Baseball Preview: UC Davis

Baseball Preview: UC Davis

Cal State Fullerton has been steamrolling through the first half of the 2013 season, winning their first ten games for the first time in the history of the program and putting together another ten game winning streak after sweeping Long Beach State, the first time they have won ten games in a row twice in a season since 2001.

Fullerton started last week with a midweek game against LMU and saw their winning streak snapped as the Lions put together a three run rally in the seventh inning to pull off the 3-2 upset.  The Titans rebounded from the loss to LMU by taking their frustrations out on Pacific in the first series on the conference schedule and bludgeoned the Tigers by a cumulative score of 45-8 with 9-2, 11-6 and 25-0 blowouts in the final series that the teams will play with Pacific moving on to the West Coast Conference after this season.  Fullerton improved their record to 24-4 at the halfway point of the season with the sweep of the Tigers.

 

Fullerton looked like they were ready to go for win #11 in a row when they scored first against LMU last Tuesday when Richy Pedroza led off the first with a single and eventually scored on a SF by Michael Lorenzen but that would be it for the scoring through the first six innings as Koby Gauna and Tyler Peitzmeier and Lions starter Patrick McGrath traded zeroes and the Titans had runners thrown out by Team USA catcher Colton Plaia in each of the first three innings.  LMU took the lead against the Fullerton middle relievers in the seventh inning with three runs on three hits, a walk and three wild pitches that brought home two of the runs.  The Titans stranded a runner at second in the bottom of the inning and scored a run in the eighth when Austin Kingsolver singled, stole second and went to third on a throwing error and scored on a Chad Wallach single but that was as close as Fullerton would get after going down in order in the ninth.

 

The opening game of the series last Thursday against Pacific was a pitchers duel for the first half of the game as the teams were scoreless until the Tigers took the lead with a run in the fourth and Pacific starter Michael Benson kept Fullerton off of the scoreboard until the fifth, when the Titans exploded for seven runs.  Jake Jefferies got the inning started with a single, bunt singles by Austin Diemer and Keegan Dale loaded the bases, Pedroza walked to force in a run to tie the game, a SF by Carlos Lopez gave Fullerton the lead, the runners moved up on a wild pitch, J.D. Davis' single brought home two runs, Wallach followed with a single and Lorenzen launched one to left center for a three run HR to blow the game open.  Pacific scored a run in the sixth and the Titans scored a run in each of the seventh and eighth innings to wrap up the scoring.  Thomas Eshelman was effective once again as he improved his record to 6-1 after allowing two runs on four hits with eight strikeouts and extended his streak to 50 innings without allowing a walk.

 

Fullerton jumped on Pacific with four runs in the first inning, a run in the second and two more in the third to put things away early on Friday.  Lopez reached base on an error, Davis, Lorenzen and Hutting all walked to force in a run, a balk scored another run and Jefferies single drove in two runs.  The Titans scored in the second when Pedroza tripled and scored on Lopez's ground out.  Fullerton stretched the lead to 7-0 in the third when Wallach and Lorenzen singled and Jefferies doubled them home.  The Tigers scored runs in the fourth and fifth innings before the Titans extended the lead in the fifth when Hutting walked, Jefferies tripled him in and Diemer singled in Jefferies.  The only suspense in this game came in the bottom of the sixth when Jefferies came up with a runner on and needing only an HR for the cycle and he came thru with a laser into the RF screen for a two run HR to become what is believed to be the only player to hit for the cycle in Fullerton history as he finished up with seven RBI on the night.  Justin Garza improved his record to 6-0 with the win after allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.

 

The final game of the series was pretty much over before Pacific even got off of their team bus after Fullerton scored nine runs in the first inning and piled on with eleven more runs in the sixth as the Titans scored in six of eight innings in which they came up to bat and Fullerton scored their most runs in one game since 2004.  The highlight of the opening inning barrage was back to back HR's by Lorenzen (his was a grand slam) and Hutting.  Pedroza had four hits, four runs and four RBI, Lorenzen had three hits and four RBI, Dale had three hits and four runs, Lopez had three hits and backup catcher A.J. Kennedy had two hits and three RBI.  Grahamm Wiest was the beneficiary of the scoring bonanza and threw seven shutout innings in improving his record to 5-1.

