But, should conference-leading Cal State Fullerton (15-6 in conference) win at least two from Long Beach State (14-7) in their regular-season-ending series beginning Friday at Blair Field, or should Long Beach sweep the Titans, UCI, with three more wins, would finish in a second-place tie, just as it did last season. If Long Beach State wins two against Fullerton, UCI could do no better than third.
The Anteaters overcame more than the Aggies Sunday, as sophomore starting pitcher Bryce Stowell was once again unavailable after suffering from food poisoning.
Stowell did not make his scheduled start Saturday and was unable to answer the bell Sunday, as sophomore left-hander Danny Bibona wound up pitching into the seventh to earn his seventh win in 10 decisions.
Junior designated hitter Brock Bardeen singled in a run in the first and sophomore right fielder Sean Madigan drove in two more with a single to give UCI a lead it never relinquished.
After UC Davis scored a run in the third, senior catcher Aaron Lowenstein singled in a run in the fourth to push the UCI lead to 4-1.
UCI upped the advantage in the seventh, when junior center fielder Ollie Linton, who had walked to start the frame and reached second on Casey Stevenson’s sacrifice bunt, scored on a throwing error by the Davis first baseman.
Bibona, who allowed two runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning in relief to take the loss in Friday’s 3-1 setback, scattered 12 Davis hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out six and walking none.
Sophomore Christian Bergman came on to get the final out of the eighth and sophomore closer Eric Pettis worked a scoreless ninth to earn his 14th save. Only NCAA career saves leader Blair Erickson has more saves in one season in Anteater annals (17 in 2004).
Bardeen and junior third baseman Eric Deragisch were each two for four to lead the ’Eaters six-hit attack. Bardeen also stole a base.
Big West Conference
UC Irvine 5, UC Davis 3
SCORE BY INNINGS
Bibona, Bergman (7), Pettis (9) and Lowenstein; Evans, Fox (7), McChesney (9) and Jefferies. W – Bibona, 7-3. L – Evans, 3-3. Sv – Pettis (14). 2B – Mihaylo (UCD), Scoma (UCD) 2.