Teams: UC Davis at Santa Clara
Records: Aggies, 19-20; Broncos, 18-23
Where: Schott Stadium – Santa Clara, Calif.
When: Today at 6 p.m.
Who to watch: The recent Aggie success is due in large part to catcher Scott Kalush.
The sophomore from San Mateo, Calif. is in the midst of a five-game hitting streak and has had two hits in three straight contests. In those last five games, Kalush has combined to go 8-for-21 from the plate with five RBI. As a result, the Aggies have won three of their last four.
The last time UC Davis faced Santa Clara this season, Kalush went 1-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored.
Did you know?: The Kalush family will be well represented in today’s game.
Scott’s older brother, Steve Kalush, is a pitcher for the Broncos. The older sibling is 2-0 on the season with a 3.72 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 19.1 innings pitched.
Preview: Ever since the Aggies swept a four-game set from the Broncos in 2008, the two squads have been evenly matched.
The teams split two games a season ago as Santa Clara narrowly edged out UC Davis by combining to score 14 runs compared to 13 for the Aggies. The trend continued earlier this season when UC Davis earned an 8-7 victory at Santa Clara. In that game, the Broncos nearly made a valiant comeback as they scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“That was a close game,” said coach Rex Peters. “They fought hard and came back to take it down to the wire.”
The problem in that contest was a shaky UC Davis bullpen. After starter Anthony Kupbens held Santa Clara to just two runs through seven innings, three Aggie relievers combined to allow five earned runs in the eighth and ninth frames.
This time around, the Aggies will have no such problem as Matthew Lewis has emerged as the squad’s top-notch closer, shutting the door on any potential ninth-inning rallies.
Though things may look promising for UC Davis, they know not to take Santa Clara lightly.
“They have some pretty athletic players,” Peters said. “It’s nice to have some momentum going into a game but you have to play hard every night.”
– Mark Ling