DAVIS, Calif. — Senior third baseman Jack Smith's two-strike, three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning Sunday helped the Washington State baseball team come away with a 5-3 victory against UC Davis in the resumption of a nonconference game that was suspended Saturday at Phil Swinney Field.
In the regularly-scheduled game, the Aggies (1-3) jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in beating the Cougars 13-5.
"To go 3-1 for the weekend, it's a pretty optimistic start for us being on the coach," said coach Brian Green, whose team earned its first season-opening series win since 2011. "We can take a lot out of this. Our guys came in pretty confident. We followed an approach that we had put into play for the weekend and we stuck to it. And for the most part we were successful with that."
UC Davis and Washington State was tied at 2 after seven innings in what was the back half of a doubleheader Saturday. The Cougars (3-1) jumped on the Aggies when the game got back underway.
Junior Kyle Manzardo singled to lead off the ninth. Two outs later, senior outfielder Collin Montez walked, setting up Smith's heroics.
UC Davis did rally in the last half of the ninth, as two walks and a single led to a run with no outs. However, sophomore left-hander Ethan Ross was able to get a strike out, a fly out and induced a foul out to end the threat and pick up his first save of the season.
Senior left-hander Michael Newstrom earned his first win with a perfect inning of relief in the eighth. He struck out one.
Smith went 3-for-4, while Manzardo had two hits.
In the series finale, the Aggies scored twice in the first to take the lead. WSU countered with a two-out RBI single by freshman second baseman Kyle Russell. However, UC Davis tallied two runs in the third and three in the fifth to take a commanding 7-1 lead. Sophomore Preston Clifford had a two-out, two-run single in the sixth as the Cougars got to within four, but the Aggies canceled that out with a pair of runs in their half of the inning. Freshman Keith Jones was hit by a pitch in the seventh, stole second and eventually scored on a passed ball that made it 9-4, but UC Davis tallied four runs in its half of the inning to close it out.
Eight different WSU players each had one hit, including Manzardo, whose hitting streak now is at 21 games and extends to the 2019 season.
"He was hammering the ball all weekend," Green said. "He had quality at-bats. He's a pro, he acts like a pro, he works hard, shows up every day and is (a) blue-collar (kind of player)."
Junior right-hander Dakota Hawkins allowed nine hits and seven runs, six earned, in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss. He struck out six.
The Cougars will begin a four-game series at 5:05 p.m. Thursday at Dixie State.
Washington State 000 001 103—5 10 2
UC Davis 101 000 001—3 7 3
Sierra, Moyle (4), Kmetko (7), Kaelber (8), Newstrom (8), Thomas (9), Ross (9) and Togia, Marquez (5), Meyer (8); Carrell, Freeman (5), Weiser (8) and Campagna.
W — Newstrom, L — Weiser. S — Ross.
WSU hits — Smith 3 (HR), Manzardo 2, Russell (3B), Van De Brake, Peterson, Montez, Hill.
UC Davis hits — Evans 2, Smith (2B), Campagna (2B), O'Boy (2B), Brandel, Arenado.
Washington State 010 002 101—5 8 2
UC Davis 202 032 40x—13 16 2
Hawkins, Barison (5), Kmetko (6), Newstrom (7), Thomas (7), Thompson (8) and Meyer, Marquez (8); Meredith, Janowicz (6), Peno (7) and Campagna.
W — Meredith. L — Hawkins.
WSU hits — Jones (2B), Montez (2B), Hill, Manzardo, Swarts, Peterson, Russell, Clifford.
UC Davis hits — Smith 3 (2B, HR), Campagna 3 (2B, HR), Brandel 3 (2B), Griffin 3, Morrison (HR), Evans (2B), Arenado, Iverson.