Aggies close season against Mustangs

Nick Lynch and his fellow seniors look to close out their final season on a high note, taking on Cal Poly in a three-game series at Dobbins Stadium this week.
May 19, 2015

THIS WEEK...
Cal Poly (26-25, 13-8) at UC Davis (28-25-1, 7-14)
Thursday, May 21, 2015 at Dobbins Stadium (Davis, Calif.), 2:30 p.m.
Live Stats | Live Audio | UC Davis Notes | Cal Poly Notes
AUDIO: KDVS 90.3 FM
Probable Starters:
UC Davis: TBA
Cal Poly: RHP Casey Bloomquist (7-2, 2.80 ERA)

Friday, May 22, 2015 at Dobbins Stadium (Davis, Calif.), 2:30 p.m.
Live Stats | Live Audio
AUDIO: KDVS 90.3 FM
Probable Starters:
UC Davis: RHP Spencer Koopmans (5-4, 3.54 ERA)
Cal Poly: LHP Kyle Smith (5-6, 3.81 ERA)

Saturday, May 23, 2015 at Dobbins Stadium (Davis, Calif.), 1 p.m.
Live Stats | Live Audio
AUDIO: KDVS 90.3 FM
Probable Starters:
UC Davis: RHP Raul Jacobson (5-4, 4.06 ERA)
Cal Poly: TBA

FIRST PITCH: The UC Davis baseball team (28-25-1 overall, 7-14 in the Big West Conference) closes out its 2015 campaign with its final weekend series of the year, welcoming Cal Poly to Dobbins Stadium for three games beginning Thursday (May 21) at 2:30 p.m. Games two and three follow on Friday (May 22) and Saturday (May 23) at 2:30 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. The Aggies will honor their 10-man senior class prior to first pitch of Saturday's finale.

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YOU'RE ON THE AIR: Three of the Aggies' remaining three regular season contests will be carried live over the air locally on KDVS (90.3 FM) and online at KDVS.org with Greg Wong and Grayson Blakely handling the calls.

SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS: Cal Poly enters the final weekend of the regular season with a 26-25 overall record and a 13-8 mark in Big West Conference play, tied with UC Irvine for third place in the standings -- three games back of league-leading Cal State Fullerton... The Mustangs are coming off a three-game sweep of UC Riverside last week and have won three of their last four Big West series... Junior infielder Mark Mathias leads all regulars, batting .353 with 40 runs scored and 27 RBI in 44 games this season, headlining a group of four batters hitting better than .300 on the year... Senior outfielder Zach Zehner is one of that group, batting .307 to go along with team highs in doubles (11), home runs (9), and RBI (43)... Right-hander Casey Bloomquist paces the weekend rotation with a 7-2 record and a 2.80 ERA in 13 starts, striking out 74 against only 27 walks in 90 innings, holding opponents to a .252 average... Freshman left-hander Kyle Smith has also been a regular in the rotation, scheduled to start Friday's game two while going 5-6 with a 3.81 ERA in 12 starts... Saturday's starter is TBA, as the Mustangs have used a different arm in six of their seven Big West series this season.

SERIES NOTES VERSUS CAL POLY: According to records that date back to 1963, Cal Poly leads the all-time series with UC Davis by the count of 28-7, including a 17-4 mark since the Aggies became full-fledged Division I members in 2008... The Mustangs have won the last six meetings, sweeping the regular season series in each of the last two years -- both held at Baggett Stadium in San Luis Obispo... UC Davis' last win in the series came in 2012, when the Aggies took two-of-three from Cal Poly at home, winning games one and three by the score of 5-4 -- the former in 11 innings... UC Davis is 4-5 at home against the Mustangs since joining the Big West and are 5-7 at home with the location of two games in the series unknown.

WILLIAMS EARNS ACADEMIC HONOR: UC Davis senior outfielder John Williams was one of 11 players named to the 2014-15 Capital One Academic All-District 8 Team, the College Sports Information Directors of America announced on May 7. A managerial economics major from Los Gatos, Calif., Williams became the first Aggie baseball player to earn such honors since Eric Johnson in 2011, and advances to the Capital One Academic All-America Team ballot, where first-, second-, and third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month. Already a two-time Big West Conference All-Academic Team selection, Williams was one of two student-athletes from the league to be so honored, joining Cal Poly's Tommy Pluschkell (the older brother of UC Davis freshman infielder Brad Pluschkell). For the complete release, including the complete list of All-District Team, visit us online at http://www.ucdavisaggies.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/050715aab.html.

