SANTA CLARA — Even the four runs that the UC Davis baseball team scored on Thursday would have been enough to win its two previous games.
But just as the offense showed signs of life, the Aggies gave up too many runs and lost their seventh straight contest, 6-4, to Utah in the first game of the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament at Stephen Schott Stadium in Santa Clara.
Down 3-1 in the seventh inning, UCD saw Paul Politi lead off the seventh inning with a base hit to bring Eric Johnson up to the plate. Johnson swung at the very first pitch he saw and cleared the ball over the outfield wall to tie the game at three runs apiece. But the Utes immediately scored two runs and never trailed again.
Politi was 3-for-4 on the day, while Johnson was 2-for-3 to lead the Aggies (2-10) offensively.
Utah (3-6) jumped out to a 2-0 advantage when C.J. Cron hit his own two-run homer to left field in the first inning, but UCD picked up a run in the bottom of the second after Politi and Johnson led off with back-to-back singles. Politi would come around to score on a groundout by Alex Dreyfuss.
The Utes took their 3-1 lead when James Brooks tripled, then came around to score on a passed ball in the top of the third.
After that, the Aggie defense took control of the game, holding Utah to only one hit until the eighth inning. Behind starting pitcher Dayne Quist, UCD retired the side in the fourth, then Quist got out of mini-jams in the fifth and sixth. In the seventh, the Aggies turned a double play before Quist struck out Josh Alexander.
But following Johnson’s home run, the Utes offense woke back up and scored two runs.
UCD picked up another run in the eighth, when David Popkins scored off Politi’s third hit of the game. But once again, Utah answered back with a run in the top of the ninth and held on for the win.
Quist went seven full innings, giving up four runs on four hits and striking out three before being replaced by Ryan Lucas, who was given the loss.
Anthony Kupbens will start for the Aggies on Friday as they continue action at the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament with a game against Milwaukee.