SANTA CLARA — Scott Kalush recorded five RBIs, Eric Johnson went 3-for-5, but Santa Clara took a 9-8 win after relief pitcher David Popkins hit Zach Looney with the bases loaded to allow the winning run to score Sunday in the final game of a weekend tournament.
The Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament was played at Stephen Schott Stadium in Santa Clara.
The Aggies tied the game in the top of the ninth after Seth Batty scored a run, but in the bottom half of the inning, Tom Briner gave up back-to-back singles, then intentionally walked Blake Leyva to bring Looney up to the plate wth the bases loaded and only one out.
Briner was replaced by Popkins and, with his first pitch, Popkins caught Looney on the forearm, allowing the winning run to cross home plate.
UCD drops to 3-12 while Santa Clara improves to 7-9.
Down 3-1 in the top of the fourth, UCD scored three runs to take a 4-3 lead. Popkins and Scott Lyman were hit by pitches in consecutive at-bats and Paul Politi drove Popkins home with a single. Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice as Politi was thrown out at second, and, with one out and two runners on, Kalush picked up an RBI with a hit that scored Lyman.
After Kevin Grove flew out for the second out, Justin Andrade’s single up the middle brought home Johnson.
Scott Heylman scored a run in the top of the fifth, giving UCD a 5-3 lead.
Santa Clara came back in a big way, however, scoring five runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning to go up 8-5.
The Aggies chipped away at the Santa Clara lead, scoring twice in the seventh after Kalush hit a two-RBI double with two outs to score Lyman and Johnson, then hit a long fly ball in the ninth to allow pinch runner Batty to score the tying run.
With the game knotted at eight runs apiece, Popkins was called in to relieve Briner in the bottom of the ninth. Briner was credited with the loss to move to 0-1 on the season while J.R. Graham moves to 1-0 after earning the win.
Johnson went 3-for-5, Kalush was 2-for-3 and drove home five runs and Politi was 1-for-2 with an RBI.
For Santa Clara, Lucas Herbst, Curtis Wagner and Patrick Terry each hit 2-for-4 while Viele was 2-for-5. Herbst knocked in three runs while Wagner and Looney each had two RBIs.
Lyman struck out five in 4.2 innings as the Aggies’ starting pitcher. Briner gave up only one earned run on three hits in 3.1 innings.
UCD resumes action Monday, March 21, when the Aggies host Stanford at Dobbins Stadium at 2:30 p.m. The team follows that with a three-game series against San Jose State March 25-27.