MILESTONE AHEAD: The Aggies' 28 victories thus far this season are also inching Head Coach Matt Vaughn toward a milestone, as the fourth-year Aggie skipper needs just three more wins to reach the century mark for 100 at the helm of the UC Davis program. Following last week's contests, Vaughn enters the week at 97-122-1 in his three-plus seasons with the Aggies.

OVER THE HUMP: UC Davis' 28 wins in 2015 mark a five-game improvement in the win column over last season's 23-31 overall mark, and marks the second-highest win total in the program's Division I history, standing behind only the 35 wins posted by the 2008 squad en route to an NCAA regional berth. With three games remaining, the Aggies have guaranteed themselves at least a .500 regular season record (only the second time that has happened in the Division I era) and need just one more victory to guarantee themselves a winning regular season record.

LYNCH'S ASSAULT ON THE RECORD BOOK CONTINUES: Senior Nick Lynch opened the Aggies series at Long Beach State last weekend with a bang, finishing 2-for-4 with an RBI and setting a Big West Conference single-season record with his 30th double of the year in the seventh, breaking a tie with Cal State Fullerton's John Eccles (1986) atop the list. Lynch, who hit .500 (6-for-12) in the series, added his 31st double in the first inning of the series finale to give him 56 for his career -- one shy of Nevada's Joe Inglett (1997-00) for 10th on the Big West list. Lynch, who continues to lead the NATION in doubles and doubles per game (0.58), needs two more to move into a tie for 13th on the NCAA single-season list with eight other players.

SLASH LINE STANDOUT: Lynch enters the final weekend of the regular season leading the Big West Conference in both slugging (.589) and on-base percentage (.471), while standing second to UC Santa Barbara's Cameron Newell (.383) in average, hitting .381 on the year. Lynch joins Newell, UC Irvine's Keston Hiura, and Cal State Fullerton's David Olmedo-Barrera, as the only players in the league among the top 10 in all three categories.

PESKY ON THE BASEPATHS: After teammate Tanner Bily had his streak of reaching base safely in 32 consecutive games ended on May 10, teammate Nick Lynch picked up the flag and continued his run, reaching in each of his last 16 contests dating back to the Aggies' April 19 contest at UC Irvine. During that stretch, Lynch, who reached base safely in 18 straight games earlier this year, has raised his batting average 31 points, collecting hits in 15 of those 16 contests -- including a pair of four-hit performances -- with 10 doubles and nine RBI, while walking five times -- including a base on balls in the finale against CSUN to keep the streak alive.

SHOWING UP: When sophomore right-hander Zach Stone took the mound in the eighth inning in Sunday's series finale at Long Beach State, it marked the 31st appearance of the year for the Eureka, Calif., native, breaking Andy Suiter's (2008) mark for the most appearances by an Aggie pitcher in a single campaign.

SAFE AT HOME: When junior Tanner Bily crossed the plate as part of the Aggies' four-run rally in the ninth at Long Beach on Sunday, the Anaheim Hills, Calif., native tallied his career-high fourth run scored of the day to go with his career-high tying four hits as part of a 9-8 loss. The runs were just one shy of the school's single-game record set by Sam Viney against Cal State Stanislaus and tied by Matt Zumstein against Pacific University in 1999, and were the most by an Aggie hitter since Paul Politi had the same number against UC Riverside on April 21, 2013.

ONE MORE TIME: The Aggies enter the final series of the weekend with a Big West-leading 124 doubles -- just one shy of the school's single-season mark of 125 set by the 2003 squad -- and a conference-best 153 extra-base hits (UC Irvine and Cal Poly are second with 130), while ranking No. 8 in the NATION in doubles behind Morehead State (161). If UC Davis wants to go above and beyond, and take an extra base thanks to the spacious Dobbins Stadium outfield, the 17 triples by the Aggies this season are four shy of the school record of 21 set back in 1995.

EXTRA, EXTRA: With nine doubles, a triple, and an Austin March home run last week against Saint Mary's and Long Beach State, the Aggies have now tallied at least one extra-base hit in each of its last 32 games dating back to a 1-0 victory at Fresno State on March 15, when UC Davis tallied seven singles and scored the game-winner on an error in the ninth -- standing as the only time this season that the Aggies have finished a game without an extra-base hit. The seven doubles in game two against CSUN on May 9 are a season high and the most since UC Davis had the same number in the series opener against CSUN on May 2, 2013. The total was just two shy of the team single-game record of nine doubles against Cal Poly on April 17, 2005.

