Baseball at UC Davis is finally underway as the team is set to play against Washington over the weekend. The Aggies’ first game will be held at Dobbins Stadium at 2 p.m. on Friday. Then they will play a double-header on Saturday and finish off the four game series on Sunday.
Earlier in the week, Coach Matt Vaughn had finalized the roster and can now focus more on the season. Infielder Paul Politi and the rest of the team have been preparing for the season to begin and the upcoming series.
“We’ve been practicing like we have been all Winter Quarter,” the senior said. “[We’ve been] preparing for the season and putting in our work and working on offense, defense, getting the kinks out. We’re ready for the season to start.”
Politi led the team in batting average, hits, runs batted in and total bases last year, while starting every game at third base. He was one of three Aggies to be selected to the All-Big West Conference team last season, including Scott Kalush and sophomore Nick Lynch with Anthony Kupbens voted as an honorable mention. Only Politi and Lynch are returning as Kalush and Kupbens have finished their college careers.
After a 27-30 record last season, the team is focusing on its strengths as the formula to its success.
“Coach Vaughn is very adamant about pitching, defense and he kind of pushes that on us a lot. The ballpark that we play in is really big so we’re not going to be hitting home runs a lot and it’s not really our game plan,” Politi said. “We’re more of a small ball, West-Coast-style-of-play team. Pitching and defense gets you outs.”
The team hit a combined 22 home runs last year and only allowed 25 with the help of the big outfield at Dobbins Stadium and solid defense.
The Aggies had an impressive 17-11 record at home last year, but were 10-19 on road games. Their conference record was even at 12-12.
The first two out of three series the Aggies will play are against Pac-12 teams, Washington and Utah, with one game in between versus San Jose State. The Aggies have the advantage of playing their first nine games at home to start the season before they travel to Oklahoma State in the first week of March.
“I think that without having to travel, we start off trying to get used to the season grind and being out on the field a little bit longer and wear and tear on your body,” Politi said. “You’ll be able to handle it and manage it better when you’re home, so I think that is going to help us out and get our feet rolling before we really start moving around and traveling.”
The season is set up to play a weekend series every week and a single game series in the middle of the week. The Aggies’ geographic location allows them more of an opportunity to travel than other schools. Throughout the season, they will play against Seattle, Stanford, Saint Mary’s and Nevada. However, potentially the most appealing series will be when they travel to Honolulu for a series against Hawai’i in May.
LUKE BAE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.