Teams: UC Davis at Oklahoma State
Records: Aggies, 5-4; Oklahoma State, 7-1
Where: Allie P. Reynolds Stadium — Stillwater, Okla.
When: Friday at 2 p.m.; Saturday at 1 p.m.; Sunday at 11 a.m.
Who to Watch: Senior Paul Politi is off to a good start to the season. In the nine games he started, he leads the team in runs (10), doubles (five), and runs batted in (nine). His batting average sits at .361 with a .465 slugging percentage.
He went 5-14 with three RBI, extending his hitting streak to 19 games in the series against Utah last weekend. He walked five times and scored four runs in the series, while homering on Sunday.
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 among 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 in his last year there. He was recognized 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.
Did you know? Nick Lynch is off to a hot start after hitting 7-17 over his last five games. During that span, he has driven in five runs, while scoring four himself.
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.
Preview: After a successful opening weekend of baseball, UC Davis struggled in a four-game series against Utah. The Aggies won the last game of the series on Monday and will look to use that momentum heading into Stillwater, Okla.
“After we played those first three games the way we played them, for [Lynch] to come out today and give us that effort was pretty special,” said Aggie coach Matt Vaughn. “We were on the ropes and he got us off the ropes and gave our offense a chance to do what our offense is capable of doing.”
Oklahoma State currently holds a record of 7-1 and is second in the Big-12 Conference to undefeated Oklahoma. The Cowboys are the winners of five straight games and have yet to lose at home, holding a record of 5-0. They finished fifth in the conference standings last year going 45-25 and have been an extremely good team playing in their own stadium. They have accumulated a home record of 87-37 over the past four seasons.
The Cowboys are hitting .301 as a team and are led by junior Tanner Krietemeier, who is hitting .414 and has eight RBI thus far. Their offense relies on a powerful and speedy combination. The team has hit seven home runs and has stolen 15 bases out of 16 attempts.
UC Davis comes into the series batting .335 as a team and consists of an offense of getting on base and doing the little things, such as running the bases well and stealing bases when possible, to win games.
The Aggies have a team earned-run average of 4.33 and have had strong starting pitching from junior Evan Wolf (1-0) and sophomore Spencer Koopmans (0-1). They have both started two games and have an ERA of 2.70 and 2.03, respectively.
— Luke Bae