DON'T WALK: Senior right-hander Raul Jacobson has thrown up a red light when it comes to opposing hitters this season, walking a rotation-low 16 batters in 88.2 innings of work, including a five-strikeout, no-walk performance in game two against Long Beach State. Saturday's performance marked the senior's fourth start without walking a batter (the Aggies are 2-2 in those games) -- combined, the Aggies have only had five other starts from their pitchers where that has happened -- and places Jacobson among the top 50 in the nation in fewest walks per nine innings (No. 49 - 3.02) and inside the top 100 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.06-to-1.

BAT MEN: The Aggies' took their swings against Long Beach State pitching in Sunday's series finale, collecting 18 hits to tie a season high set at Seattle back on March 7. In 54 games, UC Davis has had 26 games with double-digit hits and its first since back-to-back contests against CSUN in the first two games of the series on May 8-9.

THE AGGIES' HIT PARADE: Nick Lynch (75), Tino Lipson (69), and Izaak Silva (62), have reached the 60-hit plateau on the year, all ranking among the top 10 in the Big West Conference entering the week and giving the Aggies the most players with at least 60 hits in a season since the 2013 squad finished with four (Lynch, Steven Patterson, John Williams, and Paul Politi) -- a mark that would be matched with one more hit by Austin March. In addition, Lynch's 75 hits this season are the most by a UC Davis player since Politi finished with 79 as a junior in 2012.

HE KEEPS GOING... AND GOING... AND GOING: Like the Energizer Bunny, senior backstop Izaak Silva just keeps going behind the plate for the Aggies. The senior, who has appeared in 53 of the team's 54 games, has caught all but 27 (over a span of 11 games) of a possible 482.1 innings thrown by the pitching staff in 2015.

HOSED: While Izaak Silva has been taking care of business with his bat, he has also taken control of the game defensively from his spot behind the plate. Opponents have run against Silva 70 times this season (second in the Big West), but the Soquel, Calif., native has been up to the task, throwing out 22 would-be base stealers to rank behind only UC Irvine's Jerry McClanahan (25) among Big West receivers.

CAPTAIN CLUTCH: With a team-high five game-winning RBI and four game-winning runs, senior outfielder Austin March has come through when it counts for the Aggies numerous times this season, batting .318 with a team-high 27 hits with runners in scoring position while driving home a team-high 17 runs with two outs.

BULLISH IN THE BULLPEN: The combination of junior left-hander Spencer Henderson and sophomore closer Zach Stone at the back end of the Aggies' bullpen has been a potent combination for Head Coach Matt Vaughn in 2015, combining to post a 1.20 ERA in 46 combined appearances, holding opposing hitters to a .227 average. The dynamic duo has posted a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly 6-to-1, striking out 69 hitters in 75 innings.

GOING DEEP: Aggie starting pitchers have gone at least seven innings 18 times in 54 starts this season -- a team-high nine of those by Jacobson, who has posted a 5-1 mark with three no-decisions in those starts.

STRIKE FIRST, STRIKE HARD, NO MERCY, SIR!: The first inning has been the best inning this season for the Aggies, who have scored in the opening frame 26 times (winning 15 of those games) and have out-scored the opposition by a 47-36 count -- making it the highest scoring inning for UC Davis this season.

TURN TWO: A pair of double plays last week in Long Beach continues to put the Aggies atop the Big West -- and rank No. 14 in the NATION -- with its 55 double plays turned this season, while standing No. 20 in the NCAA turning 1.02 double plays per game, trailing Notre Dame (71 and 1.31, respectively) in both categories. UC Davis' total this season is just seven shy of the school record of 62 set by the 1994 Aggie squad that finished 47-12 overall.

HE'S GAME: Lynch enters the final weekend of the season with 207 career games played, standing just three games back of career leader Robby Tulk (2001-04). One of only four Aggies to reach the 200-game plateau, Lynch can tie Tulk's mark with an appearance in each of UC Davis' final three games, and join Matt Kamigawachi (202) and Jason Shapiro (200) atop the list.

