March 13, 2010

UC Davis Hangs On Despite Santa Clara's Five-Run Ninth

March 13, 2010

Final Stats | Jack Gifford Tournament Central

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - A two-run double by Tommy Medica and Geoff Klein's first homerun of the year were part of a furious ninth-inning rally by Santa Clara who cut a six-run deficit down to one before UC Davis was able to escape with an 8-7 victory.

For most of the night Santa Clara's potent offense was held in check by UC Davis lefty starter Anthony Kupbens, who worked seven strong innings before having to watch from the dugout to see if the bullpen could hang on and deliver him the win.

"That's one of our traits, we never give up," said Santa Clara head coach Mark O'Brien. "That's a trait we take pride in. But we are making the game a little too difficult than it needs to be. We are giving teams way too many opportunities."

UC Davis (9-6) - who improves to 3-0 at this weekend's Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament - had a series of opportune hits Saturday night. Seven two-out hits helped the Aggies build an 8-2 lead prior to SCU's rally in the ninth.

Santa Clara (6-7) used 16 hits to beat Air Force, 8-7 in 10 innings, earlier in the day. However, the Broncos could not get much going against Kupbens (2-2) in the nightcap, grounding into a pair of rally-killing double plays after falling behind by five runs in the first three innings.

Curtis Wagner had four hits and two RBI to pace SCU. Klein and Pat Stover each added three hits and Medica drove in two on his double in the ninth.

Scott Kalush - the younger brother of SCU senior pitcher Steve Kalush - drove in a pair of runs on a two-out single in the third off Bronco starter Alex Rivers (1-2). Kalush would later score on a wild pitch as UCD jumped out in front 6-1.

The Aggies tacked on an unearned run in the eighth on a two-out single by David Popkins. Popkins and Eric Johnson each had three hits for UCD.

Klein hit a no-doubt two-run homer to leftfield after Medica had doubled-in Wagner - part of a five-run ninth inning rally which saw SCU bring the go-ahead run to the plate when Stover followed with a double off Matt Derr. However, with the tying run in scoring position Derr registered two strikeouts to end it.

The Broncos have a quick turnaround, hosting Southern Illinois Sunday at 1 p.m.

"Tomorrow is important for us," said O'Brien. "We have a chance to win Sunday and get one going into finals week for our players."

GAME NOTES: UC Davis is off to a promising start in 2010, considering the team's 13-42 record a year ago... Bronco freshman SS Justin Viele reached base two times Saturday night, upping his on-base percentage to .582.... Rhett Nelson made his collegiate pitching debut for the Broncos, working a flawless ninth... Nelson had an outstanding prep career; leading Timpanagos High School to the Utah Class 5A state title in 2008... The Broncos reached the 10-hit plateau once again, having done so in five-straight and seven of their last nine games... Curtis Wagner was 7-for-11 in the two games Saturday... Geoff Klein homered, doubled and totaled 10 bases on the day... Pat Stover went 5-for-10 with a pair of doubles and five RBI.