Aggies host Tigers in mid-week home opener

Senior Mason Novak joined teammate Jacob Thomas with a three-hit game during opening weekend, batting .571 with three runs scored and a pair of RBI in Las Vegas. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)
Feb. 21, 2017

ON DECK…
GAME 3: Pacific (1-2) at UC Davis (1-1)
Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017
2:00 p.m.
Dobbins Stadium
Davis, Calif.
Game Coverage: Live Stats

PLAY BALL!: Fresh off its first victory of the season, the UC Davis baseball team (1-1) opens the home portion of its 2017 schedule with a mid-week clash at Dobbins Stadium, welcoming former conference rival Pacific for a single game on Tuesday (Feb. 21) at 2 p.m. It's the start of a four-game home stand for the Aggies that continues with a three-game weekend series against Utah Valley beginning Friday (Feb. 24).

IN THE POLLS: Neither UC Davis, nor Pacific, are ranked among the national polls this week.

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ABOUT PACIFIC: The Tigers opened their 2017 campaign by taking one of three games on the road at San Diego State, posting a 5-1 win in game two of the series after suffering an, 11-5, loss in the opener and dropping the finale, 11-0… Freshman James Free II led Pacific with four hits during the opening weekend, slugging a double in driving in two, while junior Lucas Halstead had a pair of doubles and drove in three against the Aztecs… Pacific's pitching staff surrendered 35 hits and a .340 average to SDSU's hitters over the weekend… A starter has not yet been named for Tuesday's contest at UC Davis.

SERIES NOTES: According to game-by-game records that date back to the 1960 season, the series between UC Davis and Pacific is even at 49-49-1, with the Aggies holding a, 16-9, edge in the series since joining the Division I ranks in 2008… UC Davis enters Tuesday's contest having won the last eight consecutive meetings in the series with the Tigers -- the longest winning streak by either side in the history of the series… The Aggies have swept a three-game series with Pacific in each of the last two years, including wins of 9-4 and 9-5 at Dobbins Stadium, and a 7-4 victory at Klein Family Field, last season… The Tigers' last win in the series came on May 11, 2013, in a 5-4 victory in Stockton -- the middle game of a three-game Big West Conference series won by the Aggies… Since 2011, UC Davis has won 13 of 16 meetings, including five of the last six at home… The Aggies haven't lost to Pacific at Dobbins since a 1-0 loss in the series finale on April 15, 2012… UC Davis is 21-18-1 all-time at home against the Tigers, with the sites of 13 games unknown from 1960-66.

HOME OPENERS: The Aggies are 4-5 all-time in home openers at the Division I level, last posting a win on Feb. 17, 2015, against Santa Clara. Tuesday's game marks the latest home opener since UC Davis opened at Dobbins against San Francisco on Feb. 24, 2009.

THOMAS NAMED BIG WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK: A pair of three-hit games in the Aggies' opening weekend at the UNLV Classic lifted senior infielder Jacob Thomas to Big West Conference Player of the Week honors on Feb. 20 -- the first such honor for the Stockton, Calif., native and the first for a UC Davis player since Austin March on April 27, 2015. Thomas, who hit .667 and slugged 1.333 in a weekend split with three doubles and his first career home run as an Aggie, became only the 11th different UC Davis player to earn Big West player of the week honors since the program's Division I debut in 2008.

ALL-TIME UC DAVIS BIG WEST PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Jake Jefferies - 4/14/08
Kyle Mihaylo - 5/5/08
David Popkins - 5/24/10
Scott Heylman - 4/11/11
Scott Kalush - 5/2/11
Eric Johnson - 5/14/12
Steven Patterson - 4/22/13
Nick Lynch - 2/24/14, 3/16/15
Izaak Silva - 3/30/15
Austin March - 4/27/15
Jacob Thomas - 2/20/17

YARD WORK: Thomas wasn't the only one to leave the yard over the weekend in Las Vegas, as sophomore Ryan Anderson and junior Ryan Hooper also slugged their firsts of the season against Saint Mary's and UNLV, respectively. For Anderson, it was the third of his career and his first since March 24 of last season against Air Force, while Hooper blasted the second of his career and his first since a round-tripper at Cal State Fullerton on April 17 of last season.

THE LONG ROAD BACK: When junior left-hander Orlando Razo took the ball for Sunday's first pitch against UNLV, it signaled the end of a long journey back from an injury that had kept the San Mateo, Calif., native sidelined for the better part of the last two seasons. After posting a team-best 1.34 ERA in 19 relief appearances as a true freshman in 2014, Razo was off to a strong start as a sophomore -- his first as a starter -- posting a 4-2 record with a 3.27 ERA before going down with an arm injury after only 1.2 innings in a road contest at Hawai'i on April 3, 2015. He returned to the mound against the Rebels on Sunday, allowing three runs on seven hits over six innings of work to earn his first win since a 4-3 victory over Fresno State on March 14, 2015, when he struck out six without a walk, allowing just two runs over 7.1 innings on the road.

GUESS WHO'S BACK: Also missing a good portion of the 2016 season was junior right-hander Zach Stone, who suffered an injury prior to his scheduled start against No. 20 Michigan and never returned to the mound last year, came out firing on all cylinders in the Aggies' win over UNLV on Sunday, nailing down the victory by scattering just three hits over two shutout innings. A two-time All-Big West selection who has earned a spot on the watch list for the NCBWA's "Stopper of the Year" Award as a freshman and sophomore, Stone set the UC Davis career record for saves with his 22nd on May 8, 2015, by finishing off a 5-3 win over CSUN.

