Teams: UC Davis vs. Utah
Records: Aggies, 3-1; Utah, 1-2
Where: Dobbins Stadium, Davis
When: Friday 2 at p.m.; Saturday at 1 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m.; Monday at 12 p.m.
Who to Watch: Nick Lynch is off to a hot start after he hit 7 for 16 against Washington over the weekend. He came through in the clutch when the team needed hits and knocked in three runs.
Lynch is a sophomore from Burlingame, Calif. who played his high school ball at Saint Ignatius in San Francisco. He bats in the middle of the order and is usually the designated hitter. Last season, he was recognized as a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and also was selected for the All-Big West Conference second team.
Coming off a solid hitting year of batting .302 and holding a .450 slugging percentage, there are big expectations for Lynch. He showed a little bit of pop by hitting four home runs, but he mainly did his work with base hits and occasional walks accumulating a .392 on-base percentage.
Did you know? Senior Paul Politi started every single one of the 57 games last season. Occupying third base, he led the team in many offensive statistics including at-bats, batting average, hits, RBI and total bases. For every other statistic, he finished in the top five amongst his teammates.
Politi graduated from Los Gatos High School and dominated the competition, batting .477 with 17 doubles, four homers and a staggering .590 on-base percentage. He was recognized to be on the All-De Ariza League first team and the All-Bay World Series first team, while receiving the MVP award in the North-South All-Star Game in his senior year.
Preview: After a successful opening weekend of baseball, UC Davis will face off against Utah in a four-game series from Friday to Monday. The Aggies won their series at Washington by winning three out of four games last weekend.
Utah comes into the series with a record of 1-2 after it traveled to Los Angeles for a series against Loyola Marymount. The Utes finished last in the Pac-12 Conference standings last season, losing their final seven games. They held a conference record of 7-23 and an overall record of 14-42. Utah’s pitching staff held a 5.20 earned-run average, which was the worst in the Pac-12 last year, and its offense struggled to generate runs. The team finished last in batting average, runs, hits, walks and strikeouts in the conference last season.
UC Davis looks to improve from a 27-30 record last year, which had an impressive home record of 17-11 and 10-19 on the road. Its conference record was even at 12-12 and finished fifth in the Big West Conference in 2012.
The team hit a combined 22 home runs last year and only allowed 25 with the help of the big home outfield and solid defense.
With their first nine games being played at home, the Aggies will look to take advantage of sleeping in their own beds until they travel to Stillwater, Okla. to play Oklahoma State in 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 it’s going to help us out and get our feet rolling before we really start moving around and traveling.”
The forecast shows no signs of rain, so it looks to be a favorable weekend of baseball in Davis.
— Luke Bae