ESPN3 Games on Deck as Aggies Head to UCR

Junior Nick Lynch leads the team with eight doubles and 21 RBI heading into the weekend against UC Riverside.
 
Junior Nick Lynch leads the team with eight doubles and 21 RBI heading into the weekend against UC Riverside.
 

April 16, 2014

THIS WEEK IN AGGIES BASEBALL…
UC Davis (16-17, 3-6) at UC Riverside (14-18, 3-3)
Riverside Sports Complex - Riverside, Calif.
Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. - Live Stats | UCR Audio
Friday, April 18, 6 p.m. - Live Stats | ESPN3.com
Saturday, April 19, 1 p.m. - Live Stats | ESPN3.com

PROJECTED PITCHING MATCH-UPS…
Thursday: RHP Harry Stanwyck (2-4, 5.04 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Smigelski (4-4, 3.07 ERA)
Friday: RHP Spencer Koopmans (3-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. RHP Zach Varela (4-2, 2.92 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Evan Wolf (3-3, 5.05 ERA) vs. LHP Ben Doucette (2-3, 4.23 ERA)

FIRST PITCH: Following its first Big West Conference series win over Long Beach State last weekend, the UC Davis baseball team looks to make it two straight with a trip to Southern California to take on UC Riverside in a three-game series at the Riverside Sports Complex. Due to the Easter holiday, the series opens on Thursday (April 16) at 6 p.m., with games two and three on Friday and Saturday starting at 6 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively, and streamed live on ESPN3.com.

IN THE POLLS: Neither UC Davis, nor UC Riverside, are ranked among the top 25 in the national polls entering this week’s contests in Southern California.

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 “like” the baseball program on Facebook by searching for “UC Davis Baseball” and get the latest from the dugout by following the Aggies’ baseball program on Twitter (@UCDavisBaseball). Gameday in-game updates are also available on Twitter by following us @UCDavisInGame.

I NEED STATS, STAT!: Barring technical difficulties, live statistics will be available for all of this week’s games from Riverside, Calif., as well as live ESPN3.com video for the final two games of the series. Links for both the stats and the live video will be available on the baseball schedule page at UCDavisAggies.com.

SCOUTING UC RIVERSIDE: The Highlanders enter the weekend series with a 14-18 overall record and a 3-3 mark in Big West Conference play... UC Riverside has lost its last six straight beginning with the series finale against Cal State Northridge on April 6 despite taking the series from the Matadors, losing a pair of mid-week contests to San Diego State and being swept in a three-game series at Oregon... on Tuesday against the Aztecs, the Highlanders rallied with five unanswered runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but suffered a 6-5 defeat... sophomore infielder Francisco Tellez leads the offense with a .354 average to go with 22 runs scored, a pair of home runs, and 31 RBI, while slugging .485 and posting a .434 on-base percentage... junior Nick Vilter provides the pop, slugging nine of the team’s 14 home runs on the year, batting .339 with a .651 slugging percentage and a .468 on-base percentage thanks to 23 walks... senior right-hander Zach Varela (Saturday starter) leads the staff with a 4-2 record and a 2.92 ERA, while Friday night starter Jacob Smigelski is 4-4 with a 3.07 ERA and a .255 average against.

SERIES NOTES: UC Riverside leads the all-time series with UC Davis by the count of 35-26 in records that date back to 1990... the Aggies swept the series at Dobbins Stadium in 2013 by the scores of 4-3, 7-4, and 19-8, for their current three game winning streak in the series... in its last trip to the Inland Empire, UC Davis lost two-of-three to Riverside, winning the opener 7-2 before falling by the scores of 7-6 and 8-0 in the final two games... the Aggies have never won a series in Riverside as members of the Big West Conference, posting a 3-6 mark at UCR since 2008.

A LOOK BACK - SACRAMENTO STATE 15, UC DAVIS 7: The visiting Hornets used a seven-run fourth inning to break open a tight game and win their eighth straight over their Causeway rivals by the score of 15-7 at Dobbins Stadium. After spotting the visitors a pair of runs in the first, the Aggies rallied to tie the game on RBI singles by Nick Lynch and Evan Heptig in the first two innings. However a sacraifice fly by David Del Grande set the stage for Sacramento State’s big inning as the Hornets sent 10 batters to plate and received run-scoring hits from four different players to key the inning. Adam Young was 3-for-6 while Heptig and Seth Batty added two hits apiece to power a 12-hit UC Davis attack.

PATTERSON CANDIDATE FOR SENIOR CLASS AWARD: UC Davis senior infielder Steven Patterson has been selected as one of 30 candidates nationwide in the running for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award.
     “I can think of no one that deserves this recognition more than Steven,” UC Davis Head Coach Matt Vaughn said. “He epitomizes what this CLASS Award stands for, in addition to being a class act on and off the field. Anyone that is considered for this award should be a leader, someone showing the way… that is Steven Patterson.”
     An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of NCAA Division I student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character, and competition. The program is designed for college seniors utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university, pursuing the many rewards a senior season can bring.
     From the list of 30 candidates, a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the award in late April. Those 10 names will then be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote. Fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award.
     Patterson is one of two players from the Big West Conference on the initial list, joining UC Irvine’s Andrew Morales, and one of six from west of the Rockies along with Arizona State’s Joshua McAlister, CSU Bakersfield’s Oscar Sanay, Washington State’s Collin Slaybaugh, and USC’s Kevin Swick.
     For more information on the Senior CLASS Award, please visit them online at www.seniorclassaward.com.