NICK *SMASH* RECORD BOOKS: Aside from the categories we've already mentioned, Lynch enters the week ranked among the top 10 in four other career categories: at-bats (4th - 701), hits (3rd - 238), RBI (T6th - 121), and hit by pitch (2nd - 52).

100 BASES TO STEAL ON THE YEAR, 100 BASES TO STEAL...: Everybody sing along. When freshman Brad Pluschkell swiped his fourth base of the season in game two against CSUN last weekend, it marked the 100th steal for the Aggies on the year (in 142 attempts) -- the first time that UC Davis has reached the century mark in that category during its Division I history and the first Big West team to do so since Cal State Fullerton swiped 112 bases in 2012. It's an impressive feat considering the Aggies, who rank No. 10 in the NATION with 101 entering this week's games, stole only 105 bases during its last three seasons COMBINED.

STOP! THIEVES!: The Aggies' 101 steals in 2015 are the most for a UC Davis squad since the 1997 team stole 128 bases in 160 attempts, and only the fourth time since that season that the Aggies have stolen 60 bases or more in a year.

STONE COLD CLOSER: In just a little under two seasons, sophomore right-hander Zach Stone has made a name for himself in UC Davis baseball pitching lore, collecting his 20th career save in the Aggies' 5-3 win over CSUN on May 8 to set a new standard, breaking Justin Fitzgerald's mark of 19 saves from 2005-08. The save against the Matadors was the 11th of the year for Stone, standing second on the school's single-season list and making him only the second UC Davis pitcher, along with Fitzgerald's 15 saves in 2008, to reach double digits in that category. His 11 saves this year are four back of Fitzgerald and Long Beach State's Ara Petrosian (1997) for 10th on the Big West single-season list, while Stone needs six more to match Cal State Fullerton's Ted Silva for 10th on the league's career list.

A SHOT OF VITAMIN "K": Sometimes a strikeout is all you need. More than one is even better. Henderson's eight "K's" on May 3 at UC Santa Barbara is tied for the third-highest total by an Aggie pitcher this season and the seventh time this season a UC Davis hurler has struck out at least seven in a game:

Nat Hamby - nine strikeouts vs. San Francisco (April 14)
Raul Jacobson - nine strikeouts at Fresno State (March 15)
Spencer Henderson - eight strikeouts at UCSB (May 3)
Raul Jacobson - eight strikeouts vs. UC Riverside (March 29)
Nat Hamby - seven strikeouts at Pacific (April 26)
Max Cordy - seven strikeouts at San Francisco (March 24)
Orlando Razo - seven strikeouts at Portland (Feb. 28)

LET'S GET "SERIES"-OUS: Two out of three against CSUN gave the Aggies their seventh weekend series win of the season -- the most by a UC Davis squad since the 2012 squad won eight -- while the sweep of Pacific back on April 24-26 was the team's second series sweep of the year -- the first time that the Aggies have posted that many since 2008 when they took every game against Utah, Santa Clara (four games), and Pacific.

THE BRUISE CREW: UC Davis has been plunked by a pitch 76 times this season -- ranking second the Big West Conference, and standing No. 14 in the NATION in that category, trailing Alabama State with 100. Individually, Nick Lynch (No. 25) ranks among the nation's top 50 in the category with 16.

GET THIS MAN AN ICE PACK: Lynch's 16 HBP's this season upped his career total to 52 heading into the week, giving him sole possession of second on the UC Davis all-time list and standing four back of career leader Jason Shapiro (1991-94).

EIGHT IS GREAT: Junior right-hander Max Cordy and his eight wins on the mound are the most by an Aggie pitcher since Brad McAtee finished 8-5 in 15 starts with a 3.18 ERA in the program's first Division I season en route to an NCAA regional berth. Cordy's seven straight wins to kick-off 2015 was the best start by a UC Davis hurler in the Division I era and the most since Vince DeCoito won the same number en route to an 8-2 record in 2004, while the 7-0 start was the best since Colby Craig started the 1994 season 11-0 before losing his final start of the year against UC Riverside in the NCAA Division II West Regional.

NUMBER NINE: A ninth win by Cordy would give him the most wins by an Aggie pitcher since 2003, when Michael Potter finished 9-4 with a 3.77 ERA during his freshman season, while two more wins would put Cordy in double digits -- the first for a UC Davis hurler since Greg Bruso was 10-4 during his senior season in 2002.