UC Davis continues homestand with No. 21 St. John's, Saint Mary's

Feb. 28, 2018

GAME 8-10: No. 23 St. John's (7-0) at UC Davis (2-5)
Fri.-Sun., Mar. 2-4, 2018
2:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Phil Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium
Davis, Calif.
Game Coverage: Live Stats

GAME 11: Saint Mary's (4-3) at UC Davis
Mon., Mar. 5, 2018
2:30 p.m.
Phil Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium
Davis, Calif.
Game Coverage: Live Stats

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format

Friday: Matt Blais (3.46, 1-1) vs. Sean Mooney (0.82, 2-0)
Saturday: Chris Brown (3.86, 1-1) vs. Kevin Magee (0.00, 1-0)
Sunday: Blake Hannah (18.90, 0-1) vs. Michael LoPresti (1.50, 2-0)

DAVIS, Calif. -- For the first time in either program's history, the Aggies and the No. 21 ranked Red Storm of St. John's will meet on the diamond for a three-game series this weekend, beginning on Friday (Mar. 2) at 2:30 p.m at Phil Swimley Field. The series is scheduled to continue on Saturday (Mar. 3) with first pitch at 1 p.m., and end on Sunday (Mar. 4) at 1 p.m. Following Sunday afternoon's game, the Aggies will have a quick turnaround before playing the first of a home-and-home on Monday (Mar. 5) against the Saint Mary's Gaels at 2:30 p.m.

St. John's is ranked the top-25 in three of five national polls, standing as high as No. 21 according to Collegiate Baseball... The Red Storm also ranks No. 22 according to Baseball America and No. 23 according to the NCBWA... Both UC Davis and Saint Mary's are unranked in the polls this week.

The Red Storm (7-0) began their 2018 campaign on the road with a series sweep of Campbell, taking the second game in extra innings by a margin of 1-0 (10)... St. John's then traveled to Boshamer Stadium to face No. 6 South Carolina, taking victory, 5-2... While at the Penn State Tournament hosted at the USA Baseball national training complex in Cary, North Carolina, the Red Storm first took the win over Monmouth (3-0), then UMBC (12-0), and finished off the tournament with an 18-4 win over the Nittany Lions... St. John's offense is let by graduate student Luke Stampfl, who currently carries a .444 average at the plate with one homerun and five RBI tallied so far in 2018... Leading the pitching staff are senior left-hander Kevin Magee, (1-0, 0.00 ERA) who maintains a 0.00 ERA after allowing just five hits and striking out 17 over 12.0 innings of work, while sophomore right-hander Sean Mooney (2-0, 0.82 ERA) has allowed one run on six hits with a team-high 19 strikeouts over 11.0 innings on the mound.

This weekend's series with the Red Storm will mark the first meeting between the two schools in baseball.

After falling, 4-1, in its season opener to the Big West Conference's Long Beach State, Saint Mary's bounced back with a 6-2 win in game two and a 4-1 victory in the finale to take the series... Continuing with the fourth of an eight-game stretch on the road, the Gaels were edged by CSU Bakersfield, 3-2, before taking their second series victory of the season at Arizona State... Sophomore infielder Kevin Milam leads Saint Mary's with a .320 average at the plate, scoring three and posting one double with an on-base percentage of .469... On the mound, junior right-hander Nick Frank (1-1, 1.93 ERA), has allowed three runs on 16 hits while striking out 13 across 14 innings pitched, while left-hander Ken Waldichuk (1-1, 2.13 ERA) has allowed three runs on nine hits while striking out 13 over 12.2 innings of work... Before traveling to Davis, Calif. for Monday's 2:30 p.m. matchup at Dobbins Complex, the Gaels are scheduled to host Xavier for a weekend series on Mar. 2-4.

The Gaels lead the overall record, 45-56-1, while UC Davis holds the advantage for the Division I record (2008-present), 12-8... UC Davis last faced Saint Mary's during the 2017 season, first meeting for a neutral-site game in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 17 when the Gaels took a 6-4 victory, then again on May 2 as the Aggies took a narrow 11-10 victory in the familiar confines of Dobbins Stadium.

After hitting a team-high .833 at the plate in the Aggies' road series victory over CSU Bakersfield, UC Davis senior shortstop Brad Pluschkell was named Big West Conference Field Player of the Week, as announced by the league on Monday (2/19). The conference nod marks the first player of the week award for the Aggies this season and first in Pluschkell's career. The Pleasanton, Calif. native began his 2018 campaign 4-for-4 with two runs scored in the Aggies' 8-1 road victory over CSU Bakersfield, followed by a second 4-for-4 effort in game two as Pluschkell scored one to help the Aggies to a 15-1 win, then wrapped up the series finale 2-for-4 with an on-base percentage of .846 and .917 slugging percentage. In addition to a nod from the conference, Pluschkell was also named Madness Big West Baseball Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.

