Baseball's 'Battle of the Aggies' Begins Friday

Senior infielder Adam Young is hitting .444 during his four-game hitting streak heading into this weekend against New Mexico State.
 
Senior infielder Adam Young is hitting .444 during his four-game hitting streak heading into this weekend against New Mexico State.
 

March 13, 2014

NEXT UP FOR AGGIES BASEBALL...
New Mexico State (7-9) at UC Davis (8-8)
Dobbins Stadium - Davis, Calif.

Friday, March 14, 2:30 p.m. - Live Audio | Gametracker
Saturday, March 15, Noon - Live Audio | Gametracker
Saturday, March 15, 3 p.m. - Live Audio | Gametracker
Sunday, March 16, Noon - Live Audio | Gametracker

PROJECTED PITCHING MATCH-UPS...
Friday
UC Davis: RHP Harry Stanwyck (1-2, 3.63 ERA)
New Mexico State: LHP Christopher Bradley (0-2, 2.78 ERA)

Saturday (Game 1)
UC Davis: RHP Spencer Koopmans (1-0, 3.32 ERA)
New Mexico State: RHP Billy Conrad (1-1, 5.09 ERA)


 

 

Saturday (Game 2)
UC Davis: RHP Evan Wolf (1-1, 6.04 ERA)
New Mexico State: LHP Robert Kraft (1-1, 3.86 ERA)

Sunday
UC Davis: RHP Max Cordy (1-0, 4.11 ERA)
New Mexico State: RHP Kyle Kilgore (2-1, 7.64 ERA)

FIRST PITCH: Winners of four of its last five, the UC Davis baseball team (8-8 overall) continues its six-game homestand with only its third weekend series of the season, welcoming New Mexico State (7-9) of the Western Athletic Conference to Dobbins Stadium for four games. The series opens on Friday (March 14) at 2:30 p.m. with a single game before the two “Aggies” battle in a Saturday doubleheader (March 15) beginning at Noon. The series concludes with a single game on Sunday (March 16) at Noon.

IN THE POLLS: Neither UC Davis, nor New Mexico State, is ranked among the nation’s top 25 entering this weekend’s games.

YOU “LIKE” US... YOU REALLY “LIKE” US: Fans can keep up with the latest in UC Davis Athletics by “liking” us on Facebook (Facebook.com/UCDavisAggies) and following us on Twitter (@UCDavisAggies). Fans can also “like” the baseball program on Facebook by searching for "UC Davis Baseball" and get the latest from the dugout by following the Aggies’ baseball program on Twitter (@UCDavisBaseball). Gameday in-game updates are also available on Twitter by following us @UCDavisInGame.

I NEED STATS, STAT!: Barring technical difficulties, live statistics , as well as live audio, will also be available for all games this weekend from Dobbins Stadium. Links will be available on the baseball schedule page at UCDavisAggies.com.

SCOUTING NEW MEXICO STATE: The Aggies enter the weekend with a 7-9 overall record and are coming off being swept at Texas Tech last weekend in a four-game series... among common opponents, New Mexico State went 3-1 against Saint Mary’s to open the season (UC Davis is 0-1 with two meetings with the Gaels coming up)... the Aggies were picked to finish second in the Western Athletic Conference in 2014, earning one of the 10 first-place votes and 70 points overall to stand behind preseason favorite CSU Bakersfield (8 first-place votes, 80 points) and just ahead of affiliate member (and Causeway rival) Sacramento State in third-place (1 first-place vote, 68 points)... senior first baseman Kris Koerper (.385-3-19) and sophomore third baseman Derek Umphres (.375-1-8) lead an Aggies’ lineup that is second in the WAC in average (.286) and first in home runs (11)... senior left-hander Christopher Bradley leads all starters on the mound with a 2.78 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 22.2 innings, but is still looking for his first win of the season, starting 0-2... opponents are hitting .305 against the NMSU pitching staff, which sports a 5.67 ERA this season.

