DAVIS, Calif. — Senior closer Connor Loar limited the Anteaters to just one hit over the final three innings of Saturday's finale, finishing the series retiring 12 of the 14 batters he faced, while senior Ryan Hooper logged his 14th career home run and freshman Tanner Murray added on a pair of hits, as UC Davis closed out its 2018 campaign with a 4-2 “Senior Day” win, capturing the first series victory over UC Irvine since 2012 during Saturday’s finale at Phil Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium.
The Aggies finished the year with back-to-back victories, improving to 18-35 overall and 9-15 in the Big West Conference. The Anteaters, who entered the weekend winning four of their last five meetings against UC Davis, fell to 32-24 overall with a 13-11 league record.
Junior south paw Chris Brown (4-5) earned the win for UC Davis after limiting the Anteater offense to just two runs on seven hits over six innings of work, striking out three. Senior Connor Loar came on in relief in the seventh, working UC Davis out of a jam with a strikeout and a pair of groundouts. Loar tossed an outstanding final three innings for the Aggies, giving up just one hit an striking out three en route to his team-high fourth save of the season.
Taylor Rashi suffered the loss for the Anteaters, charged with three runs on six hits and striking out four over 4.2 innings.
A home run off the bat of UC Irvine head coach Mike Gillespie’s grandson, Cole Kreuter, gave the Anteaters an early 1-0 advantage in the second.
But after posting two strikeouts in the first and surrendering the homer to Kreuter, Brown retired 14 of the next 21 batters he faced, scattering six hits with one strikeout and one walk.
The UC Davis offense remained silent at the plate until the fourth, when a double from junior Ryan Anderson followed by a two-run shot from Hooper put the Aggies ahead, 2-1. Anderson logged his 13th double of the year, while Hooper’s seventh round-tripper of the season now ranks him tied for second on the Division I era career records list with 14 home runs.
Looking to extend their lead, the Aggies tacked on another run in the fifth, scoring on an RBI double from Murray—his 10th of the season—following a single through the left side by senior Alex Aguiar to make it 3-1.
The Anteaters pushed one across in the seventh, scoring on a three singles and a wild pitch, forcing UC Davis to turn to its bullpen.
Inheriting runners on first and second with no outs, Loar made quick work of the Anteaters, getting the Aggies out of trouble with a strikeout and a pair of groundouts.
UC Davis then secured a two-run cushion in the eighth, led off with a 10-pitch at bat from Murray who eventually won the battle drawing a walk. A second consecutive walk issued to Van Blake then forced UC Irvine to look to its bullpen in junior right-hander Jordan Bocko.
A well-hit ball up the middle from Anderson put runners on the corners before Hooper loaded the bases with the third drawn wak of the inning. Junior Cameron Briggs then put UC Davis ahead, 4-2, driving in the second run of the inning on a groundout.
Retiring the final three batters of the afternoon in order, Loar finished the series retiring 12 of the 14 batters he faced, striking out the final batter of his career to clinch the series win for UC Davis.
Murray finished as the only Aggie with a multi-hit performance, while four other Aggies contributed hits, including Hooper, Anderson, Aguiar, and Denholm.
Congratulations to the seven departing seniors who made their final appearances in an Aggie uniform today: Alex Aguiar, Daniel Barraza, Matt Blais, Ryan Hooper, Connor Loar, Brad Pluschkell, and Guillermo Salazar.
UC Davis 4, UC Irvine 2 (05/26/18 at Davis, Calif.)
UC Irvine........... 010 000 100 - 2 10 0 (32-24, 13-11 Big West)
UC Davis............ 000 210 01X - 4 6 0 (18-35, 9-15 Big West)
Pitchers: UC Irvine - Rashi, Taylor; Anderson, Nick(5); Bocko, Jordan(8) and Mazur, Griffin;
Castro, Jacob. UC Davis - Brown, Chris; Wieser, Tim(7); Loar, Connor(7) and Denholm, Logan.
Win-Brown, Chris(4-5) Save-Loar, Connor(4) Loss-Rashi, Taylor(3-4) T-2:46 A-277
HR UCI - Kreuter, Cole (8).
HR UCD - Hooper, Ryan (7).
Weather: Cloudy, 69 degrees, NW 2 mph
Brown, C. faced 1 batter in the 7th.
Wieser, T. faced 2 batters in the 7th.
Anderson faced 2 batters in the 8th.
ABOUT UC DAVIS
Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and animal science programs.
DON'T MISS OUT!
Season tickets for UC Davis softball and baseball are now on sale by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting us online at UCDavisAggies.com.
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