SACRAMENTO — C.J. Blom knocked in the game-tying run for UC Davis in the top of the ninth to send the game to extra innings, but Sacramento State scored with two outs in the bottom of the 10th to take a 3-2 victory on Monday at John Smith Field in Sacramento.
After a the Causeway Classic rivals split a double-header at Dobbins Stadium on Sunday, the Hornets clinched the series with their home win.
On Monday, Blom pinch hit for Karl Kobler and singled up the middle to score Corbin Cutshaw who had entered the game as a pinch runner for Scott Lyman and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Eric Johnson was able to move Cutshaw to third when he grounded out, and Blom’s single allowed Cutshaw to cross home plate and score the tying run for the Aggies.
In the bottom of the 10th, however, a single from Eli Davis turned into a double when Daniel Cepin dropped the ball, allowing Davis to reach second. Senior righty Tom Briner then entered the game for UCD and struck out the next two batters he faced. But with two outs an uncharacteristic wild pitch from Briner sent Davis to third base, and Kirby Young followed with a single through the gap into right field to win the game for Sacramento State.
In the third one-run decision in as many games, the Hornets took a 1-0 lead in the second inning against Lyman, who started the game on the mound for UCD.
The Aggies tied the game in the fourth, when Johnson reached first on a fielder’s choice, stole second, and advanced to third on a balk by Hornet pitcher Dallas Chadwick. Paul Politi’s RBI groundout brought Johnson home.
Sacramento State, however, took the lead back in the bottom half of the inning, before the Lyman and relief pitcher Nathan Slater combined to retire 11 straight Hornets, four via the strikeout.
Scott Heylman and Lyman led the UCD offense, recording two hits apiece. Lyman went seven innings as the Aggies’ starter, recording four strikeouts and giving up two runs, only one of which was earned.
On Sunday, UCD dropped the first game, 4-3, despite home runs from Lyman and Politi. The Aggie came back to edge the Hornets in the second game, scoring the contest’s only run in the eighth inning to claim victory.
“I’m really happy with the way we pitched in both games and I’m happy with the way we played defense. We didn’t make an error all day,” ninth-year UCD head coach Rex Peters said after Sunday’s games. “You do those two things and you’re going to give yourself a chance to win. We’ll get better at the plate. It’s early in the year and guys are getting used to seeing live pitching and those things, but I’m happy with the way we pitched and played defense and that’s what we have to do to win.”
In the first game, Dayne Quist struck out eight Sac State batters and gave up four runs on seven hits before being relieved by David Popkins.
The second game of the doubleheader was a defensive battle as neither side would relinquish a run. Aggie starter Anthony Kupbens’ got out of a jam in the fifth inning and Scotty Walker did the same in the seventh.
UCD then scored the winning run in the eighth inning, as Cepin led off with a single up the middle. Heylman moved Cepin to second with a sacrifice bunt up the first base line, and Popkins sent Cepin to third with a single to left. Lyman’s hit into right field followed, easily bringing Cepin home.
Briner was called in to close the game out in the ninth for his first save of the year.
Politi led the Aggies offensively on Sunday, going 3-for-8 with the home run. Lyman was 3-for-6 with 3 RBI and a run in the two-game set.
Kupbens recorded six strikeouts in his start.
UCD returns to action today, traveling to San Jose State for a 6 p.m. contest at Municipal Stadium.