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Aggies hope for fresh start against Seattle

Layercake: UC Davis looks to get 2014 off on right foot in season-opening series

Teams: UC Davis vs. Seattle University

Records: Aggies, 0-0 (0-0); Redhawks, 0-0 (0-0)

Where: Dobbins Baseball Complex — Davis, Calif.

When: Friday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 15 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 16 at 1 p.m.

Who to watch:

Steven Patterson hit .324 last year, and he was the seventh-hardest player to strike out in the NCAA based on strikeouts per plate appearance. According to head coach Matt Vaughn, the Aggies have high expectations for their star second baseman, who was a second-team All-Big West member last year.

“We’re lucky to have him back,” Vaughn said. “He should have gotten drafted last year.”

Preview:

The UC Davis baseball team will look to bounce back from a disappointing 2013 campaign when it opens its 2014 season with a four-game series against Seattle University beginning Friday, Feb. 14.

The Aggies went 19-37 last year, including 5-22 in conference play, and head coach Matt Vaughn attributes some of the team’s struggles to inexperience.

“We were replacing eight starters, and we were young,” Vaughn said.  “We were new at a lot of positions, and we played bad defense at a lot of those positions and that really hurt us.”

With more experience this time around, Vaughn has noticed a higher focus level among the players.

“I think they’re more focused, attentive group, and we’re going to play the game better,” he said. “We will be better.”

Vaughn also said that he has high expectations for sophomore pitcher Spencer Henderson and junior first baseman Nick Lynch, who both played and succeeded in the Cape Cod league this summer.

This year’s captains are seniors Patterson, Harry Stanwick and Eric Wolf.

For their season opening series, the Aggies take on the Seattle Redhawks, who went 21-33 last year (10-16 in the WAC).

The opening series is important not only for the players to get off on the right foot, but also for the coaches to gauge their offseason practices and preparations.

“You’re always anxious at this time of year,” Vaughn said. “You’ve been playing each other all fall. We, as a program, look at practice as our time as coaches to prepare a guy and get them ready. And that first weekend, you find out, ‘Are they ready?’ ‘Have we practiced this enough?’ I look for us to be ready to play. We’re a year older, and I think that experience will show throughout the season.”

— Scott Dresser

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