Freshman right-hander Jared Sasaki made his official debut on the mound in the ninth inning of the Aggies' season-opener against CSU Bakersfield (Feb.16), throwing one inning of hitless, scoreless relief to help UC Davis to its 8-1 victory to jumpstart the 2018 season. Also making his collegiate debut as an Aggie was redshirt freshman Spencer Gedestad, who was 2-for-4 on the night, stepping in as the designated hitter. Freshman right-hander Brett Erwin made his official debut in the Aggies' 15-1 victory over Bakersfield after allowing no runs on three hits across three innings of work, while freshman Tanner Murray is still looking for his first career hit after appearing in games two and three of the series. In the finale, freshman Joseph Myers earned his first career start at third base, while right-handed freshman Ryan Rodriguez pitched the final two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two in the process. Junior transfers Alex Trautner (Cabrillo College) and Joseph Torres (Glendale Community College) both appeared on the mound in the Aggies' home opener against No. 13 Stanford earlier in the week on Feb. 19. Fellow junior transfer Dylan Spezia (Sierra College) recently made his debut on the mound during game two of the Aggies' series against Creighton.

UC Davis looks to rebound off a 2017 season that saw the Aggies finish 21-30 overall and 10-14 in Big West play in 2017. Returning 18 letter winners and five starters in the field from last season's squad, while welcoming nine newcomers and four junior college transfers, the Aggies skew young for the 2018 season. UC Davis brings back two of its top hitters from last year, including All-Big West second team selection Ryan Hooper. The senior outfielder finished second on the team with a .310 average to go along with 30 runs scored, six home runs, and 29 RBI. He stood second only to junior teammate Ryan Anderson, who led the Aggies with a .313 average in 51 games, collecting 14 doubles, six home runs and a team-high 39 RBI, collecting hits in 19 consecutive games at one point to tie the school's Division I record. Fellow returning senior Alex Aguiar started 46 of 50 games last season, posting 14 doubles, scoring 26 runs, and driving in 17. On the mound, UC Davis will look to rebuild its weekend rotation after left-handers Robert Garcia (15th round, Kansas City) and Orlando Razo (16th round, Seattle) were taken in last year's Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft, and right-hander Justin Mullins (4-3, 3.55 ERA) was lost to graduation. Senior right-hander Matt Blais paces the pitching staff this season after finishing 1-3 with a 3.86 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 58.1 innings of work in 2017.

UC Davis is set to play 13 of its games against five teams that advanced to last season's NCAA Tournament, including Big West rival, Cal State Fullerton, who also participated in the College World Series. The Titans went 3-0 to sweep the Stanford Regional as the second seed, then went 2-1 against archrival Long Beach State in the super regional. In the College World Series, Fullerton was edged, 6-5, by the No. 1 seed Oregon State, then lost, 6-4, to Florida State in the elimination game.  

Among the other post-season qualifiers, the Aggies will play three at home against St. John's (No. 3 seed in the Clemson Regional) on Mar. 2-4 as well as a home-and-home with Causeway rival Sacramento State (No. 4 seed in the Stanford Regional) first at home on April 17, then on the road on May 8, and a home-and-home with Stanford (No. 1 seed in the Stanford Regional) as the Aggies open play at Phil Swimley Field on Feb. 19 then at Klein Field on April 10. Sandwiched in-between games against the Hornets, UC Davis will travel to face conference foe Long Beach State (No. 1 seed in the Long Beach Regional) on April 27-29, then turnaround to face Fullerton (No. 2 seed in the Stanford Regional) on May 4-6 at Phil Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium. 

UC Davis baseball head coach Matt Vaughn announced the signing of five high schoolers along with three junior college transfers to National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at UC Davis beginning in the 2019 season. The all-California group includes local talents Jake Jordan (Elk Grove, Calif./Elk Grove HS), Cooper Morrison (El Cerrito, Calif./Albany HS), and Nathan Peng (Saratoga, Calif./Saratoga HS), in addition to Southern California standout Cade Wesolowsky (San Diego, Calif./La Jolla Country Day School) and Bakersfield, Calif. native, Jalen Smith (Stockdale HS). Cooper Morrison (El Cerrito, Calif./Albany HS) is entering his second year at Reedley College, while Justin Smith (Roseville, Calif./Woodcreek HS) is beginning his second year at Yuba College, and Wyatt Tucker (Blue Lake, Calif./Acata HS) will enter his second season at the College of San Mateo.

Aggie fans can stay updated with the latest UC Davis athletics news by "liking" us on Facebook (Facebook.com/UCDavisAggies) and following us on Twitter (@UCDavisAggies). Fans can also keep up with the action with the baseball program by "liking" them on Facebook (search for UC Davis Baseball) and following them on Twitter (@UCDavisBaseball).

According to a vote of the league's coaches, Cal State Fullerton, who finished third in the conference, is picked to stand atop the 2018 league standings after picking up six first-place votes en route to a total of 73 points. Long Beach State earned the second slot with 65 points and two first-place votes, while Cal Poly was selected third with 64 points. UC Santa Barbara was selected fourth (49), followed by CSUN in fifth (48), UC Irvine received the final first-place vote and 43 points, followed by Hawai'i in seventh (27), UC Riverside (26), and UC Davis (10).

Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and animal science programs.

Season tickets for UC Davis men's and women's basketball are now on sale by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting us online at UCDavisAggies.com.

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