Baseball Hosts No. 4 Cal State Fullerton

The Aggies meet the No. 4 ranked Titans at home this weekend.
 
The Aggies meet the No. 4 ranked Titans at home this weekend.
 

April 3, 2013

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DAVIS, Calif. - The UC Davis baseball team plays host to No. 4 ranked Cal State Fullerton for a three-game Big West Conference series starting Friday afternoon at Dobbins Stadium.

The Aggies (10-16, 0-3 Big West) will meet the Titans (25-4, 3-0) at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday in the finale.

UC Davis head coach Matt Vaughn will throw junior RHP Harry Stanwyck (3-3, 5.70 ERA) on Friday, followed by sophomore RHP Spencer Koopmans (0-4, 6.96) on Saturday and junior RHP Evan Wolf on Sunday (1-0, 3.1). Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook will counter with freshman RHP Thomas Eshelman (6-1, 1.26) on Friday, freshman Justin Garza (6-0, 2.31) on Saturday and sophomore Grahamm Wiest (5-1, 2.78) on Sunday.

Fans can purchase tickets ($5 for bleachers, $8 for chairback seating) at the Dobbins Stadium box office and online or follow along from home via an online radio broadcast and live stats, both available at www.ucdavisaggies.com.

• UC DAVIS BREAKDOWN

Team BA: .287 Team ERA: 5.32 Errors: 45

All-Time Series: The Aggies are 1-14 against CSF in the Div. I era (2008+) and 0-6 at home.

Recently: The Aggies have lost four straight after dropping a three-game series at No. 21 Cal Poly last weekend and falling 6-4 at rival Sacramento State on Tuesday. Excluding a 7-1 defeat against the Mustangs on Saturday, the Aggies lost the other three games by a combined four runs.

• CAL STATE FULLERTON BREAKDOWN

Team BA: .291 Team ERA: 2.61 Errors: 31

Friday SP: RHP Thomas Eshelman (6-1, 1.26)

Saturday SP: RHP Justin Garza (6-0, 2.31)

Sunday SP: RHP Grahamm Wiest (5-1, 2.78)

Recently: Cal State Fullerton is ranked No. 4 in the Baseball America top-25 poll. The Titans swept Pacific at home last weekend in their Big West opening series before posting a 9-6 win at No. 10 UCLA on Tuesday night.

• THE LAST SEVEN DAYS

The Aggies dropped one run games in two of three losses at then-No. 21 ranked Cal Poly and fell, 6-4, at rival Sacramento State on Tuesday afternoon. UC Davis won two games prior, beating San Jose State and Stanford on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, last week. Outfielder Seth Batty is 6-for-11 with four doubles in the last four games while catcher Spencer Brann and shortstop Tino Lipson are both hitting better than .400 in that stretch. Reliever Craig Lanza made three scoreless appearances (3.2 IP) in the last four games while Robert Parucha made two scoreless appearances (1.2 IP). The Aggies have been charged with six errors during their losing streak.

• AROUND THE BIG WEST

Big West teams are in the second week of conference action. This weekend, in addition to UC Davis hosting Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly will visit rival UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside heads to Cal State Northidge, Long Beach State heads to Pacific and Hawai'i comes to the mainland to meet UC Irvine.

• SWINGING THE STICKS

UC Davis ranks No. 4 in the Big West Conference with a .287 team batting average, behind Cal Poly (.299), UC Irvine (.296) and Cal State Fullerton (.291). The Aggies feature four players hitting .300 or better (Nick Lynch, Spencer Brann, Steven Patterson, Cameron Olson) and four more hitting .290 or above (Seth Batty, Mike Mazzara, John Williams, Austin Logan). The Aggies are No. 2 in the league with 46 doubles, led by Batty and Politi with a team-high seven doubles each. 

• THE 10-HIT MARK

UC Davis has eclipsed the 10-hit mark in 13 games this season. The Aggies started out hot, posting 10+ hits in seven of their first nine games but went cold in the next five games. Lately the bats have come back around, as UC Davis has recorded 10+ hits in six of the last 12 games. Even in UC Davis' current four game losing streak, the Aggies have averaged 9.25 hits per game. The Aggies' season-high is 23 hits in a 22-4 victory over visiting San Jose State on Feb. 20. UC Davis had 11 more hits in a March 25 9-2 road win against the Spartans.

