Aggies face Stanford before hosting Long Beach State

Sophomore Matt Blais hasn't allowed a run in his last 12.2 innings of work, allowing only eight hits in that span. (Photo by Mark Honbo/UC Davis Athletics Communications)
May 16, 2016

THIS WEEK…
GAME 47: UC Davis (16-29) at Stanford (25-21)
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at Stanford, Calif. (Sunken Diamond) - 5:30 p.m.*
Game Coverage: Live Stats | Video | Stanford Baseball

* The two teams will complete a suspended game from March 21 before the regularly scheduled contest... Stanford leads that game 12-9 in the top of the ninth.

GAMES 48-50: Long Beach State (31-18, 11-7) at UC Davis (16-29, 4-14)
Fri.-Sun., May 20-22, 2016 at Davis, Calif. (Dobbins Stadium) - 2:30 / 1 p.m. / 1 p.m.
Game 1 Coverage: Live Stats | Long Beach State Baseball
Game 2 Coverage: Live Stats
Game 3 Coverage: Live Stats

PLAY BALL!: An extended stay in the Bay Area before the penultimate Big West Conference series of the season is on deck for the UC Davis baseball team (16-29, 4-14), as the Aggies embark on their final four-game week of the season. UC Davis opens with a “pair” of games (more on that later) at Stanford on Tuesday (May 17) at 5:30 p.m., before hosting conference rival Long Beach State for a three-game series beginning Friday (May 20) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s games are scheduled for 1 p.m., with the Aggies’ senior class honored prior to first pitch on “Senior Day” Sunday.

IN THE POLLS: Neither UC Davis, Stanford, nor Long Beach State, are ranked among the top 25 in the nation entering this week’s games.

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 get a behind-the-scenes look at the baseball program by “liking” them on Facebook (search for “UC Davis Baseball) and following them on Twitter (@UCDavisBaseball). Gameday in-game updates for baseball, and all Aggie athletic teams, are also available on Twitter by following @UCDavisInGame.

ABOUT STANFORD: The Cardinal enters the week with a 25-21 overall record, including a 16-9 mark at Sunken Diamond this season... Stanford is coming off a series loss on the road at Utah, dropping 2-of-3 in Salt Lake City... Junior infielder Tommy Edman leads all regulars with a .302 average, scoring 28 times and driving in 22... The Cardinal are hitting .252 as a team, outscoring opponents by 47 runs... The Stanford pitching staff has posted a 3.26 ERA, a total that ranks among the top 30 in the nation entering the week.

SERIES NOTES: Stanford leads the all-time series with UC Davis, 49-14, according to records that date back to 1960... The Cardinal have won two straight since a, 2-1, UC Davis victory in 2013, including a 5-2 win earlier this year at Dobbins Stadium on Feb. 22... Stanford has won eight of the last 10 meetings... The Aggies and Cardinal will have met three times this season after Tuesday’s games -- the most times the two programs will meet in a single season since 2008 when UC Davis won a pair of regular season meetings and, then, took the opener between the two at the NCAA Regionals before being eliminated by the Cardinal... The Aggies are 5-8 against Stanford during their Division I Era.

LET’S PLAY 10: It’s not quite a doubleheader, but it’ll take a little bit longer than usual on Tuesday night at Sunken Diamond as the Aggies and Cardinal will finish off their suspended game from March 21 beginning with the ninth inning before retaking the field for their originally scheduled contest. Stanford leads that suspended contest, 12-9, heading into the final frame.

ABOUT LONG BEACH STATE: Standing second in the Big West with two weekends remaining in the regular season, LBSU enters the week with a 31-18 overall record and an 11-7 mark in conference play -- three games behind rival Cal State Fullerton for the top spot... Long Beach State will take on Loyola Marymount on Tuesday before heading to Northern California... Junior Daniel Jackson leads the team with a .328 average, sharing the team lead with five home runs and driving in 24... Sophomore right-hander Darren McCaughan paces the weekend rotation with an 8-1 record and a 2.10 ERA, striking out 74 over 90 innings, and holding opponents to a .186 average.

SERIES NOTES: Long Beach State leads the all-time series with UC Davis, 23-11, dating back to 1966, including a 14-10 lead during the Aggies’ Division I Era... UC Davis suffered a sweep in Long Beach last season, but took 2-of-3 from LBSU at home in 2014... The Aggies have won all four Big West series against Long Beach State at Dobbins Stadium since UC Davis began play in the league in 2008, taking 2-of-3 each time.

