie bats, allowing just one hit over the final 3.2 innings while striking out one. UC Davis received similar results from its bullpen as Travis Bearden
came on in the fourth inning to relieve starter Dave McKae
. McKae, who threw a no-hitter last Saturday in the West Regional, had trouble keeping the ball down on Sunday and the Owls made him pay. The sophomore lasted just three-plus innings, surrendering six runs on seven hits before giving way to Bearden.
After a shaky start in which he threw the ball into short centerfield after an attempted pick-off at second and hit the first batter he saw, Bearden settled down. He retired the next 11 men he faced until running into trouble in the seventh. With two outs and no one on Scott Hendrix crushed a double to deep center. On the next pitch, Travis Evans sent the ball over the right field fence, increasing the lead to 8-5 before Bearden retired the next batter to get out of the inning.
Derrick Tucker added a leadoff home run, his first of the year, in the eighth inning to close out the scoring.
"The reasons were got (to Montgomery) were pitching and defense, and today we didn't do those things as well as we have been," said Aggie Head Coach Rex Peters
. "I don't think we played poorly, we got down early and did a good job of battling to get back in the game. But give credit to Kennesaw, they got big hits late in the game to close the door on us.
"I think there might have been a tension (on the team) when we got behind early," Peters continued. "But when we battled back, I thought we might have a chance late if we could keep the game close."
The Aggies were led at the plate by Soderman, who drove in three runs on his two hits. Reisinger and Ross Warner added two hits each. Hendrix picked up three hits for the Owls while Evans added three RBIs on the game, two coming on the home run.
UC Davis will play Abilene Christian on Tuesday at 12:30pm (PDT) in an elimination game at Paterson Field.
UC DAVIS BASEBALL
No.9 UC Davis (35-23) 001 031 000 - 5 9 2
No.3 Kennesaw State (39-16) 022 200 21x - 9 11 2
WP - Grant Reynolds (9-2). LP - Dave McKae (6-5). Save - Travis King (4). UC Davis: Dave McKae, Travis Bearden (4), Joel Needham (8) and Andrew Reisinger. KSU: Grant Reynolds, Travis King (6) and Kevin Gergel, Derrick Tucker (8).
TOP HITTERS: UC Davis: Dustin Soderman, 2-5, 2B, 3RBI; Andrew Reisinger, 2-5, 2B, RBI; Ross Warner, 2-4, 2B; Robby Tulk, 1-4; David Butterworth, 1-3; Mark Wells, 1-3. KSU: Scott Hendrix, 3-4, 2 2B, RBI; Kevin Gergel, 2-3, RBI; Travis Evans, 1-4, HR, 3RBI; Jon Love, 1-4, 2B, RBI; Derrick Tucker, 1-1, HR, RBI; Scott Conway, 1-3; Clint Watters, 1-5, Run; Dustin Atkinson, 1-3, Run.