WHY SO “SERIES”-OUS?: When UC Davis took two-of-three from Long Beach State over the weekend, the Aggies posted their first Big West Conference series win of the year and their first since taking two-of-three from former league rival Pacific on May 10-12 in Stockton last season. It marked the fifth time since joining the Big West Conference in 2008 that UC Davis has won a season series from the 49ers -- including the fourth time in the last five years.

HOW “SWEEP” IT IS: UC Davis’ sweep of UC Riverside last season at Dobbins Stadium marked only the fourth time in 49 Big West Conference series (through the 2013 season) that the Aggies have swept a league opponent, joining Pacific in 2008, UC Santa Barbara in 2010, and Cal State Northridge in 2011. Overall, since joining the conference in 2008, the Aggies have won just 20 of a possible 52 league sets -- including a high of five series in 2012.

TURN TWO TO TAKE TWO: A big part of the Aggies’ series win over Long Beach State was the play of their defense, which turned a season-high four double plays to get them out of numerous jams in the late innings. The four “twin-killings” marked the most since UC Davis turned the same number on the road against California on Feb. 24, 2010.

BYE, BYE, BILY: UC Davis sophomore Tanner Bily made his first hit of the 2014 season a memorable one as his lofted a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left field for his first career home run (a three-run shot) as part of a seven-run third inning for the Aggies. Bily’s long ball was the first home run by a UC Davis hitter since teammate Kevin Barker left the yard against Santa Clara on March 7, a span of 182.1 innings (20-plus games).

I SEE YOUR HOMER, AND RAISE YOU A “GRAND”: Anything you can do I can do better, says freshman Brian Ruhm, who followed Tanner Bily’s first career home run in “grand” fashion, slugging a grand slam in the seventh inning against Sacramento State on Tuesday afternoon for his first career home run. He later added a sac fly in the ninth to cap a career-high five RBI day against the Hornets -- the most for an Aggie hitter since John Williams had six RBI in a 16-15 win over Saint Mary’s on April 9, 2013. After going 182.1 innings without one, the Aggies have now hit two home runs in their last 12.1 innings. 

BATTING AROUND: Sunday’s seven-run third inning against Long Beach State saw 12 Aggies come to the plate -- the highest-scoring inning for UC Davis since it scored eight in the fifth inning of a 16-12 win at Saint Mary’s on May 14, 2013, when 12 batters strode to the plate en route to the win.

AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING: Long Beach State pitching seemed to be just what the Aggies’ bats needed this past weekend as UC Davis pounded out a total of 34 hits in the series against the 49ers -- matching its total from the previous six games combined. The 18 hits in the opener were a season high, and the most for an Aggies squad since they had 22 in a 16-12 win at Saint Mary’s on May 14, 2013. Two days later, UC Davis rediscovered its groove after being shutout in a two-hitter, launching 14 hits against five Long Beach State pitchers, and added 12 more against Sacramento State on Tuesday, giving the Aggies 15 double-digit hit games this year.

EIGHT IS ENOUGH: The eight runs scored in the series finale against Long Beach State were the most for the Aggies since they defeated San Jose State at home on March 11 by the score of 9-5. Sunday marked only the fourth time in 32 games this season that UC Davis has scored at least that many runs in a game, including a season-high 11 runs in a win over Portland on Feb. 23. 

THEY COME IN BUNCHES: With his three hits in the finale against Long Beach State and three more on Tuesday against Sacramento State, senior Adam Young logged his team-best 14th multi-hit game and matched teammate Nick Lynch -- who had a pair of three-hit games against the 49ers -- for the most three-hit games by an Aggie this season with five. In all, eight different Aggie hitters combined for a total of 11 multi-hit games on the weekend against Long Beach, including two each from Patterson, Lynch, and Tino Lipson.

TAKE THEM OUT TO THE BALLGAME...: Speaking of bunches, the fans came out to support the Aggies in game two of their series against Long Beach State to the tune of a Picnic Day crowd of 1,511 -- the largest crowd ever to see a UC Davis baseball game at Dobbins Stadium in the Division I era (2008-present).

RECORDS NOT WRITTEN IN STONE: With his eighth save of the year in the opener against Long Beach State, freshman closer Zach Stone passed three former Aggie greats and moved into a tie with Joel Needham (2004), Neal Swank (1994), and Dan Hubert (1987) for second place on the UC Davis single-season list, standing behind only record-holder Justin Fitzgerald, who saved 15 games for the Aggies in 2008. Stone’s performance this season also places him in a tie with Hubert for 10th on the UC Davis career list, needing one more to tie Nik Aurora (2004-07) and Nill Brelsford (1993-96) for eighth. Fitzgerald holds the career record with 19 from 2005-08.

