Second baseman Steven Patterson crushed a three-run home run off the Dobbins Stadium scoreboard in the eighth inning and helped turn a slick double play in the ninth as the UC Davis baseball team clinched a Big West Conference series with a 7-4 victory over UC Riverside.
The game was played in front of 1,211 fans on Picnic Day.
The Aggies (14-22, 2-9 Big West) posted seven runs on 11 hits with four errors, while the Highlanders (17-17, 6-5) tallied four runs on nine hits with three errors.
It was the third consecutive win for UCD, which topped Nevada 10-7 on Tuesday and the Highlanders 4-3 on Friday. The Aggies, who won a weekend series for the first time since their season opener, will go for the sweep of UCR at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
UCD starting pitcher Spencer Koopmans (1-5) picked up his first win of the season, allowing two runs (none earned) on four hits and three walks in five innings. Reliever Spencer Henderson gave up one unearned run on three hits and one walk in three innings, while Max Cordy surrendered one run on two hits and a walk in the ninth inning.
“We did not play well defensively behind Koopmans, but he and Harry (Stanwyck) keep us in games and that’s exactly what they’ve done for us these last two days,” UCD head coach Matt Vaughn said. “Henderson came in and did a great job. Then to have a breakout day by Patterson; he’s capable of taking over a game with his bat. I haven’t seen too many balls hit off the scoreboard here. He has been really good lately.”
After going 3-for-5 with three runs and four RBIs, Patterson is on a six-game hitting streak — with 13 hits in that span — including his first career home run with the Aggies. The junior from Stockton is in his first season at UCD after playing two seasons at San Joaquin Delta College.
The Aggies’ last five wins have all been come-from-behind affairs, as UCD rallied from early 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to defeat the Highlanders on Saturday.
The Ags took the lead for good in the fifth inning as center fielder Kevin Barker drew a walk, followed by pinch-hitter Tino Lipson, who singled through the right side to score Patterson. Barker scored on a single by shortstop Adam Young.
UCR scored a run in the top of the eighth to cut UCD’s lead to 4-3, but Patterson soon put the game out of reach.
Right fielder John Williams led off the eighth with a double to left and moved to third when designated hitter Mike Mazzara singled to right center. The Highlanders retired the next two batters before Patterson turned on a 1-0 pitch and blasted it off the scoreboard in right field.
In the ninth inning, UCR catcher Clayton Prestridge led off with a single up the middle but in the next at-bat, Patterson made a diving stop on a grounder to his right before flipping it to Young, who turned the double play. UCD third baseman Paul Politi made a specatacular catch on a foul ball over the wall down the left field line to end the game.
Mazzara also had a three-hit day for the Aggies, while Young was 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs.