Teams: UC Davis at Cal State Bakersfield
Records: Aggies, 15-14; Roadrunners, 14-16
Where: Hardt Field – Bakersfield, Calif.
When: Friday at 2:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Who to watch: CJ Blom has a second chance.
After allowing six runs in his first collegiate start last weekend against Long Beach State, the Napa, Calif. local will get another opportunity to showcase his talent on the mound with normal starter Anthony Kupbens out due to injury.
“We’ll get him another start and see how he deals with it,” coach Rex Peters said of Blom. “I think he was a little overwhelmed in his first college start last weekend but we’re going to give him one more shot.”
Luckily for the Aggies, there is plenty of reason to believe in Blom as he has struck out more than one batter per inning this season. In addition, the freshman southpaw has three times as many punch-outs as walks.
Did you know: Cal State Bakersfield coach Bill Kernen was the Cal State Fullerton pitching coach in 1987. Peters, who played for the Titan baseball program, graduated in 1989 and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers later that year.
Preview: The Aggies always stay on their toes.
Despite the fact that they are not playing a Big West Conference opponent this weekend, UC Davis is prepared to play all-out.
“Bakersfield has beaten some Big West opponents,” Peters said. “It’s not like we’re Superman. We have to go out and play hard to win regardless of who we’re playing. We don’t take anybody lightly.”
Not only do the Roadrunners have success against the Big West but they defeated the Aggies in Davis by a score of 5-2 a year ago.
In order to beat Cal State Bakersfield this time around, UC Davis believes that it needs to make improvements on the mound.
“We’ll pitch well at times then we’ll pitch awful at times,” Peters said. “That’s why we have games that get out of hand pretty early. There’s not enough consistency there.”
Despite their inconsistencies on the mound, the Aggies keep working hard as a team to improve.
“You just keep working with them in a bullpen and hopefully, as they get more and more experience and outings on the mound, they’ll develop some consistency,” Peters said.
Fortunately for UC Davis, work ethic and camaraderie are never in short supply.
“Everybody on the team are buddies – they’re brothers,” sophomore David Popkins said. ” Everybody gets after it.”
– Mark Ling