ESPN3 broadcast highlights series against defending champs

The Aggies look to keep the celebrations going this weekend, heading to Southern California to take on nationally ranked Cal State Fullerton in their second Big West Conference series of the season. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)
April 6, 2017

ON DECK…
GAMES 23-25: UC Davis (9-13, 2-1) at Cal State Fullerton (18-10, 2-1)
Fri.-Sun., April 7-9, 2017
7 p.m. - 1 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Goodwin Field
Fullerton, Calif.
Game Coverage:
Game 1: Live Stats | ESPN3.com | Tickets
Game 2: Live Stats | Video | Tickets
Game 3: Live Stats | Video | Tickets

ON THE MOUND…
Probable starters for this weekend's series
Friday: LHP Robert Garcia (1-1, 3.86 ERA) at RHP Connor Seabold (2-4, 3.19 ERA)
Saturday: LHP Orlando Razo (3-2, 4.37 ERA) at RHP Gavin Velasquez (3-0, 2.65 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Justin Mullins (0-2, 4.71 ERA) at LHP John Gavin (3-0, 1.63 ERA)

FIRST PITCH: Riding the momentum of three wins in its last four games, the UC Davis baseball team (9-13) returns to Big West Conference play this weekend in Southern California, taking on No. 10 Cal State Fullerton beginning Friday (April 7) at 7 p.m. at Goodwin Field and streamed live on ESPN3.com. Games two and three on Saturday and Sunday are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

IN THE POLLS: Cal State Fullerton is ranked No. 10 according to D1Baseball.com, No. 12 in the nation according to Baseball America, No. 14 by the NCBWA, and No. 16 in the country according to both Collegiate Baseball and USA Today... UC Davis is unranked.

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SCOUTING THE TITANS: The preseson favorite according to a vote of the league’s head coaches, Cal State Fullerton enters the weekend series with an 18-10 overall record and a 2-1 mark in Big West play, opening the week with a 13-2 victory over San Diego to win its third straight... The Titans opened league play by taking 2-of-3 on the road at UC Riverside... Fullerton is 10-3 at home this season, having won its last eight straight at Goodwin Field... Freshman infielder Sahid Valenzuela leads all regulars with a .329 average to go with three doubles and nine RBI... Three others are batting better than .300, including junior Scott Hurst, who leads the team with three home runs, and junior Taylor Bryant, who has driven in a team-high 18... The Titans’ starting rotation, paced by Sunday starter John Gavin’s 3-0 record and 1.63 ERA, has posted a combined 2.54 ERA this season, striking out 100 against only 28 walks.

SERIES NOTES: According to records dating back to the 2005 season, Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with UC Davis, 32-4, sweeping the regular season series in 2016 and winning the last five games... The Aggies’ last win in the series came on April 10, 2015, at Dobbins Stadium in a 3-2 victory... UC Davis will face the Titans in Orange Country for the second straight year, but three of the Aggies’ four wins in the series have come on Fullerton’s home field -- the last in a 3-1 upset of the nation’s No. 18-ranked team on April 4, 2014... UC Davis has lost its last five games in Fullerton... This weekend’s series marks the 10th time that the Aggies will face a nationally ranked Titan squad... All four of UC Davis’ wins have been by two runs or fewer, scoring no more than three runs in each contest... Meanwhile, Fullerton has scored double figures in four of the last five games.

CONFERENCE CALL: UC Davis is a combined 77-145 (.347) in Big West Conference play since joining the league, finishing as high as fifth in the standings in 2012 and posting a program-best 13 conference victories during its inaugural Big West season in 2008.

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.

“HI, MOM!”: Friday’s opener at Cal State Fullerton marks the seventh time in the last four seasons that the Aggies will have a game streamed live on the ESPN3.com platform, posting a 2-4 record in their previous six appearances. UC Davis fell to the Titans, 10-0, in last season’s series opener at Goodwin Field, and last posted a win back on April 17, 2015, when the Aggies upset then-No. 19 UC Irvine, 8-3, in Orange County.