GONE, GONE, GONE: When freshman Logan Denholm left the yard for his fourth home run of the season in Friday’s opener against CSUN, the El Dorado Hills, Calif., native slugged his third home run in as many games, becoming the first Aggie to do so since Nick Lynch accomplished the feat against Saint Mary’s, Portland, and Kansas State, from Feb. 20-22, 2014. Along with Cameron Olson’s fourth home run in the previous at-bat, it also marked the first time that the Aggies have gone back-to-back since Eric Johnson and Scott Kalush did so against Long Beach State in a 5-0 win on May 12, 2012.

GIMME FIVE (FOR FIVE): One can’t set a table better than senior Tanner Bily did in game two against CSUN over the weekend, finishing a perfect 5-for-5 atop the Aggie order with a run scored and an RBI. Bily, who set a career high with his five hits, became only the sixth different player in the program’s Division I history to collect at least five hits in a game, and the first since former teammate Kevin Barker ended the day 5-for-6 at UC Riverside on April 17, 2014. Bily’s perfect day at the plate was the best since Nick Lynch was 5-for-5 at Saint Mary’s on May 14, 2013, and was one hit shy of David Popkins’ Division I record of six hits set at CSU Bakersfield on Feb. 24, 2012.

MULLINS MASTERFUL: Junior right-hander Justin Mullins helped pitch the Aggies to their first regular season sweep of Causeway rival Sacramento State, allowing just a single run on seven hits while striking out six in 5.2 innings as UC Davis topped the Hornets, 7-1, last Tuesday. Both of Mullins’ wins this season have come at the expense of Sacramento State, allowing a combined two earned runs on 14 hits in two starts (11.2 innings), posting a 1.54 ERA and striking out 11 Hornets without a walk.

NO WALK IN THE PARK: With 57 strikeouts against only nine walks on the year, Mullins ranks No. 19 in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.33-to-1) while standing No. 35 in the country with only 1.37 walks per nine innings.

EIGHT IS GREAT: Senior Spencer Henderson and sophomore Alex Aguiar enter the week each with hitting streaks of eight games -- the longest active streak of any Aggie hitter in the lineup and three games back of Tanner Bily’s team-best 11 games from April 17 to May 6. Henderson is hitting .433 (13-for-30) during that stretch with a pair of doubles, five runs scored, and three RBI, while Aguiar has collected nine singles, scoring seven times and driving in four, en route to a .273 average during that stretch.

LOGAN’S RUN: Although Denholm had his career-best eight-game hitting streak snapped in the finale at CSUN, the freshman catcher has been one of the Aggies’ hottest hitters down the stretch, including moving into the clean-up spot in the lineup over the last nine games. During that run, Denholm is batting a robust .515 (17-for-33), with six extra-base hits, nine runs scored (including a run of seven straight games with at least one run), and 11 of his team-high 26 RBI. In the process, Denholm has raised his average to .295 on the year -- including hitting .455 as the UC Davis clean-up hitter this season.

BLAIS OF GLORY: Sophomore right-hander Matt Blais has been one of the most reliable arms out of the bullpen for UC Davis in the last three weeks, having not allowed a run in his last 12.2 innings of work dating back to the finale against UC Irvine on April 24. The native of Half Moon Bay, Calif., has scattered only eight hits in that span, walking just one while striking out 10, holding opponents to a .195 average (8-for-41).

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU: Just as effective out of the bullpen has been freshman left-hander Chris Brown, who has held opponents to just one unearned run over his last six innings (four appearances), allowing just three hits and striking out five.

SCORE!: In the last six games, freshman Caleb Van Blake has come up in some key situations for the Aggies, driving in a run in each of his last seven games to account for eight of his nine RBI this season.

DO RUN, RUN, RUN: Over its last 12 games (103 total innings), UC Davis has scored a run in a total of 39 of those frames, putting up multiple runs in a single inning in 24 of those scoring innings -- including four runs in an inning five times during that stretch.

YOU GET A RUN... YOU GET A RUN...: The Aggies have put a beating on home plate during its recent turnaround, scoring a total of 76 runs and is averaging 6.9 runs per contest over their last 11 games -- well above their season average of 5.0 runs per game through 45 contests.

HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING: Matching its current run of success, UC Davis has collected double digit hits in nine of its last 11 contests, and 21 times overall this season, averaging 11.4 hits per game over its last 11 contests. The Aggies established a season high with 19 hits at UC Riverside on April 3.

SETTING THE TABLE: In 28 games atop the UC Davis lineup, Bily is hitting a robust .352 with 22 runs scored, six doubles, and 16 RBI, while walking an additional 16 times to post a .435 on-base percentage. That has led to Bily being a beast on the basepaths, ranking tied for third in the Big West with 14 stolen bases (in 22 attempts) entering the week. The total gives the Anaheim Hills, Calif., native 31 (in 45 attempts) steals for his career, which places him tied for second on the school’s Division I list behind Tino Lipson (40) and alonside Kevin Barker (31).