• FACING POWER ARMS

Including last weekend's series against Cal Poly and this weekend's set versus Cal State Fullerton, the Aggies will face five of the Big West's top-6 pitchers in total strikeouts, the top four in ERA and the top three in opponent batting average. Cal State Fullerton Friday starter, freshman Thomas Eshelman, ranks No. 2 in ERA (1.26) and No. 1 in opponent batting average (.161.). Eshelman has yet to issue a walk in 50.0 innings pitched.

• LAST YEAR VS. CAL STATE FULLERTON

Last year UC Davis was swept in a three-game series at No. 17 ranked Cal State Fullerton. The Aggies lost back-to-back 5-4 games to open the series before falling, 11-0, in the finale. In the first game, UC Davis had a 4-2 lead before the Titans scored three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning. In game two, UC Davis once again held a late lead, 4-2 in the 9th inning, but Cal State Fullerton scored three runs in the bottom of the 9th, including an Anthony Hutting walkoff single to left off UC Davis starter Anthony Kupbens, who had allowed just two runs on four hits in the previous eight innings. The Aggies posted nine hits in the third game, but did not score in a shutout loss. David Popkins hit a team-high .556 in the series while Spencer Brann and Kevin Barker each hit .375. Ben Burke and Craig Lanza made scoreless relief appearances. Hutting hit a team-high .667 for the Titans while Matt Chapman paced the offense with four RBIs. Michael Lorenzen hit .500 with two doubles and posted a save after one perfect inning of relief. Five of the seven Cal State Fullerton pitchers to see action in the series did not allow a run. Grahamm Wiest, who will start on Sunday this weekend, earned a win last year after allowing just four hits in six scoreless innings with no strikeouts and one walk in a combined shutout.

• AGAINST NATIONALLY RANKED FOES

UC Davis is 15-47 against top-25 teams since becoming an official member of the Div. I ranks in 2008 (the Aggies spent four seasons prior reclassifying from Div. II). Since 2008, the Aggies are 8-35 on the road against ranked teams, but a respectable 7-15 at home. The Aggies are 0-3 versus top-25 teams this year, after being swept at No. 21 ranked Cal Poly last weekend. 

• BRANN'S GOING STREAKING

Catcher Spencer Brann has reached base safely in 13 straight games, the longest for the Aggies this season. Starting on Feb. 25 versus Utah, Brann has a hit in 11 games and drew at least one walk in the two other games during his streak. He has two seperate five-game hitting streaks during his 13 game on-base streak. In 18 total games this season, Brann has reached in 15 of them and failed to record a hit in just five games. Right fielder John Williams has the Aggies' longest active hitting streak, at six games.

• LYNCH AND POLITI BACK AT IT

Both Nick Lynch and Paul Politi were second team all-Big West selections last season and the duo is playing at a high level once again this year. Lynch ranks No. 7 in the Big West with a team-high .360 batting average while Politi is slugging .413, behind only Lynch on the roster, with a team-best 21 runs scored. Politi also leads the Aggies with 19 RBIs. He could move into the Aggie's all-time top-10 in both hits and doubles this weekend. (Records on page 5) 

• FIVE FRESHMEN ARMS

UC Davis has used five freshmen pitchers out of the bullpen this season. True freshmen Spencer Henderson, Jordan Lazor, Dan Gallagher and Zach Williams plus redshirt freshman Max Cordy have all seen action. Cordy has shined brightest from that group, with a 2.89 ERA in a team-high 12 appearances with three saves as the Aggies' primary closer. Opponents are hitting just .145 against the 6-foot-4 genetics major from Sacramento, Calif. Williams is third on the staff with 11 appearances. Jordan Lazor made his collegiate debut last Monday at San Jose State, allowing one run on two hits in two innings of relief. Henderson is a lefty arm out of the pen for the Aggies in the spring but plays tight end in the fall on the football team. Combined, the five freshmen have made 44 appearances.