Sophomore pitcher Evan Wolf took a no-hitter into the seventh inning to lead UC Davis to victory over San Francisco in his first collegiate win.
The Aggie bats picked up 12 hits to support Wolf’s outing, with four different players recording two hits apiece. UC Davis put five runs on the board, and Wolf’s stellar pitching held the Dons’ bats at bay.
With the 5-2 victory, UC Davis improves to 15-20 overall.
“The team put it on themselves to be better in midweek games and on Sundays and for [Wolf] to come out and respond to that for his first collegiate win is pretty special,” said head coach Matt Vaughn.
Wolf, making his fourth start of the season, gave UC Davis the big midweek performance it has been looking for.
The Clovis, Calif. native retired the first six batters he faced before giving up a leadoff walk in the third inning. Wolf then put down the next seven Dons before hitting a batter with one out in the fifth inning.
Wolf issued his second walk of the game in the bottom of the seventh, then induced a foul out before San Francisco’s Matt Chavez doubled off the wall in right center field for the Dons’ first hit of the game.
“Evan’s had a couple of outings like this,” Vaughn said. “He had a great start at Arizona and another great midweek start earlier in the year, but one or two things went wrong and it snowballed a little bit. To go into the seventh with no hits is pretty spectacular.”
Wolf struck out his third batter of the game before giving up a two RBI single that ended his outing. Freshman Spencer Koopmans relieved Wolf and recorded the final out of the seventh.
The UC Davis offense supported Wolf with an early 2-0 lead. Senior David Popkins doubled with one out in the first inning and junior Paul Politi singled up the middle to knock Popkins home. Politi moved to second base on a passed ball and came around to score on sophomore Nick Lynch’s single.
Popkins led off the top of the third with his team-leading fifth home run of the season over the right field wall.
With the score 3-2 in the eighth, Politi led off the inning with a double and scored on a single from senior Eric Johnson with two outs. The Aggie rally continued with a bunt single from senior Brett Morgan and a pinch-hit RBI single from sophomore Spencer Brann.
“I’m very happy that we competed,” Vaughn said. “We’ll score two or three runs early in the game, but then not score again. [Today] we were able to put up another two runs with some timely hits later in the game. We needed all of that. It shows you that if you throw strikes and compete, you can win ballgames.”
Sophomore Harry Stanwyck pitched the final two innings for UC Davis, giving up one hit while striking out two for his fourth save of the season.
The Aggies didn’t commit an error for the second straight game.
UC Davis continues its eight-game road trip with a weekend match up at UC Santa Barbara.
The Gauchos are currently in third place in the Big West, so UC Davis will hope to carry the momentum from its midweek victory and gain ground in the conference.
This week, the College Baseball Hall of Fame announced its Pitcher of the Year Watch List, and UC Davis senior southpaw Dayne Quist (6-0 1.94 earned-run average, 75 strikeouts, nine walks) has been deservedly recognized as a candidate. The Aggies will meet another player from the list this weekend, UC Santa Barbara’s freshman starter Andrew Vasquez.
UC Davis will look to keep Quist perfect in the series opener. The first pitch at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium is on Friday at 3 p.m.
RUSSELL EISENMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.