Aggies host Highlanders for three this weekend

Senior Jacob Thomas leads the Big West Conference and ranks among the top 15 in the nation in sacrifices entering this weekend's games. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)
May 11, 2017

ON DECK…
GAMES 41-43: UC Riverside (18-26, 4-11) at UC Davis (15-25, 7-11)
Fri.-Sun., May 12-14, 2017
2:30 p.m. - 1 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Phil Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium
Davis, Calif.
Game Coverage:
Friday: Live Stats | Live Video | Tickets
Saturday: Live Stats | Live Video | Tickets
Sunday: Live Stats | Live Video | Tickets

ON THE MOUND…
Probable starters for this weekend's series
Friday: RHP Ryan Lille (2-5, 4.50 ERA) at LHP Orlando Razo (5-3, 4.50 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Alex Fagalde (6-3, 3.90 ERA) at RHP Justin Mullins (2-3, 4.70 ERA)
Sunday: TBA at LHP Robert Garcia (2-5, 3.92 ERA)

FIRST PITCH: UC Davis baseball goes in search of its fourth Big West Conference series win of the year this weekend, as the Aggies (15-25, 7-11) play host to UC Riverside in a three-game series beginning Friday (May 12) at 2:30 p.m. at Phil Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium. Games two and three are scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch on both Saturday (May 13) and Sunday (May 14).

IN THE POLLS: Neither UC Davis, nor UC Riverside, are ranked among the top 25 heading into this weekend’s series.

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SCOUTING UC RIVERSIDE: The Highlanders enter the weekend with an 18-26 overall record and a 4-11 mark in Big West Conference play, having lost four of their last six... UC Riverside took 2-of-3 in a non-conference series with Utah over the weekend before falling to Loyola Marymount at home on Monday, 5-3... In their last Big West weekend, the Highlanders took 2-of-3 from UC Santa Barbara at home... Senior outfielder Mark Contreras leads all regulars with a .369 average, slugging seven doubles, six triples, a pair of home runs, and driving in 20... Friday night’s scheduled starter, junior RHP Ryan Lille, leads the team with 60 strikeouts against only 14 walks while holding opponents to a .251 average, while senior RHP Alex Fagalde is 6-3 with a 3.90 ERA and 52 strikeouts and a .256 average against.

SERIES NOTES: According to records that date back to the 1990 season, UC Riverside leads the all-time series with UC Davis, 40-30, but the Aggies have won four of the last six against the Highlanders -- including a series sweep in 2015... In fact, UC Davis has swept the series from UC Riverside in each of the last two times that the Highlanders have paid a visit to Northern California, outscoring them by a 64-27 count... The Aggies have won nine of the 12 Big West meetings played on UC Davis’ home field, winning three of the four series... Meanwhile, the Aggies are 4-11 on the road at Riverside since 2008, including the Highlanders taking 2-of-3 last season.

CONFERENCE CALL: UC Davis is a combined 80-154 (.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... The seven conference wins this season have surpassed last year’s total (5-19), and are the most for the Aggies since they finished 9-15 back in 2015... Three more conference victories (with six to play) would give UC Davis double figures for only the fourth time in the program’s Division I history, joining the 2008 (13), 2012 (12), and 2011 (10), squads.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: A correction has been made to the 2017 UC Davis schedule, as the Aggies’ final home series of the regular season against Grand Canyon now begins on Thursday (May 18) at 2:30 p.m., with the final two games scheduled for Friday (May 19) at 2:30 p.m., and Saturday (May 20) at 1 p.m., at Phil Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium. The Aggies will honor their seniors prior to first pitch of the series finale with the Antelopes on Saturday.

GARCIA EARNS BIG WEST WEEKLY HONORS: Sophomore left-hander Robert Garcia was named the Big West Pitcher of the Week for the first time in his career on Monday (May 8) after tossing a three-hit shutout with a career-high 11 strikeouts in the series finale against UC Santa Barbara, giving UC Davis its third conference series win of the year. Read the complete recap of the Manteca, Calif., native’s gem here: http://www.ucdavisaggies.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/050817aaa.html.