SERIES NOTES: This will be the first-ever meeting on the diamond between UC Davis and New Mexico State... UC Davis is 8-14 all-time against its Western Athletic Conference counterparts since making the jump to Division I in 2007-08 -- including a 1-3 mark against conference member Seattle to open the 2014 season... NMSU was a member of the Big West Conference from 1992-00, posting a 68-167 record in conference play during that time.

LAST TIME OUT - UC DAVIS 9, SAN JOSE STATE 5: Senior Steven Patterson had two triples and three RBIs while junior center fielder Kevin Parker rapped out four hits, helping UC Davis battle back from an early deficit to post a 9-5 win over San Jose State on Tuesday afternoon. UC Davis scored all of its run in key rallies during the first, sixth and eighth innings. Patterson hit his triples in the first and eighth, the first of which scored Seth Batty and Adam Young to match San Jose State’s two-run opener, and the latter of which helped crack a 5-5 tie. Barker’s second hit ignited a three-run sixth that erased what had been a 5-2 Spartan lead.

AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING: After a short break, the offense has regained its momentum over the last four games, banging out double-digit hit totals in each game during that span, averaging 12.3 hits per game. The Aggies, who also averaged 14.3 ppg over a three-game stretch from Feb. 21-23, have posted 10-or-more hits in half of their 16 games this season, including a 17-hit attack against Portland on Feb. 23. The performances this past week have improved UC Davis’ team average 24 points to .285 heading into the series against New Mexico State, and entered the week ranked fourth in the Big West in that category.

FUNNY, IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE SWITZERLAND: With its win over Pacific last week at the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament in Santa Clara, the Aggies improved to 4-0 in neutral site games this season. That game, plus the three others at the Gael Invitational in February, are the first neutral site contests for UC Davis since the Aggies faced Utah and Milwaukee at the Gifford Tournament in 2011.

LET’S TURN TWO: A pitcher’s best friend. Three more “twin-killings” for the Aggies this past weekend in the Bay Area brought their season total to 14 double plays turned in 2014, sharing the top spot in the Big West with Cal Poly heading into this week’s contests. Senior Steven Patterson ranks atop the conference charts as part of 12 double plays this season.

“BIG HIT! HAPPY BODY!”: Kevin Barker’s first home run of the season in last week’s tournament opener against Santa Clara gave the Aggies a total of eight round-trippers this season, inching them ever so closer to their entire total from all of 2013, when they slugged a combined 13 home runs. Junior Nick Lynch’s team-high four home runs this season (tied for second in the Big West) are just one shy of last year’s leader, Paul Politi, who had five home runs in 56 games. A sixth home run by Lynch this season would give him the most by a UC Davis slugger since Kyle Mihaylo hit seven for the Aggies in 2010.

YARD WORK: UC Davis’ eight home runs this season rank tied with Cal Poly for second in the Big West entering the week, just one back of league-leading UC Riverside.

TRIPLE YOUR PLEASURE: Patterson’s two triples against the Spartans on Tuesday made him the first Aggie to hit a pair of three-baggers in the same game since teammate John Williams did so on Feb. 20, 2013, also against San Jose State. Williams finished that day 3-for-7 with three extra-base hits, four runs scored, and four RBI, in UC Davis’ 22-4 victory.

PERSISTENT PATTERSON: After having his six-game hitting streak snapped in the tournament opener last weekend against Santa Clara, senior Steven Patterson picked up right where he left off later that night against Pacific, finishing 2-for-4 and starting a new hitting streak that stands at four games heading into this weekend. Patterson is batting .438 (7-for-16) during his new streak with three triples, three walks, and five RBI -- the latter raising his team-best total to 13 RBI on the year.

STONE COLD: It’s been quite a week for true freshman right-hander Zach Stone, who earned his first collegiate victory in relief in Tuesday’s mid-week win over San Jose State to clinch the season series after coming up huge out of the bullpen for the Aggies over the weekend at the Jack Gifford Memorial tournament. Stone threw the final 2.2 innings against the Spartans, allowing just one hit and striking out two, lowering his ERA for the year by almost half a run to 1.59 on the season. That came just days after he allowed just one unearned run on two hits in 2.2 combined innings of relief to post saves in each of the Aggies’ first two wins in tournament play against Santa Clara and Pacific. He has struck out 11 in 11.1 innings of work, holding opponents to a .171 average in a team-high seven appearances.

