The UC Davis baseballers have been knocking the ball around a little bit — recently taking two of three games from visiting Long Beach State after almost beating Stanford.
Scoring 28 runs in their last five games has been a confidence-builder.
But Tuesday, in a nonleague contest between the home-standing Aggies and Sacramento State, even seven runs left the locals far behind as the Hornets exposed the inexperienced far reaches of the UCD bullpen.
In a 15-7 victory, Sac State used a 19-hit attack at Dobbins Field before a sun-drenched crowd pushing 450 fans.
Six hurlers — most struggling or little-used — were employed by the Aggies, who at one point trailed, 13-2.
The loss puts UCD at 16-17 while the Hornets stand at 22-14.
“It was always going to be a day where we were going to be using some new pitching,” Aggie skipper Matt Vaughn told The Enterprise. “We’re young at the end of our bullpen: three freshmen who have been throwing quite a bit … and we have a short week this week.”
Even though Sacramento State is viewed as a rivalry and a must-have outing, UCD has bigger fish to fry in a Big West Conference series Thursday, Friday and Saturday at UC Riverside (no Sunday baseball in observance of Easter).
“We needed some guys who have not been getting innings to step up — and they did not,” added Vaughn, who was asked what his team took away from this mid-week loss …
Max Cordy, a strapping 6-foot-4 right-handed McClatchy High graduate, got the start and held the Hornets to three runs over three frames. Cordy was the pitcher of record for UCD.
Handing the ball to Robert Parucha after Cordy (1-3) walked the first batter of the fourth inning, Vaughn watched as Kyle Moses’ two-run double fueled a seven-run Sac State outburst. The Hornets collected four hits and three walks as L.A. Harbor College transfer Parucha (5.49 ERA coming in) allowed four runs while getting but one out.
Connor Detko — another JC product from Santa Barbara City — came in to see his first action of the spring. All things considered, in 2 2/3 innings of relief, Detko’s line was a little breather for the Aggies: six hits, no walks, two earned runs.
No one escaped Hornet thunder this day …
Former Jesuit slugging first baseman Rhys Hoskins — the Big Sky Conference’s leading hitter at .363 — blasted a three-run homer off of UCD lefty Spencer Henderson in the seventh. The circuit clout came after reliever Zach Williams walked two of the three batters he faced.
There was some solace for Aggie fans in the bottom of the seventh.
Sacramento State freshman Sterling Humphry, after pitching a scoreless sixth, coughed up a grand slam home run to outfielder Brian Ruhm.
It was the freshman from Yucaipa High’s first home run and snapped him out of a slump that saw Ruhm hitting .130 after 23 at-bats. Ruhm had replaced Seth Batty in the lineup in the top of the inning.
Ruhm’s grounder in the ninth drove in another run as the left-handed-hitting freshman left a curious line in the scorebook: 1-for-1 with five RBIs.
Will Soto, a senior from Elk Grove High, added the last two Hornet runs with a two-run, ninth-inning dinger to right.
UCD, picked by many to finish last in conference, stands in seventh at 3-6 in the Big West. Sitting behind UC Santa Barbara (4-5), UCR, Long Beach and No. 18 Cal State Fullerton (all 3-3), a sweep of the Highlanders would do wonders for Aggie stock.
Vaughn said his charges hadn’t surprised him to this point:
“They’re fighting, staying in it. We’ve had some tough ones and managed to bounce back pretty well. I’m proud of that. And now we’ll have to do it again after this game.”
Notes: Aggie infielder Adam Young went 3-for-6 and is now hitting .383. UCD’s Tanner Bily scored three times, going 1-for-2 with three walks. Evan Heptig reached base three times (2-for-4) and scored. … Soto, known well to Davis High fans, drove in four runs for the Hornets. Moses went 4-for-5 and scored four times, while Hoskins (also no stranger to Blue Devil fans) was 2-for-5 with the round-tripper and two runs scored. Reliever Julian Barron (another Jesuit product) picked up the win. He’s 1-1. … Dating back to 1961, Sacramento State leads the all-time series, 106-79-4. The Hornets have won the last eight encounters. … Cal Poly (31-5) is ranked No. 3 nationally and is tied with UC Irvine (24-11) at 8-1 atop the Big West. The Anteaters come to town April 25-27. … Second baseman Steven Patterson was hit in the leg by a pitch in the sixth and came out of the game. Initial reports are he’ll be OK for Riverside.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-32-4456.