April 11, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. - Fresh off a come-from-behind victory over Saint Mary's on Tuesday, the UC Davis baseball team will look to carry its newfound momentum into a three game Big West Conference series this weekend at Long Beach State.
The Aggies (11-19, 0-6 Big West) will meet the Dirtbags (13-8, 3-3) at 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
UC Davis head coach Matt Vaughn will start RHP Harry Stanwyck (3-4, 5.10 ERA) on Friday, RHP Spencer Koopmans (0-4, 5.82) on Saturday and RHP Evan Wolf (1-1, 4.10) in the finale. Long Beach State head coach Troy Buckley will counter with RHP Shane Carle (1-5, 3.33), LHP Jake Stassi (3-1, 2.17) and RHP David Hill (1-2, 5.24).
Long Beach State will offer live stats and an online radio broadcast for all three games. Links for both are accessible on the Dirtbags' schedule HERE.
UC DAVIS BREAKDOWN
Team BA: .287 Team ERA: 5.21 Errors: 58
All-Time Series: The Aggies are 8-7 vs. LBSU in the Div. I era (2008+) and 2-4 on the road.
Recently: The Aggies snapped a seven game losing streak with a wild, 16-15, victory over Saint Mary's at home on Tuesday. UC Davis was swept by then-No. 21 ranked Cal Poly and then-No. 4 Cal State Fullerton in the first two weekends of Big West Conference play.
LONG BEACH STATE BREAKDOWN
Team BA: .254 Team ERA: 4.09 Errors: 40
Friday SP: RHP Shane Carle (1-5, 3.33)
Saturday SP: LHP Jake Stassi (3-1, 2.17)
Sunday SP: RHP David Hill (1-2, 5.24)
Recently: LBSU dropped a series, 2-1, at Pacific last weekend but rebounded with an 11-inning win, 4-3, over San Diego State on Tuesday. LHP Jake Stassi has allowed just nine earned runs in 37.1 IP.
THE LAST SEVEN DAYS
UC Davis was swept at home last weekend by No. 4 ranked Cal State Fullerton, but the Aggies kept it close. Head coach Matt Vaughn's club lost, 3-0, on Friday against Titan ace Thomas Eshelman and 5-2 on Sunday in the series finale. The one that got away was Saturday's game two, when the Aggies blew a 2-1 lead with one out in the ninth and Cal State Fullerton won, 4-2. The Titans' game-winning two-run single was set up by an error, a walk and a wild pitch. The Aggies rebounded with a back-and-forth, 16-15, victory over Saint Mary's at home on Tuesday afternoon. UC Davis overcame deficits of 9-4 in the sixth and 14-10 in the eighth to defeat the Gaels. John Williams, Nick Lynch and Paul Politi all homered on a blustery day at Dobbins Stadium.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
Big West teams are in the third week of conference action. This weekend, in addition to UC Davis traveling to Long Beach State, Hawai'i heads to Cal Poly, Pacific visits UC Riverside, Cal State Northridge travels to UC Irvine and first-place Cal State Fullerton plays host to UC Santa Barbara.
SWINGING THE STICKS
UC Davis ranks No. 4 in the Big West Conference with a .284 team batting average, behind UC Irvine (.296), Cal Poly (.292) and Cal State Fullerton (.287). The Aggies feature four players hitting .300 or better (Nick Lynch, John Williams, Austin Logan and Evan Heptig) plus four more hitting .280 and above. The Aggies are No. 2 in the league with 55 doubles, led by Batty and Politi with a team-high eight doubles each. In the Big West, UC Davis also ranks No. 3 in runs scored (163) and No. 3 in total hits (296).
UC Davis has struck out 143 times this season, the fewest in the Big West. UC Riverside leads the league, with 221 strikeouts. The Aggies feature four of the top-100 hardest batters in the nation to strike out. Steven Patterson strikes out once every 16.8 at-bats, which ranks No. 23 in the nation. Behind the Aggies' second baseman in the rankings are shortstop Tino Lipson (14.0, 48th), third baseman Paul Politi (13.3, 68th) and outfielder John Williams (12.3, 100).