BARKER BETS YOU CAN’T HIT JUST ONE: Junior outfielder Kevin Barker hasn’t been satisfied with just one hit… he seems to come back for seconds (or thirds). The San Francisco native continued his personal hit parade over the weekend in the Bay Area, finishing the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament hitting .462 (6-for-13) with his first home run of the season and a pair of RBI. He then opened this week with a season-high four hits in the Aggies’ 9-5 win over San Jose State to bring his total to nine multi-hit games on the year -- the most among Aggies in 2014. Barker’s 25 hits are a team-high (and rank among the top five in the Big West entering the week) while heading into this weekend’s series with New Mexico State batting a blistering .417 on the year.

YOUNG AND THE OFFENSIVE: And we mean that in a good way. Senior infielder Adam Young has been swinging a hot bat as of late, carrying a four-game hitting streak into this weekend’s series against New Mexico State -- the second-longest active streak on the team behind only John Williams (5 games). Young has logged multiple hits in every game during that streak, batting .444 (8-for-18) with five runs scored and three RBI, including driving home the game-winning run (sac fly) over Santa Clara and knocking home both the game-tying run and eventual winner with hits against Pacific. He enters the weekend having reached base safely in each of his last seven games (the longest active streak by an Aggie), ranking tied for third with his six multi-hit games in 2014, and has a hit in eight of his 10 starts this season -- including multiple hits in five of his last six games

RUN, ADAM, RUN!: More on Young... the senior has scored at least one run in each of the team’s last six games and his eight runs overall have him tied with teammate Nick Lynch for second on the team behind Seth Batty’s nine scores.

WHERE THERE’S A WILLIAMS, THERE’S A WAY: After opening the season hitless in his first 10 at-bats, outfielder John Williams is in the groove, carrying a team-best five-game hitting streak into the weekend, hitting .333 (5-for-15) with two runs, a double, and three RBI, during that stretch, raising his overall average from .091 to .200 on the year.

STINGY STANWYCK: Senior right-hander Harry Stanwyck came through with a second-straight gem to clinch his first win of the season, allowing just two runs while scattering five hits and striking out a season-high seven batters over 6.2 innings to beat Pacific, 4-3. After surrendering a season-high five runs at Saint Mary’s, Stanwyck has buckled down, posting a 1.98 ERA over his last two “quality starts” (13.2 innings) while holding opponents to just a .156 (7-for-45) average in that span. Overall, Stanwyck’s .173 average against ranks seventh in the Big West.

HITTING FOR THE CYCLE: Well... sort of. With his triple against Pacific last weekend at the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament, Patterson became the second Aggie to “hit for the cycle” overall this season, joining teammate Austin March as the only two UC Davis players to accomplish the feat, thus far. Patterson has two doubles, three triples, and a home run, to go with his 14 singles overall in 2014, while March has one of each extra-base hit variety as part of his 11 hits this season. Close to joining the club are juniors Kevin Barker (four doubles, one home run) and Nick Lynch (one double, four home runs), who each need a triple.

CATCH A “WHIFF” OF THIS: UC Davis’ 78 strikeouts at the plate are the second-fewest in the league this season, trailing only UC Santa Barbara and their 42 strikeouts.

THE “LYNCH”-PIN OF THE OFFENSE: An 0-for-1 performance in, what would turn out to be, the series finale at Washington last weekend, may have snapped junior Nick Lynch’s hitting streak at six games, but the junior is still pouring it on after an 0-for-9 start to the season, batting .354 (17-for-48) over his last 12 contests, with eight runs scored, four home runs, and eight RBI. Thanks, in large part, to those four home runs, Lynch is slugging .556 on the season -- a percentage that ranks seventh in the Big West heading into this weekend’s games.

