Late inning rally falls short as Irvine takes series

May 26, 2017

Box Score

IRVINE, Calif. -- Down two entering its last at-bat, UC Davis came up 90 feet short of forcing extra innings on Friday night, pushing across one run, but stranding the tying run at third base as UC Irvine escaped with a 6-5 victory and a series win in game two of a three-game Big West Conference series at Anteater Ballpark.

In a series that has seen the first two games decided by a single run, the Aggies fell to 20-30 overall and 9-14 in conference play with only Saturday's regular season finale remaining. The Anteaters improved to 23-32 overall and 9-14 in the Big West with the win.

A pair of home runs by Cameron Olson -- a solo shot in the first for his eighth of the year -- and Ryan Hooper -- a two-run blast in the fifth for his fifth of the season -- staked UC Davis to the early lead, before Irvine rallied with four unanswered in the fifth and sixth innings to move ahead for the first time on the night.

Olson's eight home runs are the most since Ryan Royster hit 10 in 2008, while it marked the 17th of the Yuba City, Calif., native's career, moving him into a tie for 10th on the all-time list with Kyle Mihaylo, Sam Viney, and Jim Grant.

The Aggies were able to scratch across a run to tie the game in the eighth, loading the bases with one out thanks to three walks to Olson, Ignacio Diaz, and Caleb Van Blake. That brought up Jacob Thomas, who hit a deep fly ball to center, long enough to score Olson from third to tie the game at 4-4.

UC Davis' advantage was short-lived, however, as the Anteaters rallied for the eventual winning runs in the home half, taking advantage of a throwing error and a walk to load the bases. Another walk forced home a run and a sacrifice fly by Christian Koss two batters later provided a much-needed insurance score before a fly ball halted any further damage.

Brad Pluschkell and Hooper got the Aggies' rally started in the ninth with back-to-back singles, and Pluschkell stole third to put runners at the corners with no outs. An infield single by Mason Novak scored Pluschkell to make it one-run game, and runners moved to the corners on Olson's fly ball to left.

Needing only a fly ball to get the tying run home, closer Calvin Faucher (3-5) escaped the jam and nailed down the win, getting a foul out and a strikeout to end the threat and the game. Faucher earned the win despite allowing two runs on three hits, walking three and striking out three over two innings of work.

Senior right-hander Justin Mullins started and took the no-decision, allowing just one earned run on six hits and striking out three over seven innings. Sophomore left-hander Chris Brown (1-5) was stuck with the loss, facing three batters and allowing two runs (one earned) on a hit and a walk before giving way to Zach Stone, who finished the eighth.

Novak's single in the ninth extended his hitting streak to eight consecutive games, while a pair of two-hit performances from Hooper and Olson allowed them to collect their 13th and 10th multi-hit games of the year, respectively. The two home runs on the night gave the Aggies 30 for the year -- the most since they hit 34 in 2008.

First pitch for Saturday's finale is scheduled for 1 p.m.

UC Irvine 6, UC Davis 5 (May 26, 2017 at Irvine, Calif.)
UC Davis............ 100 020 011  -  5  9  2      (20-30, 9-14)
UC Irvine........... 000 031 02X  -  6  7  1      (23-32, 9-14)
Pitchers: UC Davis - Mullins, Justin; Brown, Chris (8); Stone, Zach (8) and Diaz, Ignacio. UC Irvine - Bocko, Jordan; Martin, Michael (6); Faucher, Calvin (8) and Guenette, Alex.
Win - Faucher, Calvin (3-5)  Loss - Brown, Chris (1-5)  T-2:25  A-541
HR UCD - Hooper, Ryan (5); Olson, Cameron (8).
Weather: Some clouds, but nice
Brown faced 3 batters in the 8th.