THREE AGGIES MAKE OPENING DAY ROSTERS: Three former UC Davis baseball standouts were among their respective team’s 25-man rosters when the 2017 Major League Baseball season opened on Sunday (April 2). Veteran Major Leaguer Daniel Descalso made his debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks in thrilling fashion, tying the game with an RBI single with two outs in the ninth and, later, coming around to score the game-winning run in walk-off fashion as Arizona defeated San Francisco, 6-5. Joe Biagini, who made his Major League debut with Toronto last season, and Ty Kelly, who also debuted with the New York Mets in 2016, also made the Opening Day rosters, with the former allowing one hit in 1.2 innings of relief against Baltimore on April 3. Elsewhere, Eddie Gamboa, who was acquired by the Texas Rangers in the offseason, will start the year with the Triple-A Round Rock Express, while Max Cordy is in his second season in the Minnesota Twins organization, opening the year with the Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels.

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, Saint Mary’s, Utah Valley, Long Beach State, and Cal State Fullerton, 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.

AGGIE ALUMS COMPETE IN WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: UC Davis baseball alumni Daniel Descalso (2005-07) and Ty Kelly (2008-09) got an early start to their seasons in March, competing in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Kelly helped lead Team Israel to a perfect 3-0 record in pool play and a berth in the second round, where they finished 1-2 with a win over Cuba. Meanwhile, Descalso and Team Italy finished 1-2 in pool play and were eliminated after dropping a tie-breaker to Venezuela, 4-3, but qualified for the 2021 tournament.

AGGIES NINTH 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 year 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).

SHORT HOPS…
• With its win on Tuesday, UC Davis has now won its last three against rival Sacramento State -- its longest since the Aggies won seven straight in the series from March 10, 2007, to April 15, 2008...

• Thanks to Caleb Van Blake’s first career home run on Tuesday against Sacramento State, the Aggies have now hit a home run in each of their last five games -- and six of their last seven overall...

• Van Blake’s home run also gave UC Davis at least one extra base hit in 21 of the team’s 22 games this season...

• With Van Blake’s round-tripper, UC Davis now has 15 in 22 games on the season -- just one off last year’s total of 16 in 53 total games...

• Nine of the team’s 15 home runs this season have been solo shots, five of those leading off an inning...

• Seven different players have slugged home runs this season -- matching the total from each of the last two seasons and the most since hte 2014 squad had eight players leave the yard...

• Senior Cameron Olson also slugged his team-best fourth home run of the season in the series opener against CSUN on March 31, giving him 13 for his career which ranks third on the program’s Division I list -- just one off the record shared by David Popkins (2009-12) and Kyle Mihaylo (2008-10) -- and four shy of breaking onto the all-time career list, moving into a tie with Mihaylo, Sam Viney (1969 & 1971), and Jim Grant (1984-85) for 10th...

• Senior Ignacio Diaz, along with junior teammate Alex Aguiar, have reached base safely in each of the last 12 games -- the longest such stretch since Tanner Bily and Cameron Olson did so in 16 consecutive games last season...

• Sophomore Ryan Anderson’s 12 multi-hit games (all two-hit performances) lead the Aggies and are the most in a single season since both Brad Pluschkell and Logan Denholm finished with 12 each last season...

• With his appearances in each of the team’s last two games, junior right-hander Zach Stone is now the program’s Division I record holder with 70 career appearances on the mound...

• Already the school’s record holder in saves (22), Stone improved to 3-1 with the win in relief against Sacramento State on Tuesday -- the 10th of his career to become the ninth Aggie in the Division I era to reach double-digit victories...

• Olson’s triple on Feb. 25 against Utah Valley give him seven for his career, tying him with Kevin Barker for second on the program’s Division I era list and placing him just one back of Tino Lipson (2011-15) for the career mark...

• Following his five strikeouts on Sunday against CSUN, senior right-hander Justin Mullins moved into seventh place on the school’s Division I era career list with 120, while sophomore Robert Garcia became the ninth pitcher in the D-I era to reach 100 for a career after striking out three Matadors on March 31...

• The UC Davis defense has turned a total of 24 double plays in its first 22 games this season (and has turned at least one in 14 of those contests), ranking fourth in the Big West entering the weekend…

• The 24 doubles plays are also just five shy of the team’s total from all of last season when the Aggies “turned two” 29 times in 53 games...

• Twelve different players have stolen at least one base for the Aggies en route to a total of 28 on the season -- standing second in the Big West entering the weekend behind league-leading Long Beach State (36)...

• Aguiar leads the way with six steals on the season and now has 20 for his career, ranking him sixth on the Division I era career list, just one back of Seth Batty for fifth.