RECYCLED NOTES
AGGIES AT-A-GLANCE: The Aggies are well-armed to bounce back off a 19-37 season (5-22 in the Big West Conference) in 2013, returning 24 letter winners, six position starters, and their entire starting rotation, off of last year’s squad, while welcoming 10 new faces for the 2014 campaign. The team’s top five hitters return from a season ago, led by All-Big West Second-Team honorees Tino Lipson (.339-0-18) and Steven Patterson (.324-2-33) along with honorable mention selection Nick Lynch (.359-2-28).

LYNCH SLUGS HIS WAY TO WEEKLY BIG WEST HONORS: UC Davis junior infielder Nick Lynch broke out of a slump in the big way, slugging four home runs and powering the Aggies to a 3-1 record en route to Big West Conference Player of the Week honors the league office announced on Feb. 24.

It is the first career honor for Lynch, and the first for an Aggie since teammate Steven Patterson earned player of the week laurels on April 22 of last season. Cal Poly’s Slater Lee was named the conference’s Pitcher of the Week.

A two-time All-Big West Conference honoree, Lynch was the “lynch”-pin of the UC Davis offense after a hitless start to the season, batting .474 (9-for-19) and slugging 1.105 to help the Aggies to tie for the Gael Invitational’s best record, driving home seven runs and scoring six of his own.

The junior unloaded home runs in each of the Aggies’ first three tournament games, including a two-home run game against preseason No. 18 Kansas State on Saturday in a 10-5 win over the Wildcats. He opened the weekend with a solo shot in the opener against host Saint Mary’s, finishing 2-for-4, before following that up with a 2-for-5 outing in an 8-7 win over Portland on Friday, driving home the game-winning run with a first-inning RBI single and adding a two-run home run in the third.

Both of his hits on Saturday left the yard against Kansas State and he wrapped up the tournament with a rather “mundane” 3-for-5 day, as the Pilots were able to keep him in the yard to the tune of three singles, two runs scored, and an RBI, in an 11-2 rout of Portland.

SUMMER LEAGUE SUCCESS: Honing their skills alongside some of the nation’s top collegians, four Aggies saw tremendous success in leagues across the nation this past summer:

• Junior infielder Tino Lipson followed up his Alaska All-Star Game MVP honor in 2012 by being named a Cape Cod League West All-Star in 2013 for the Wareham Gatemen, batting .278 in 25 games with four doubles, 11 runs scored, and five RBIs, while stealing four bases. Lipson had hit .382 in Alaska the year prior with 18 runs scores, six doubles, and 11 RBIs.

• Sophomore catcher Cameron Olson was a Far West Summer League All-Star and first-team All-Horizon Air Summer Series selection for the Humboldt Crabs, hitting .322 in 41 games with 32 runs scored, 11 doubles, eight home runs, and 47 RBIs.

• Sophomore pitcher/infielder Spencer Henderson was a Perfect Game Collegiate League Summer All-Star selection for the Elmira (N.Y.) Pioneers, helping the team to a PGCBL West Division title. Henderson was second on the team with a .329 average, slugging six doubles, and driving home 10, while also going 2-1 with a 3.46 ERA in six appearances on the mound, striking out 18 against only three walks in 26 innings.

• Junior outfielder John Williams was an Alaska Summer Baseball League All-Star, hitting .230 while scoring 13 runs and driving home 15 during the season for the Mat-Su Miners

AGGIE TRIO EARNS PRESEASON LAURELS: Lipson preseason All-Big West first-team infielder, Lynch & Patterson second team infield according to College Sports Madness. A complete Big West list is available here: http://www.collegesportsmadness.com/article/8373.

PRESEASON EXPECTATIONS: UC Davis was picked to finish ninth in the Big West Conference according to a vote of the league’s coaches released on Jan. 30 by the conference office. Defending conference champion, and NCAA Super Regional participant, Cal State Fullerton was picked to win its fifth-straight title, collecting eight of the nine first-place votes and 73 points overall. Cal Poly (68 points), UC Santa Barbara (60), UC Irvine (55 points, 1 first-place vote), Long Beach State (49), Hawaii (33), UC Riverside (27), and Cal State Northridge (25), round out the poll.