Aggies close regular season hosting UC Irvine

May 22, 2018

GAMES 51-53: UC Irvine (31-22, 12-9 BWC) at UC Davis (16-34, 7-14 BWC)
Thurs.-Sat., May 24-26, 2018
2:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Phil Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium
Davis, Calif. 
Game Coverage: Live Stats | Big West TV

Probable starters for this week’s games
Thursday: RHP Andre Pallante (9-1, 1.43 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Blais (4-7, 5.54 ERA)
Friday: RHP Trenton Denholm (4-7, 4.74 ERA) vs. RHP Jared Sasaki (3-6, 4.72 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Taylor Rashi (3-3, 2.75 ERA) vs. LHP Chris Brown (3-5, 5.32 ERA)

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DAVIS, Calif. — The UC Davis baseball team (16-34, 7-14 in Big West Conference play) will bring a close to the 2018 schedule at Phil Swimley Field this weekend, hosting the Anteaters of UC Irvine for a three-game set beginning Thursday (May 24) at 2:30 p.m. Game two is scheduled for Friday (May 25), also at 2:30 p.m., with Saturday’s (May 26) series finale scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. Aggie fans are encouraged to show up early for Saturday’s finale to help honor the UC Davis baseball program’s seven departing seniors who are making their final appearances in an Aggie uniform this season: Alex Aguiar, Daniel Barraza, Matt Blais, Ryan Hooper, Connor Loar, Brad Pluschkell, and Guillermo Salazar. 

The Anteaters are receiving votes this week according to both the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches Poll for the week of May 21… UC Davis is unranked this week. 

UC Irvine (31-22) began its 2018 campaign with back-to-back series wins over Nevada and Gonzaga before falling to then-ranked No. 7 TCU… Currently tied for second in the Big West Conference with Cal Poly (12-9), the Anteaters opened conference play with a series loss to the Rainbow Warriors, then bounced back with three consecutive series wins, including a three-game sweep over CSUN… UC Irvine then endured a three-game sweep by the league-leading Titans before taking two of three from Cal Poly and UC Riverside… During the non-conference schedule, the Anteaters split a pair of games with USC and then-ranked No. 7 UCLA, as well as a four-game series with Portland… Freshman infielder Brendan Brooks paces the Anteater lineup and ranks eighth in the conference with a .317 average at the plate… One of two Anteaters to start in all 53 games this season, senior infielder Ryan Fitzpatrick carries team-highs in runs (38), hits (56), doubles (14), home runs (8), RBI (42), and slugging percentage (.541)… The do-it-all senior and Big West Player of the Week (4/16) also leads the league with a .446 on-base percentage and 40 double plays fielded… As a staff, UC Irvine carries a 3.77 ERA with opponents swinging .263 against… Sophomore right-hander Andre Pallante (9-1, 1.43 ERA) has twice earned Big West Pitcher of the Week accolades (2/26, 3/12) and currently holds the nation’s sixth lowest ERA… Holding opposing teams to a .212 average against, Pallante also leads the Big West with 110 recorded strikeouts and just 15 earned runs allowed… Fellow Big West Pitcher of the Week (4/16), Trenton Denholm (4-7, 4.74 ERA), has started 14 games in as many appearances, tossing 68.1 innings for the Anteaters this season… Junior right-hander Taylor Rashi (3-3, 2.75 ERA), holds the fourth lowest ERA in the Big West and fifth lowest average against at .234, allowing 18 earned runs on 51 hits and walking 26. 

According to records dating back to 1970, the Anteaters lead the all-time series record with the Aggies, 33-9, as well as the overall Division I record (games played since 2008), 23-7… UC Irvine clinched last season’s meeting thanks to back-to-back one-run victories, with UC Davis stealing game three, 11-9, tying the most runs scored by UC Davis against the Anteaters in program history…. The Aggies are 4-11 at Phil Swimley Field since 2008, and will look to claim their first series victory over the Anteaters since 2012 this weekend. 

Recycled Notes

Aggie fans can stay updated with the latest UC Davis athletics news by "liking" us on Facebook ( and following us on Twitter (@UCDavisAggies). Fans can also keep up with the action with the baseball program by "liking" them on Facebook (search for UC Davis Baseball) and following them on Twitter (@UCDavisBaseball).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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).

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.

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.

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

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