“SERIES”-IOUS BUSINESS: With their sweep of the Gauchos in a doubleheader on May 6, the Aggies took home their third Big West series win of the year -- their most since 2015, when they also won three conference series... The series win over UC Santa Barbara was the fourth for UC Davis against the Gauchos since joining the league in 2008... Each of the last six Big West series wins for the Aggies have seen them take 2-of-3 from their opponents dating back to a sweep of UC Riverside in 2015... Of UC Davis’ 29 all-time series wins in Big West play, 18 have been at home, while 11 have come on the road... Seven of the Aggies’ last 10 Big West series wins have been at home.

RYAN IS RAKING: Another hit on Tuesday night at Pacific extended sophomore Ryan Anderson’s team-best hitting streak to 12 consecutive games -- the longest for an Aggie hitter since Tanner Bily hit safely in that same number of games last season from May 8-28. During his current run, Anderson is batting .306 (15-for-49) with five doubles, two home runs, and a team-high 13 RBI, driving in at least one run in eight of those contests.

WE’RE GOING STREAKING: Anderson’s 12-game hitting streak is just one game shy of breaking into the program’s top 10 in the Division I era and matching eight other players for sixth on the list. The schools Division I record is held by Paul Politi, who hit safely in 19 consecutive games spanning two seasons from 2012-13.

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: Anderson, along with teammates Alex Aguiar, Mark Cardinalli, Cameron Olson, and Brad Pluschkell, each have a pair of game-winning hits on the season to lead the team, while senior Jacob Thomas paces the Aggies with four game-winning runs.

FIRING BLANKS: With his three-hit shutout in the finale at UCSB, Garcia and junior left-hander Orlando Razo became the first UC Davis moundmates to throw a shutout in the same season since Anthony Kupbens, Dayne Quist (twice), and Tom Briner (twice), did so in 2012.

SPECIAL “K”: Garcia’s career-high 11 strikeouts against the Gauchos marked the third time this season that an Aggie pitcher reached double digits in that category, joining Razo’s single-game Division I Era record 13 strikeouts against Utah Valley on Feb. 25 and his 10 against Cal Poly on April 14 at Raley Field.

OLSON SETS NEW DIVISION I STANDARD: With his sixth home run of the season in the opener against No. 9 Long Beach State last weekend, senior Cameron Olson collected the 15th long ball of his career, putting him past former Aggie greats David Popkins (2009-12) and Kyle Mihaylo (2008-10) for the most in the program’s Division I era. Now standing just two shy of the program’s all-time career top 10, the six home runs are tied for third on the program’s single-season Division I list -- the most since Mihaylo slugged seven in 2010 and four back of Ryan Royster’s record of 10 in 2008.

JACKED: Anderson’s sixth home run of the season in the opener against UC Santa Barbara last weekend gave the Aggies 25 round trippers on the season -- now the second-highest total in the program’s Division I history and just nine back of the record of 34 hit in 2008. Anderson and Olson give UC Davis two hitters with at least six home runs in a season for the first time since 2008 when Royster (10) and Mihaylo (six) did so.

GOING SOLO: Of UC Davis’ 25 home runs, 13 have come with the bases empty, while five have led off an inning. However, the Aggies have hit multiple home runs in a game six times this season -- something that had happened only four times in the last years combined.

YARD WORK: Nine Aggies have accounted for the team’s home run total this season -- the most since the 2011, when UC Davis also had nine players leave the yard at least once.

MR. BASEBALL… TOO FAST!: Another stolen base on Tuesday night at Pacific gave the Aggies 49 for the season, keeping them in second place in the Big West entering the weekend behind Long Beach State (56). Individually, Alex Aguiar and Ryan Hooper rank tied for 10th in the league with nine apiece, helping UC Davis to its third-highest season total in the program’s Division I history behind the 2015 (103) and 2016 (78) seasons.