Aggies back to Big West play at Cal Poly

April 12, 2018

ON DECK…
GAME 28-30: UC Davis (9-18, 2-4 BWC) at Cal Poly (14-17, 1-5 BWC)
Fri., Apr. 13 - Sun., Apr. 15, 2018
6:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Baggett Stadium
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Game Coverage: Live Stats | Big West TV*

*will be made available to Aggie fans on game day

PROBABLE STARTERS ON THE MOUND… 
Friday: RHP Matt Blais (2-4, 5.91 ERA) vs. Jarred Zill (0-1, 3.00 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Jared Sasaki (2-3, 5.29 ERA) vs. Trent Shelton (1-2, 3.53 ERA)
Sunday: LHP Chris Brown (2-3, 5.40 ERA) vs. Darren Nelson (3-3, 4.12 ERA)

Complete Game Notes

HALF TIME
Last Tuesday’s midweek game at No. 2 Stanford marked the half-way point in the 2018 regular season schedule for UC Davis, with 27 games already in the books and 27 left to be played. Of the remaining games, 12 will be hosted at Swimley Field in Davis, Calif. But before the Aggies return to the familiar confines of Dobbins Stadium, they will face their third Big West opponent of the season, Cal Poly, on the road this weekend, beginning on Friday (Apr. 13) at 6 p.m., continuing on Saturday (Apr. 14) at 6 p.m., with the finale set for 1 p.m on Sunday (Apr. 15).

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

ABOUT CAL POLY
The Mustangs began their 2018 campaign with back-to-back tournament appearances on the road, first at the Surprise Tournament hosted in Surprise, Ariz., then at the Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament in San Diego, Calif… While in Arizona, Cal Poly edged Gonzaga in 10 innings, 8-7, before falling to New Mexico, 3-1, in another 10-inning battle… The Mustangs split their first series of the season taking two of four against Pacific… Nebraska and San Diego State handed Cal Poly its first and second series losses, respectively, before the Mustangs bounced back with a three-game sweep over Dartmouth… Cal Poly kicked off Big West play with a 1-2 finish on the road at CSUN, before enduring a three-game sweep by Cal State Fullerton… Coming off an 11-8 victory over CSU Bakersfield earlier this week, Cal Poly looks to take its first conference victory of the season this weekend… Senior outfielder Colby Barrick paces the Mustangs at the plate with a .344 average, while junior outfielder Alex McKenna carries team-highs in runs (24), hits (40), doubles (9), and slugging percentage (.488)... Junior right-hander Jarred Zill (0-1, 3.00 ERA) has allowed six earned runs on 19 hits while walking seven and striking out 15 over 18 innings on the mound, and is set to start for the Mustangs on Friday… Senior southpaw Trent Shelton (1-2, 3.53 ERA) holds a team-high 39 strikeouts over 35.2 innings of work, and will take the mound on Saturday… Freshman right-hander Darren Nelson (3-3, 4.12 ERA) has thrown 39.1 innings for the Mustangs, starting nine games in as many appearances with opponents slugging a .247 average against… The Mustangs’ pitching staff currently holds a 4.67 ERA with a .278 average against.  

SERIES NOTES
The Mustangs lead the all-time record, 33-11, as well as the Division I record, 22-8… The Aggies hosted Cal Poly exactly one year ago for a weekend series on Apr. 13-15, 2017 when the Mustangs took games one and three by a margin of three runs each, while the Aggies blanked Cal Poly, 3-0, in game two at Raley Field to even the series… The two teams first met on the diamond back in 1963, with a 30-year gap until their next meeting that took place in San Luis Obispo, Calif. in May of 1993.

MURRAY SNAGS BIG WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK ACCOLADES - 4/9
After finishing 5-for-5 at the plate and tying the school record for doubles in a single game during the Aggies’ 10-3 victory over Big West colleague, Hawai’i, freshman infielder Tanner Murray was named Big West Player of the Week as announced by the league on Monday, marking the second such accolade for the Aggies this season and the first in Murray’s career. Murray is the eighth Aggie in the program’s Division I era to collect at least five hits in a game—just one shy of the single game record set by David Popkins at CSU Bakersfield in 2012. He is also the first Aggie to tally three doubles in a single game since Nick Lynch tallied three at Santa Clara in 2015.

Recycled Notes

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PLUSCHKELL NAMED BIG WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK (2/19)
After hitting a team-high .833 at the plate in the Aggies’ road series victory over CSU Bakersfield, UC Davis senior shortstop Brad Pluschkell was named Big West Conference Field Player of the Week, as announced by the league on Monday (2/19). The conference nod marks the first player of the week award for the Aggies this season and first in Pluschkell’s career. The Pleasanton, Calif. native began his 2018 campaign 4-for-4 with two runs scored in the Aggies’ 8-1 road victory over CSU Bakersfield, followed by a second 4-for-4 effort in game two as Pluschkell scored one to help the Aggies to a 15-1 win, then wrapped up the series finale 2-for-4 with an on-base percentage of .846 and .917 slugging percentage. In addition to a nod from the conference, Pluschkell was also named Madness Big West Baseball Player of the Week by College Sports Madness. 

