Hager Tosses Eight Shutout Innings as Tigers Blank UC Davis
Davis, Calif. - Freshman RHP Michael Hager followed up his seven innings of shutout ball last weekend with eight more shutout frames, as the Tigers won game three over UC Davis, 1-0, Sunday at Dobbins Stadium. Tyler Sullivan drove in the the only run of the game with an RBI groundout in the fifth.
Pacific picked up its first Big West win of the season as Hager scattered eight hits over eight innings while walking none. He fanned a pair of batters and threw 70 of his 94 pitches for strikes.
No Davis runner advanced as far as third base all day, as Hager kept the Aggies off balance and sophomore catcher Jason Taasaas gunned down a pair of would-be base stealers.
Davis RHP Tom Briner threw a complete game in the loss, allowing one earned on four hits while walking three.
Hager allowed a lead-off single in the bottom of the first, but Taasaas cut down 2B Tino Lipson attempting to steal. In the second, Nick Lynch singled to open in the inning, but was also thrown down on a throw from Taasaas.
Redshirt freshman 1B Erik Lockwood singled in the fourth, but was stranded at second base, while Hager coaxed a double play to get out of a two-on, one-out jam in the bottom of the fourth.
Freshman LF Taylor Murphy hammered the first pitch from Briner in the fifth to the wall in right for a leadoff double and then took third as sophomore 2B Curtis Gomez hit a fly to deep right after battling Briner in a 10-pitch at bat. Sullivan pulled a ground ball to second allowing Murphy to score the lone run of the game on an RBI groundout. Senior SS Josh Simms worked a two-out walk, but Briner avoided a big inning by getting a groundout to short to end the inning.
Hager went back to work in the fifth an after a leadoff single, retired seven in a row before a single in the seventh by 1B Eric Johnson. Johnson took second on a pitch in the dirt with one out, but Hager got a soft liner to center and a ground out to end the inning.
The Aggies threatened in the eighth on a one-out single by PH Spencer Brann, but with the pinch-runner going, Lipson's grounder up the middle was gloved by Simms, who stepped on the bag and fired to first for an inning-ending double play.
Pacific left runners on in the eighth and ninth to carry the 1-0 lead into the bottom half of the inning. Senior RHP John Prato Matthews entered to close it out.
He was greeted by a pair of singles to open the inning from LF David Popkins and 3B Paul Politi to set up first and second with no one out. But Prato Matthews fielded the sacrifice bunt attempt from Lynch and fired to third to cut down the lead runner and then blew a high fastball past Johnson for a swinging strike three. CF Brett Morgan ripped a grounder up the middle, but Gomez was playing it perfectly and trotted to the bag for the force play to end the ball game.
Hager improves to 3-2 on the season. In his last two outings, has logged 15 innings without surrendering a run, allowing 11 hits and no walks. He's gone 24 innings (99 batters faced) without issuing a walk. Prato Matthews earned his third save while lowering his ERA to 2.05.
Lockwood finished the day two-for-four and is hitting .425 in his last 80 at bats.
The Tigers improve to 11-24 on the season, 1-5 in the Big West. UC Davis falls to 13-18 overall and 2-4 in the BWC. Pacific will open a three-game Big West series at home against UC Santa Barbara on Friday, at 6 p.m. at Klein Family Field.