WALK THIS WAY: Bily’s 24 walks this season rank tied for fifth on the school’s single-season Division I list, just five off the record shared by David Popkins (2012) and Ryan Royster (2008). However, his total is enough to push him past former teammate Tino Lipson (2011-15) and stand atop the program’s Division I list with 71 walks for his career.

BILY STILL BLAZIN’ AT THE PLATE: Even though his team-best 11-game hitting streak came to an end in the second game of the series against UC Santa Barbara, senior Tanner Bily remains a force to be reckoned with at the top of the lineup. With hits in 16 of his last 17 contests, Bily is batting .391 (27-for-69) with five doubles, a home run, 14 runs scored, and 10 RBI, walking nine times and posting a .444 on-base percentage.

MR. BASEBALL... TOO FAST!: After ranking among the top 15 in the nation last season on the base paths, the Aggies are at it again. UC Davis ranks No. 46 in the country with 70 stolen bases overall and No. 31 in the NCAA with 1.56 steals per game.

GIVE IT UP FOR THE AGS: UC Davis enters the week ranked among the top 50 in the nation (No. 49) in sacrifice hits with 42, while teammates Brad Pluschkell (No. 22) and Jacob Thomas (No. 30) both stand among the top 30 in the country with 12 and 11 sacrifices, resepctively.

CHECK OUT THE BIG BAT ON BRAD: Pluschkell has given the Energizer Bunny a run for its money over the last three weeks, collecting hits in 11 of his last 12 games after hits in all three of the Aggies’ contests at CSUN. After having his eight-game hitting streak snapped at Sacramento State, Pluschkell finished 5-for-12 (.417) against the Matadors and is batting .432 (19-for-44) in his last 12 outings with six multi-hit games, scoring 11 runs, and logging four doubles.

WELL, IT’S A START: Ever since breaking into the starting rotation on March 24 against Air Force, redshirt freshman left-hander Robert Garcia has been stellar, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.91 ERA in eight starts, holding opponents to a team-best .228 average, while striking out 41 in 50.2 innings. Garcia, who leads the team with five “quality starts” this year, was equally as good out of the bullpen to begin the season, not allowing an earned run in seven appearances and striking out 29 in 21 innings.

ROBERT RATES AMONG BIG WEST’S BEST HURLERS: Garcia begins the week ranked No. 8 in the Big West with a 2.76 ERA, fifth in opposing batting average with a .201 mark against, and is eighth with 70 strikeouts. He also ranks among the top 10 in fewest hits allowed (eighth). Nationally, Garcia ranks No. 60 in hits allowed per nine innings (6.78) and No. 101 with a 1.09 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched).

EXTRA, EXTRA: Of senior Cameron Olson’s 36 hits this season, more than half (18) have gone for extra bases, including a team-high 11 doubles. The senior from Yuba City, Calif., is tied for fourth on the team with eight multi-hit games on the year.

THIS CLOSE: A bounce here and there... just imagine how different the Aggies’ season could look. In its 45 games, UC Davis has played in 21 games decided by two runs or less -- 14 of those decided by a single run -- including a streak of nine straight from Feb. 26 to March 13. The Aggies, however, are just 5-16 in those 21 contests, and 4-10 in one-run games, this season.

CYCLE CITY: The most bicycle-friendly city in America... the most cycle-friendly lineup in the country? UC Davis nearly had a player hit for the cycle in three straight games with Cameron Olson coming close on April 30 in Stockton against Pacific, Logan Denholm falling shy against the Tigers in the finale on May 1, and freshman Caleb Van Blake needing just a home run against Sacramento State on May 3. Olson, who has already accomplished the feat against San Francisco on April 5, needed a double against Pacific, while Denholm fell a home run shy in the series finale with the Tigers.

The Last Meeting
Stanford5
UC Davis2
February 22, 2016
Davis, Calif.
Aggies end homestand with loss to Stanford
UC Davis scored single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to apply pressure late against visiting Stanford, but the Cardinal pitchers stifled the Aggies' bats, holding the home team to just three hits en route to a 5-2 win in a non-conference contest on Monday afternoon at Dobbins Stadium.

The Last Meeting
UC Davis8
Long Beach State9
May 17, 2015
Long Beach, Calif.
Aggies' furious rally falls short in finale
UC Davis senior Tanner Bily finished with a career-high tying four hits and the visiting Aggies had the tying run on base after scoring four times in the ninth, but the rally came up just short as host Long Beach State escaped with a 9-8 victory and a sweep of their Big West Conference weekend series on Sunday afternoon at Blair Field.