Aggies back to Big West play by hosting Mustangs

Hall of Fame head coach Phil Swimley will be honored with the naming of the field at Dobbins Stadium prior to first pitch on Saturday afternoon.
April 12, 2017

ON DECK...
GAMES 27-29: Cal Poly (13-18, 4-2) at UC Davis (9-17, 2-4)
Thurs.-Sat., April 13-15, 2017
2:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Dobbins Stadium (Thurs. & Sat.), Davis, Calif.
Raley Field (Fri.), West Sacramento, Calif.
Game Coverage:
Game 1: Live Stats | Tickets
Game 2: Live Stats | Tickets
Game 3: Live Stats | Tickets

ON THE MOUND...
Probable starters for this weekend's series
Thursday: RHP Erich Uelmen (1-5, 3.47 ERA) at LHP Robert Garcia (1-2, 4.23 ERA)
Friday: RHP Spencer Howard (2-0, 1.83 ERA) at LHP Orlando Razo (3-2, 4.83 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Bobby Ay (1-3, 3.73 ERA) at RHP Justin Mullins (0-2, 4.93 ERA)

FIRST PITCH: The UC Davis baseball team (9-17 overall, 2-4 in the Big West Conference) looks to get back in the win column with its second home conference series of the season, welcoming Cal Poly to Northern California for a three-game series. The Aggies and Mustangs open on Thursday (April 13) at 2:30 p.m. before the scene shifts to Raley Field -- home of the San Francisco Giants' Triple-A affiliate -- in West Sacramento on Friday night (April 14) at 6 p.m.

The two teams then close on Saturday (April 15) at 1 p.m., following a special on-field ceremony honoring long-time UC Davis Hall of Fame head coach Phil Swimley at 12:45 p.m.

IN THE POLLS: Neither UC Davis, nor Cal Poly, are ranked among the top 25 entering the week.

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 go behind the curtain with the baseball program by "liking" them on Facebook (search for UC Davis Baseball) and following them on Twitter (@UCDavisBaseball).

SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS: Cal Poly enters the weekend with a 13-18 overall record, but a 4-2 mark in Big West play after taking 2-of-3 from both UC Irvine and Hawai'i to start the league slate... The Mustangs have won three straight following a 15-0 shellacking of Santa Clara on Tuesday night, allowing just two hits... Sophomore outfielder Alex McKenna is hitting .354 to pace all regulars, adding six doubles, a pair of home runs, and 19 RBI... Sophomore catcher Nick Meyer is the team leader with 22 RBI, batting .270 on the season... Sophomore right-hander Spencer Howard -- Saturday's scheduled starter -- leads the team with a 1.83 ERA in 10 appearances (five starts), striking out 49 over 39.1 innings and holding opponents to a .200 average... Closer Michael Clark is 4-0 with three saves and a 1.75 ERA, allowing just five earned over 25.2 innings and striking out 22... The staff sports a 3.97 ERA and a .254 average against, while the offense is batting .275.

SERIES NOTES: According to school records that date back to the 1963 season, Cal Poly leads the all-time series with UC Davis by a 31-10 count... The Mustangs took 2-of-3 from the Aggies to close out the 2016 regular season, while UC Davis took 2-of-3 from Cal Poly at home in 2015, winning the final two games in that series to snap a seven-game overall skid... The Mustangs leads the series, 20-7, since the Aggies joined the Division I ranks... Six of UC Davis' seven wins in that stretch have come at home as the Aggies are 6-6 against the Mustangs at Dobbins Stadium in the Division I era.

CONFERENCE CALL: UC Davis is a combined 77-148 (.342) 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 a game at Raley Field for the second time in the stadium's history and the first since 2005 when the Aggies welcomed in reigning NCAA champion Cal State Fullerton for the opener of a three-game series on April 22 -- a 5-1 victory for the Titans. It will be the sixth all-time game for UC Davis at Raley Field as the Aggies have played the role of visitor for four Sacramento State "home games," posting wins in 2001 (12-2) and 2014 (6-3), while falling in 2002 (7-0) and 2015 (7-1).

BLAIS BAFFLES BATS: Junior right-hander Matt Blais etched his name into the program's record book, throwing the 10th one-hitter in the history of the program on Tuesday night (April 12) in a 1-0 loss at Sacramento State, and the first one-hitter since Vince DeCoito against Grand Canyon on March 27, 2004, in a 4-1 Aggie win. Blais struck out a career-high eight batters (two shy of his combined season total to that point) in the contest, posting the first complete game by a UC Davis pitcher since Spencer Koopmans went the full nine innings against UC Irvine on April 17, 2015, in an 8-3 win on the road.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING: The Aggies and Hornets decided their mid-week contest in just one hour and 45 minutes -- the quickest game of the season for UC Davis, the sixth in the Division I era to be complete in less than two outs, and the fastest nine-inning contest since the Aggies needed only 1:43 to post a 1-0 win over Pacific on April 14, 2012.

RUN HOME, JACK: The four home runs in the series at Cal State Fullerton gave the Aggies 19 in 26 games this season -- breaking last year's mark of 16, and posting the most long balls since slugging 22 during the 2012 campaign. UC Davis, which has hit a home run in seven of its last nine games, has hit 20-or-more home runs in a season only two other times, slamming a Division I era record 34 in 2008, and 24 two years later in 2010.

GOING SOLO: Of UC Davis' 19 home runs, 11 have come with the bases empty, while five have led off an inning. However, the Aggies have hit multiple home runs in a game five times this season -- something that had happened only four times in the last years combined.

YARD WORK: Led by four home runs apiece from sophomore Ryan Anderson and senior Cameron Olson, nine different Aggies have accounted for the team's home run total -- the most since the 2011, when UC Davis also had nine players leave the yard at least once.

HIT PARADE: The 15 hits in game two of the series against Cal State Fullerton marked the 10th time in 25 games that the Aggies have reached double digits in that category and are tied for the second-highest single-game total on the year (19 at Creighton on March 26 and 15 vs. CSUN on March 31).

"RED" HOT: Since returning to the lineup for the series at Creighton, sophomore Caleb Van Blake has been one of the Aggies' most consistent hitters, logging a hit in eight of his 11 appearances -- including five multi-hit contest and a career-high tying three hits in game two at Cal State Fullerton.

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 Monday. Kelly was designated for assignment by the Mets after one pinch-hit appearance against Atlanta and has been claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays (as of April 10).

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, and will begin 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...
• Senior Cameron Olson 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...

• 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...

• Junior right-hander Zach Stone is now the program's Division I record holder with 71 career appearances on the mound...

• 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...

• Senior right-hander Justin Mullins moved into seventh place on the school's Division I era career list with 121, while sophomore Robert Garcia became the ninth pitcher in the D-I era to reach 100 for a career (104) after striking out three Matadors on March 31...

• 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.