MR. RELIABLE: Senior right-hander Harry Stanwyck is steadily moving up the UC Davis appearances list as his eight starts this season have given him 67 games pitched overall -- moving him into fourth place on the school’s all-time list, just eight shy of Nik Aurora’s career mark of 75 from 2004-07.

STOP, THIEF!!: When Tanner Bily and John Williams each swiped a base in the series finale against Long Beach State, it marked the first stolen base for the Aggies since March 16 against New Mexico State, going 0-for-5 in their previous attempts since that day. UC Davis followed that up with a season high-tying three stolen bases against Sacramento State on Tuesday, matching the mark set against Kansas State on Feb. 22.

WALK THIS WAY: Patience, grasshopper. The nine walks drawn against Stanford pitching on April 8 marked a season high and the most for the Aggies since they had the same number against Utah on Feb. 20, 2012. UC Davis hitters have drawn at least one walk in all but two games this season -- at No. 5 Cal Poly on March 28, and at No. 18 Cal State Fullerton on April 4 against Titans’ ace Thomas Eshelman, who has walked only two hitters in 69.1 innings all season. Tanner Bily’s three walks against Sacramento State on Tuesday matched Adam Young for the most by an Aggie this season after the senior drew a trio of free passes against the Cardinal.

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: A lot of Aggies have had a hand in UC Davis’ 16 victories this season as eight different players have combined to drive home the game-winning run, while 11 different Aggies have scored the game-winning run in 2014. Steven Patterson’s walk-off winner against Nevada on (March 25) was his team-best third of the season, while Seth Batty, Evan Heptig, Patterson, Adam Young, and Mason Novak, lead the way with a pair of game-winning runs scored.

“BIG HIT! HAPPY BODY!”: Bily and Ruhm’s first career home runs give the Aggies a total of 10 round-trippers this season, inching them ever so closer to their total from all of 2013, when they slugged a combined 13 home runs. Junior Nick Lynch’s team-high four home runs (tied for 3rd in the Big West) are just one shy of last year’s leader, Paul Politi, who had five home runs in 56 games. A sixth home run by Lynch this season would give him the most by a UC Davis slugger since Kyle Mihaylo hit seven for the Aggies in 2010.

HIP-HIP HOO-RAZO: Freshman left-hander Orlando Razo has been lights-out for the Aggies out of the bullpen as of late, adding to an already spectacular freshman campaign with his 3 1/3 innings on one-hit baseball on April 8 at Stanford. The southpaw from San Mateo, Calif., has allowed just one earned run over his last 10.1 innings of work (0.87 ERA), scattering 7 hits and striking out six while lowering his ERA from 2.40 at the start of the run to a team-best 1.93 heading into the weekend.

TRIPLE UP: Patterson legged out his fourth triple of the season in game three of the Aggies’ series against New Mexico State, placing him fourth in the Big West entering the weekend and matching John Williams’ team-high total from 2013. A fifth triple this year would give Patterson the most by an Aggie since Robby Tulk finished with five in 2004 and put him three shy of the school single-season record shared by David Gordon (2000) and Jason Wright (1990).

AHEAD OF THE GAME: Dobbins Stadium has been a welcome sight for the Aggies this season as they are a solid 9-6 at home compared to just 2-11 in true road games in 2014. The nine home victories this season are just three shy of the team’s total from all of last year (12-18) as UC Davis has won eight of its last 11 at the friendly confines and is well-ahead of the pace that didn’t see UC Davis claim its seventh win on its home turf last year until the 20th home date of the year. Overall, the Aggies’ 16 victories this season are just three shy of last year’s total (19).

BONUS BASEBALL: UC Davis’ 4-3 win in 10 innings over Nevada on March 25 snapped a four-game losing streak in extra-inning contests, improving the Aggies to 12-10 in extras dating back to their first Division I season.

IRONMAN: Senior Steven Patterson stands as the only Aggie to have started all 33 games thus far this season -- all coming at second base -- after junior outfielder Kevin Barker was injured in the series opener against Long Beach State.

“0” YES!: UC Davis’ 4-0 shutout of New Mexico State on March 15 in game three of their series was the Aggies’ first since they blanked former Big West rival Pacific, 2-0, in the opening game of a three-game series on May 10, 2013, in Stockton, Calif.

THAT’S RANK!: With its win over Cal State Fullerton on April 4, UC Davis put an end to another lengthy skid, stopping a streak of 21 consecutive losses against ranked opposition dating back to a 10-inning, 3-2, victory at No. 18 UC Irvine on April 22, 2011. Since its first full-fledged Division I season in 2008, the Aggies are just 16-55 against ranked opponents.

NO HITS FOR YOU!: UC Davis pitching has combined to allow one of lowest hit totals in the Big West entering the week, ranking second behind Cal State Fullerton (247) with 261 hits allowed. Opponents are hitting just .251 against Aggies pitching this season -- ranking fourth in the league in that category entering the week -- while five pitchers are holding the opposition to under a .250 average through 33 games.