WE RUN THE BAY
UC Davis baseball is 4-0 against Bay Area teams this year. The Aggies have beat San Jose State twice, Stanford once and Saint Mary's once. UC Davis has three more midweek games upcoming against Bay Area schools, including a home-and-away against Santa Clara and a road trip to Saint Mary's. Teams south down the 5 have not been as kind, as the Aggies are 1-8 over three series against Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly.
WILLIAMS ON A TEAR
Outfielder John Williams is on a team-best 10-game hitting streak and has been the Aggies' best offensive player in that stretch. The sophomore is hitting a team-high .386 over the last 10 games, while also pacing the Aggies with 12 RBIs (no other player has more than five in that stretch). Williams had a game to remember in the Aggies' 16-15 victory over Saint Mary's on Tuesdaay afternoon. The Los Gatos native went 4-for-6 with a career-best six RBIs and his first career home run, a three-run blast to left in the sixth inning. Williams leads the Aggies and ranks No. 4 in the Big West with 25 RBIs. He had just eight RBIs in 37 games as a freshman last season.
TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM
UC Davis ranks No. 1 in the Big West and No. 24 in the nation in batters hit by pitches. The Aggies have been plunked 48 times this season.
LAST YEAR VS. LONG BEACH STATE
Last year UC Davis took 2-of-3 at home against Long Beach State, one of four straight Big West series wins for the Aggies to close out the 2012 season. Against the Dirtbags, UC Davis won a thrilling first game, 6-5, posted a shutout, 5-0, in the second game but lost the third game, 4-1. In the opening game of the series, the Aggies coughed up a 4-3 lead in the top of the ninth, as the Dirtbags scored two runs to take a 5-4 lead, but the Aggies responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the ninth to win, 6-5. Kevin Barker hit a game-tying RBI double before then-first baseman Eric Johnson drove in Paul Politi with a walkoff single. In the second game, then-senior starter Tom Briner tossed a six-hit shutout with no walks and one strikeout while Johnson and then-catcher Scott Kalush both homered in a 5-0 win. In the third game, Spencer Koopmans, who will start on Saturday this weekend, allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits in 5.2 innings as Long Beach State rallied to win the finale, 4-1. In the series, Barker hit .400 in the series with two doubles while Craig Lanza tossed 4.1 scoreless innings of three-hit releif. For the Dirtbads, Juan Avila hit .600 while Richard Prigatano had a home run with two RBIs.
FACING POWER ARMS
In UC Davis' first two Big West Conference series against Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton, the Aggies faced five of the Big West's top-6 pitchers in total strikeouts, five of the top-6 in wins, three of the top-4 in ERA, the top-2 in saves and the leader in opponent batting average.
POLITI IN THE RECORD BOOKS
Senior Paul Politi has etched his name in the UC Davis record books, as the third baseman ranks in the top-10 in career hits and doubles. Politi is tied for 10th with 196 career hits and is tied for ninth with 39 career doubles. He is eighth in school history with 654 career at-bats.
FIVE FRESHMEN PITCHERS
UC Davis has used five freshmen pitchers out of the bullpen this season. True freshmen LHP Spencer Henderson, RHP Jordan Lazor, RHP Dan Gallagher and RHP Zach Williams plus redshirt freshman RHP Max Cordy have all seen action. Cordy has shined brightest from that group, with a 3.22 ERA in a team-high 14 appearances with four saves as the Aggies' closer. Opponents are hitting just .167 against the 6-foot-4 genetics major from Sacramento. Williams is third on the staff with 12 appearances. Jordan Lazor made his collegiate debut on March 25 at San Jose State, allowing one run on two hits in two innings of relief. Henderson is a lefty arm out of the pen and a reserve first baseman for the Aggies in the spring but plays tight end in the fall on the football team. Combined, the five freshmen have made 36 appearances.