Eric Cavers connected for two doubles in the first two innings and Tyler Cummings threw his fourth complete game of the season to lift No.21 Franklin Pierce to the 5-3 victory over No.9 UC Davis in an elimination game at the 2003 NCAA Division II National Baseball Championships Wednesday in front of 512 at Paterson Field.
With the loss the Aggies conclude their 2003 season with a 36-24 mark in their final year of NCAA Division II play. Franklin Pierce improves to 32-16 on the year and advance to play Tampa on Thursday.
UC Davis got off to a slow start and never recovered as Franklin Pierce jumped on Aggie starter Julio Marquez right from the beginning. Cavers led off the game by drilling the first pitch he saw to left field for a stand-up double. One out later, Cavers came across with the games first run on a Dante Blancarte single up the middle.
The Ravens tacked on four more in the second as they strung together five hits, the big blow a two-run double by Cavers, who would come around to score on a single by Paul McAuliffe, to push the lead to 5-0. That would put an end to Marquez' day as the senior lasted just two innings, allowing all five runs on seven hits.
The Aggies got on the board in the bottom of the third as with two outs, Andrew Reisinger lined an infield single to short. After stealing second, Reisinger came across to score on an RBI single from Matt Kamigawachi. Two pitches later, David Butterworth blasted his 11th home run deep over the fence in right-center, cutting the lead to 5-3. Unfortunately for UC Davis, that would be all the scoring in the game as Cummings shut the Aggies down the rest of the way.
The Raven freshman went the distance, scattering eight eights and allowing three runs while striking out seven. He did not walk a batter and seemed to get stronger as the game went on, facing the minimum 12 batters over the final four innings.
Trevor Thornton came in to start the third inning for Marquez and was Cummings' equal, if not better. The senior from Fairfield went 6.2 innings, allowing six hits but no runs while striking out three. He left the game with two outs in the ninth and men at second and third, giving way to first-game starter Dave McKae. McKae came on to get Dan Close to strike out, ending the inning and keeping the lead at two.
The Aggies could muster no more magic as they went down in order in the ninth, ending their season with just the second trip to Montgomery in school history.
"The bottom line is that we ran into a buzz saw today," said Aggie Head Coach Rex Peters, referring to Cummings. "He kept us off balance all afternoon and you have to tip your hat to him. Hen is then reason they beat us.
"From the start of the season our team goals have been to find a way to get to the postseason, then play well once we get there," Peters continued. "We accomplished the first goal and played our best baseball of the year at the regional. We just couldn't carry that momentum into this week. But there is a reason we are here. We're not an exceptionally talented club as we have to grind everything out to be successful. But we did that all year and that's what I am most proud of, that we did our business on the field."
For the game Butterworth, Kamigawachi and Reisinger each had a pair of hits for the Aggies while McAuliffe, Blancarte and Callahan each had three hits to lead the Ravens.
The 36 wins by the Aggies this year is the most since the 1994 season when UC Davis post a school-record 47 victories.
UC DAVIS BASEBALL
No.21 Franklin Pierce (32-16) 140 000 000 - 5 13 1
No.9 UC Davis (36-24) 003 000 000 - 3 8 0
WP - Tyler Cummings (8-4). LP - Julio Marquez (7-3). UC Davis: Julio Marquez, Trevor Thornton (3), Dave McKae (9) and Andrew Reisinger. FPU: Tyler Cummings and Eric Cavers.
TOP HITTERS: UC Davis: David Butterworth, 2-4, HR, 2RBI; Matt Kamigawachi, 2-4, RBI, Run; Andrew Reisinger, 2-4, Run; Matt Blankenheim, 1-3; Tyler LaTorre, 1-4. FPU: Dante Blancarte, 3-5, RBI; Paul McAuliffe, 3-5, RBI; Mike Callahan, 3-4, 2 2B, Run; Eric Cavers, 2-5, 2 2B, 2 Runs, 2 RBI; Elliott Shea, 1-3, RBI, Run; Mike Chambers, 1-4.