WELCOME TO THE CLUB
Freshman right-hander Jared Sasaki made his official debut on the mound in the ninth inning of the Aggies’ season-opener against CSU Bakersfield (Feb.16), providing UC Davis with one inning of hitless, scoreless relief to help the Aggies to an 8-1 victory to jumpstart the 2018 season. Also making his collegiate debut as an Aggie was redshirt freshman Spencer Gedestad, who was 2-for-4 in the season opener. Freshman right-hander Brett Erwin made his first appearance in the Aggies’ 15-1 victory over Bakersfield after allowing no runs on three hits across three innings of work, while freshman Tanner Murray earned his first career hit during the Aggies’ doubleheader against No. 21 St. John’s before his 10-game hitting streak came to an unfortunate end during the Aggies’ first conference series of the season at UC Riverside. In the finale against the Roadrunners, freshman Joseph Myers earned his first career start at third base, while right-handed freshman Ryan Rodriguez pitched the final two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two in the process. Junior transfers Alex Trautner (Cabrillo College) and Joseph Torres (Glendale Community College) both appeared on the mound in the Aggies’ home opener against No. 13 Stanford earlier in the week on Feb. 19. Fellow junior transfer Dylan Spezia (Sierra College) made his debut on the mound during game two of the Aggies’ series against Creighton.

THE AGGIES AT A GLANCE
UC Davis looks to rebound off a 2017 season that saw the Aggies finish 21-30 overall and 10-14 in Big West play in 2017. Returning 18 letter winners and five starters in the field from last season’s squad, while welcoming nine newcomers and four junior college transfers, the Aggies skew young for the 2018 season. UC Davis brings back two of its top hitters from last year, including All-Big West second team selection Ryan Hooper. The senior outfielder finished second on the team with a .310 average to go along with 30 runs scored, six home runs, and 29 RBI. He stood second only to junior teammate Ryan Anderson, who led the Aggies with a .313 average in 51 games, collecting 14 doubles, six home runs and a team-high 39 RBI, collecting hits in 19 consecutive games at one point to tie the school's Division I record. Fellow returning senior Alex Aguiar started 46 of 50 games last season, posting 14 doubles, scoring 26 runs, and driving in 17. On the mound, UC Davis will look to rebuild its weekend rotation after left-handers Robert Garcia (15th round, Kansas City) and Orlando Razo (16th round, Seattle) were taken in last year's Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft, and right-hander Justin Mullins (4-3, 3.55 ERA) was lost to graduation. Senior right-hander Matt Blais paces the pitching staff this season after finishing 1-3 with a 3.86 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 58.1 innings of work in 2017. 

ALL HANDS ON DECK
UC Davis is set to play 13 of its games against five teams that advanced to last season’s NCAA Tournament, including Big West rival, Cal State Fullerton, who also participated in the College World Series. The Titans went 3-0 to sweep the Stanford Regional as the second seed, then went 2-1 against archrival Long Beach State in the super regional. In the College World Series, Fullerton was edged, 6-5, by the No. 1 seed Oregon State, then lost, 6-4, to Florida State in the elimination game.  

Among the other post-season qualifiers, the Aggies will play three at home against St. John's (No. 3 seed in the Clemson Regional) on Mar. 2-4 as well as a home-and-home with Causeway rival Sacramento State (No. 4 seed in the Stanford Regional) first at home on April 17, then on the road on May 8, and a home-and-home with Stanford (No. 1 seed in the Stanford Regional) as the Aggies open play at Phil Swimley Field on Feb. 19 then at Klein Field on April 10. Sandwiched in-between games against the Hornets, UC Davis will travel to face conference foe Long Beach State (No. 1 seed in the Long Beach Regional) on April 27-29, then turnaround to face Fullerton (No. 2 seed in the Stanford Regional) on May 4-6 at Phil Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium. 

CAL STATE FULLERTON PICKED TO REPEAT IN BIG WEST POLL
According to a vote of the league’s coaches, Cal State Fullerton, who finished third in the conference, is picked to stand atop the 2018 league standings after picking up six first-place votes en route to a total of 73 points. Long Beach State earned the second slot with 65 points and two first-place votes, while Cal Poly was selected third with 64 points. UC Santa Barbara was selected fourth (49), followed by CSUN in fifth (48), UC Irvine received the final first-place vote and 43 points, followed by Hawai’i in seventh (27), UC Riverside (26), and UC Davis (10).

AGGIES WELCOME EIGHT FALL SIGNEES FOR 2019 SEASON
UC Davis baseball head coach Matt Vaughn announced the signing of five high schoolers along with three junior college transfers to National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at UC Davis beginning in the 2019 season. The all-California group includes local talents Jake Jordan (Elk Grove, Calif./Elk Grove HS), Cooper Morrison (El Cerrito, Calif./Albany HS), and Nathan Peng (Saratoga, Calif./Saratoga HS), in addition to Southern California standout Cade Wesolowsky (San Diego, Calif./La Jolla Country Day School) and Bakersfield, Calif. native, Jalen Smith (Stockdale HS). Cooper Morrison (El Cerrito, Calif./Albany HS) is entering his second year at Reedley College, while Justin Smith (Roseville, Calif./Woodcreek HS) is beginning his second year at Yuba College, and Wyatt Tucker (Blue Lake, Calif./Acata HS) will enter his second season at the College of San Mateo.

ABOUT UC DAVIS
Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and animal science programs.

DON'T MISS OUT!
Season tickets for UC Davis softball and baseball are now on sale by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting us online at UCDavisAggies.com.

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