WELCOME TO THE CLUB: Freshman Alejandro Lara became the first of 10 newcomers of the 2017 UC Davis roster to make his Division I debut, starting at third base in Sunday's win over UNLV, but still looking for the first hit of his young career after finishing 0-for-2. Lara, a Fairfield, Calif., native, was a three-time Solano County Athletic Conference MVP and first team all-league selection, who hit .425 with 27 runs scored, 28 RBI, and 10 stolen bases, while posting a .529 on-base percentage as a senior at Vanden HS.

AGGIES INVADE RALEY FIELD: UC Davis will host Big West Conference rival Cal Poly at Raley Field -- home of the San Francisco Giants' Triple-A affiliate Sacramento River Cats -- in the second game of their three-game series on April 14. After having played the role of the visiting team four times in Causeway rivalry games against Sacramento State at Raley Field, the Aggies will host a game at the ballpark for the first time since 2005, when they welcomed reigning NCAA champion Cal State Fullerton for the opener of a three-game series against the Titans. More information on that game, including season ticket information and details on a special weekend pass for the Cal Poly series that will feature the naming of the playing surface at Dobbins Stadium in honor of Hall of Fame head coach Phil Swimley, is available here: http://www.ucdavisaggies.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/012717aaa.html.

QUICK HITS…
-- Nearly half of UC Davis' 19 hits thus far this season have gone for extra bases as the Aggies have slugged five doubles and three home runs through their first two games of the year.

-- The 10 hits against Saint Mary's in the season opener on Feb. 17 were the most for UC Davis in an opener since the Aggies collected 13 in a win at Texas State on Feb. 13, 2015

-- UC Davis' defense "turned two" three times in the win over UNLV on Feb. 19 -- the most double plays turned in a single game since the Aggies did so three times against San Francisco on March 1 of last season

RECYCLED NOTES
A QUICK LOOK AT THE AGGIES: UC Davis looks to rebound off a 2016 season that saw the Aggies finish 17-36 overall and 5-19 in Big West play, returning 23 letter winners and seven position starters off of last season's squad, while welcoming 10 new faces (three junior college transfers) and a pair of returning redshirts to the fold. UC Davis brings back three of its top four hitters from last season, paced by senior outfielder Mark Cardinalli, who hit a team-best .333 while battling through injury, and the duo of sophomore catcher Logan Denholm and senior infielder Cameron Olson, who combined for nine home runs and 55 RBI. On the mound, sophomore left-hander Robert Garcia will begin the season as UC Davis' Friday night starter after finishing 3-5 with a 2.73 ERA in his first year with the Aggies. UC Davis also regains the services of left-hander Orlando Razo, who missed the better part of the last two years due to injury, but posting a 4-2 record with a 3.27 ERA in seven starts back in 2015 before being sidelined. Senior right-hander Justin Mullins, who started 11 games last season, rounds out the rotation after finishing 2-4 with a 4.79 ERA and 62 strikeouts against only 13 walks.

AGGIES WELCOME FOUR FALL SIGNEES: UC Davis baseball signed four players during the most recent fall signing period, adding pitchers Ryan Rodriguez (6-0, 165, RHP, Upland, Calif./Upland HS) and Brock Moffit (6-0, 190, LHP, Valley Center, Calif./Valley Center HS), along with infielders Kyler Arenado (5-10, 170, SS, Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison HS) and Joey Myers (6-0, 175, SS, Mission Viejo, Calif./Rancho Santa Margarita HS), for the 2018 season.

TO BE THE BEST…: UC Davis' 2017 schedule features a total of 17 games against six teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a season ago -- three of those teams in the always-difficult Big West Conference -- and three conference regular season or tournament champions. UConn (date), Saint Mary's (date), Utah Valley (Dates), Long Beach State (dates), and Cal State Fullerton (dates), all earned NCAA regional berths, while conference rival UC Santa Barbara won the Nashville Regional, the Louisville Super Regional, and finished 1-2 at the College World Series in Omaha.

SUMMER LEAGUE SUCCESS: A pair of current Aggies capped off their summer seasons with All-Star honors, as junior right-hander Blake Peters was named a California Collegiate League All-Star with the Neptune Beach Pearl, while junior outfielder Ryan Hooper was named a starter in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League's All-Star Classic with the Glens Falls Dragons. Hooper hit .318 with 33 runs scored, 11 doubles, a pair of home runs, and 19 RBI, while Peters finished 4-0 in 14 relief appearances without allowing a run over 18.2 innings of work and striking out 14 while racking up seven saves.

AGGIE ALUMS TO PLAY IN WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: UC Davis baseball alumni Daniel Descalso (2005-07) and Ty Kelly (2008-09) will compete in the 2017 World Baseball Classic as final rosters for the 16 competing countries were announced on Feb. 9. Descalso will represent Team Italy, while Kelly will play for Team Israel, when the tournament opens on March 6 with games in South Korea, Japan, the United States, and Mexico. For more information, check out the complete story at: http://www.ucdavisaggies.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/020917aab.html.

CAL STATE FULLERTON PICKED TO REPEAT IN BIG WEST POLL: According to a vote of the league's coaches, defending Big West champion Cal State Fullerton is picked to repeat atop the league standings, picking up eight first-place votes en route to a total of 75 points. Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara -- a pair of NCAA Tournament teams a season ago -- were tied for second with 65 points apiece, while Cal Poly was selected fourth with 55 points. UC Irvine, which collected the final first-place vote and 48 points, was selected fifth, followed by CSUN (33), UC Riverside (27), Hawai'i (23), and UC Davis (13).