Davis, Calif. - A solo home run in the ninth spoiled a shutout for Michael Benson as UC Davis took game one, 1-0, over Pacific baseball Saturday. The Aggies posted a 9-7 win in game two, behind six RBI from DH Nick Lynch.
In game one, the Tigers' freshman righty Michael Benson and UC Davis LHP Dayne Quist engaged in a pitcher's duel, as each went the distance in the Aggies' 1-0 win. Benson and Quist matched zero for zero through eight innings - Quist allowing three hits, while Benson surrendered five. With one out in the ninth, Paul Politi hit a solo shot over the wall in left for the walk-off win for UC Davis.
Benson required 87 pitches to get the first out in the ninth, walking one while scattering five hits. But the sixth hit he allowed just cleared the fence in left for the Aggies' lone run of the game.
Benson pitched around a lead-off double in the first and faced the minimum in the second despite allowing two singles. After a single by RF Kevin Barker, Pacific C Jason Taasaas gunned down Barker trying to steal, and following a two-out single by CF Brett Morgan, Benson picked off Morgan to end the inning.
The freshman then retired 10 of the next 11 before leadoff man 2B Tino Lipson doubled for the second time. Benson retired eight of the next nine to finish eight shutout innings.
The Tigers mustered three this off Quist, who struck out nine with one walk. Senior RF Allen Riley singled but was caught stealing in the second. Junior 3B Dustin Torchio singled up the middle in the seventh, but was stranded at second base. In the eighth, sophomore 2B Curtis Gomez pulled a ball deep into the hole at short, but was called out on a close play at the bag. Senior PH/LF Brett Christopher's bouncer up the middle on the next play was also ruled an out at first base.
In the ninth, senior SS Josh Simms clubbed a double to the wall in deep center, but was cut down at third trying to stretch it into a triple with one out.
Benson (2-5) finished with a line of 8.1 innings pitched, six hits, one earned, a walk and a strikeout. Quist improved to 5-0 with the three-hit, complete game shutout.
The Aggies took game two, 9-7 as Lynch went three for five with three consecutive trips to the plate resulting in two-run hits.
UC Davis scored in the second on a walk to Barker and an RBI single by 1B Eric Johnson off Pacific starter LH P Kyle Crawford (2-5). In the second, the Aggies stretched the lead to 3-0 on a walk, a hit by pitch and a two-run single by Lynch.
Pacific broke through in the fourth, as Taasaas singled and redshirt freshman 1B Erik Lockwood reached on an error. Senior DH Daniel Johnston, freshman 2B Robby Mansfield and freshman CF Tyler Sullivan all delivered consecutive RBI singles. Sullivan's single to right tied the game at 3-3, but the Aggies threw behind the runner to catch Sullivan coming back to first to end the inning.
In the bottom fourth, UC Davis answered back with three runs in their half. C Scott Kalush doubled and after a walk and a hit by pitch loaded the bases, Popkins hammered a pitch to deep left. Christopher made a leaping grab at the wall to deny the grand slam bid, but all three runners advanced as the Aggies took a 4-3 lead. Crawford walked Politi to re-load the bases, and Lynch added a two-run single before RHP Bryce Lombardi was summoned from the bullpen to end the threat.
Trailing 6-3, the Tigers cut into the deficit in the fifth. Simms opened with a single and after a sacrifice bunt, Torchio singled to center to score a run. Lockwood delivered a two-out double to left center to plate Torchio as the Tigers pulled within one, 6-5.
But in the sixth, Lipson reached on error and after a walk, Lynch doubled to left center for another two-run hit as the Aggies led 8-5. Morgan added an RBI single up the middle as UC Davis took the 9-5 lead into the eighth.
Lockwood was hit by pitch to open the Tigers' eighth, and Riley singled to right to set up first and third. PH Tyger Pederson delivered a single to right for one run, with Riley taking third. Freshman PH Taylor Murphy plated Riley with a ground out to first, but Pederson was stranded on third as Harry Stanwyck coaxed a pair of fly outs.
The Tigers put a runner on via infield single by Christopher in the ninth, but the Aggies turned a double-play to end the game as Stanwyck earned his third save.
Johnston went two-for-three with an RBI in game two, while Lockwood collected two hits in three trips with an RBI.
Pacific falls to 10-24 on the season, 0-5 in the Big West, with two losses coming on walk-off home runs. The Aggies improve to 13-17 overall and 2-3 in the Big West.
Game three of the series is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch at Dobbins Stadium in Davis.