Teams: UC Davis vs. Cal Poly
Records: Aggies, 20-24 (4-11); Mustangs, 15-29 (6-12)
Where: Dobbins Stadium
When: Friday at 2:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Who to watch: Redshirt freshman Paul Politi is coming into his own.
In his first full season on the field as an Aggie, the third baseman out of Los Gatos, Calif. has started all of the team’s 43 games at the hot corner.
In addition to handling himself well defensively, Politi has had success at the plate to the tune of a .302 batting average.
“He’s come a long way as a hitter,” said coach Rex Peters. “He’s a hard worker because every time he practices taking a swing it’s with a purpose. He’s going to be a good college player and he’s probably been the most improved player we’ve had all year.”
Did you know? Cal Poly and UC Davis currently rank eighth and ninth respectively in the Big West Conference.
Preview: He’s back.
After resting for six games due to a muscle injury, shortstop Justin Schafer has returned to the lineup in a big way.
Powering UC Davis to victory over Saint Mary’s on Tuesday, Schafer went 2-for-5 with two runs, an RBI and a triple. Fellow slugger Kyle Mihaylo also contributed to the win with his team-leading seventh homerun of the season.
Though the return of Schafer and the recent resurgence of Mihaylo can only help, the Aggies are missing too many players due to injury.
“We’re so banged up health-wise,” Peters said, “that the guys will just have to find a way to win.”
One way to compensate for the lack of a healthy roster is to give your pitchers more innings than you normally would. As a result, Scott Lyman stayed on the mound for 140 pitches against Pacific last week.
However, the Aggies believe that the high workload is not solely a product of a shortened bench.
“[The injuries] are part of the deal,” Peters said. “His stuff is good and [Pacific] is pretty good offensive team. We don’t have a lot of guys to go to but he struggled with his command a bit.”
In order to beat a tough Big West opponent, the Aggies will have to not only pitch effectively, but swing the bats consistently as well.
“We’ve been swinging the bats decently,” Peters said. “We just have to put the nine best guys that we think we have a chance to win with and hopefully that’s good enough.”
– Mark Ling