May 26, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - For the third consecutive weekend, Tom Briner went the distance for UC Davis, throwing his fifth complete game of the year to lead the Aggies to a 3-1 win over UC Irvine on Saturday at Dobbins Stadium in Davis.
With the win, UC Davis takes the series from UC Irvine after topping the Anteaters 4-0 on Friday, marking the first time in program history that the Aggies have claimed a series from the Anteaters. UC Davis has now won four straight Big West Conference series as it improves to 27-29 overall and 12-11 in Big West play.
In the series, UC Davis held UC Irvine scoreless for 17 innings as the lone Anteater run didn't cross until there was one out in the ninth inning.
Briner struck out just one batter, did not allow a walk and gave up just five hits in the final outing of his Aggie career.
"I'm running out of superlatives for this pitching staff," said head coach Matt Vaughn. "These guys are special. Tom has been lights out in the last month of the season. To follow Anthony's outing yesterday with this today and to have Dayne going up tomorrow. You can't ask for any more.
"They're setting the benchmark for what our guys have to be and what you have to do to be successful in this conference," Vaughn continued. "All I've had to do is give them the ball. They've been incredible Aggies in this program from when they got here until their very last outing. It's special. It's very special."
After giving up a single to lead off the second inning, Briner retired seven straight before allowing another base hit at the start of the fifth. The Anteaters would get a second single during that inning, but Briner forced catcher Chris Rabago to pop up to short to end the inning.
The Anteaters' fourth hit of the game came with one out in the sixth inning, then Briner retired nine straight batters until Tommy Reyes roped a triple to the wall in right center field. He would score after Jordan Fox grounded out to third base.
Offensively, UC Davis got out early on Anteater starter Crosby Slaught, taking a 2-0 lead in the second. Eric Johnson hit a hard ground ball to short, then moved to second after Slaught overthrew a pickoff attempt. He advanced to third when Kevin Barker hit a grounder to short, then scored on Brett Morgan's RBI single.
Morgan came around to score from second on Tino Lipson's RBI base hit through the gap into right field.
The Aggies carried their 3-0 lead to the end, despite leaving 11 runners on base. Popkins, Nick Lynch and Barker were each hit by pitches to bring UC Davis' record-breaking total to 100.
"The nine guys that will be introduced tomorrow on Senior Day have made all of this happen," said Vaughn "They chose to turn it around, to put the work in and to take responsibility. I can't say enough about all of these seniors and all I can hope is that the younger guys are watching. Judging by how we're playing, the younger guys are watching. They're taking it in and that's invaluable for the future of this program."
Johnson and Morgan each went 2-for-4 to lead UC Davis offensively. UC Irvine's five hits were scattered amongst five different batters.
UC Davis will close out the 2012 season on Sunday at 1 p.m. A pregame ceremony will be held to honor the nine Aggie seniors playing in their final game at Dobbins Stadium.