Teams: UC Davis vs. Cal Poly
Records: Aggies 21-23 (6-9); Mustangs 8-33 (4-11)
Where: La Rue Field
When: Saturday at noon and 2 p.m.; Sunday at noon
Who to watch: Pitcher Jessica Thweatt will play a key role for the Aggies in their final two series.
The sophomore out of Sacramento has been a solid complement to ace hurler Alex Holmes, as Thweatt has posted a 3.33 ERA this season while tallying 44 strikeouts and a 6-6 record.
Did you know? Cal Poly has fallen well short of expectations this season.
The Mustangs were predicted to finish first in the Big West Conference Preseason Poll, edging second-place UC Davis by three points.
Cal Poly has not performed as predicted, however, and the Mustangs are currently tied for last in the league. Cal Poly’s winning percentage this season is below .200 and the team has lost 10 of its last 12 contests.
Preview: Last year’s series with Cal Poly was a key piece in the Aggies’ run to the NCAA Regionals. UC Davis swept the Mustangs in 2010, capping an 11-game win-streak.
If the Aggies want a similar result this time around, coach Karen Yoder believes the Aggies need to get on top at the plate.
“We need to get used to their pitching as soon as possible,” she said. “Whichever side adjusts to the opponent’s pitching fastest has a very good chance to take the series.”
The Aggies were able to jump on the Highlanders’ pitching last weekend, laying 28 runs on UC Riverside over the three-game series, including a 17-run performance on Saturday – the highest scoring performance by any team in the Big West this season.
UC Davis plans to use that momentum as the foundation of a good swing this weekend.
“We want to keep building on that performance,” Yoder said. “Hopefully we can have our offense at that same level this weekend.”
Getting two or three wins this series could give the Aggies a huge boost as they come down the home stretch. UC Davis is currently fifth in the conference, but with the top-four teams all facing off this weekend, Yoder knows this will be a chance for the Aggies to move up in the standings.
“Everyone in this program knows how important these games are,” Yoder said. “These final six games could propel us upward in the conference, and into position for postseason consideration on selection-Sunday.”
– Trevor Cramer