Fullerton hasn't usually had too many standouts in weekend series with the team's average often hovering around the .240's but there were plenty of players who padded their stats against Pacific as the team hit .415 in the series with 51 hits and also continued to show good patience with 18 walks and seven HBP's.  Lorenzen went 7-12 with two HR's and seven RBI, Pedroza went 8-15 with seven runs and five RBI, Jefferies went 7-14 with an HR, eight RBI and hit for the cycle in the second game, Davis went 5-12 with five RBI, Diemer went 4-10, Lopez and Wallach both went 4-11 and Dale went 4-13 with five runs.  The starting pitchers didn't need to stand out last weekend with the way that the Titans were crushing the ball but they did their job with a 2.14 ERA, allowing only sixteen hits and a walk in 21 innings with nineteen strikeouts.

 

Fullerton started this week with a game on Tuesday at UCLA in a matchup of top ten teams and the Titans continued to hammer the ball and won 9-6 to pick up their first midweek win in Westwood since 2010.  Fullerton played some shoddy defense and made five errors but they were able to overcome that at the plate with twelve hits and eight walks as Lorenzen led the way with four hits and three RBI.  The Titans will continue to play on the road this weekend with their first conference series away from Goodwin Field when they travel up to northern California to take on the UC Davis Aggies, who won their first series of the season but have dropped their last five weekend series. 

UC Davis Aggies (10-16, 0-3)

·       2012 Overall Record – 27-30

·       2012 Conference Record – 12-12 (5th)

·       2012 Post-Season – None

·       2013 RPI/ISR – 217/186.  2012 RPI/ISR – 168/95. 

·       Current/pre-season ranking – None

·       Predicted conference finish – 9th by the Big West coaches, Baseball America and Easton College Baseball, 10th by Perfect Game

2012 Summary and 2013 Preview

UC Davis qualified for a regional in 2008 in their first year of Division I eligibility with a veteran team in their first year as a full member of the Big West and went through a rebuilding phase after that, going 13-42 in 2009, getting off to a 12-9 start in 2010 before the pitching staff imploded due to injuries and they finished 26-29 and going 18-36 in 2011 and tied for sixth in the Big West with a 10-14 conference record.  Head coach Rex Peters left the program after the season and long-time pitching coach Matt Vaughn was promoted to the head coaching position.

It looked like the Aggies would be heading for a similar season in 2012 when they started out 11-17 after being swept at Fullerton after leading late in the first two games.  The Aggies continued to struggle and only went 5-8 over the next three weeks, including series losses at UC Riverside and UCSB, before the light bulb went on and UC Davis was the hottest team in the conference in May and won series at home against the teams that finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the Big West – Cal Poly, Long Beach and UC Irvine – and also picked up a series win at Northridge to finish fifth in the conference at 12-12, their best Big West record since 2008.

UC Davis expected to have a solid offense in 2011 with seven starters back but they struggled with the BBCOR bats and never got untracked and had the worst offense in the Big West.  The Aggies got off to another slow start at the plate last season and only had three HR's, were hitting .261 and averaging under four runs a game going into the Fullerton series but hit 19 HR's, improved their average by fifteen points, their SLG % by forty points and scored five runs or more in seventeen games the rest of the way.  UC Davis was not a patient team at the plate, averaging less than three walks per game, but they led the conference and were #6 in the country at getting hit by pitches.  The Aggies did a good job of making contact and were the toughest team to strike out in the Big West.   Playing little ball wasn't a big part of what UC Davis wanted to and they were average at stealing bases and bunting runners over.

UC Davis had a 4.41 ERA in 2011, which was over two runs better than their ERA in 2010, and their ERA was even better in 2012 with an all senior rotation that was very solid with each of the three weekend starters having ERA's under 3.60 and they threw eleven complete games.  The Aggies had a solid closer and one decent middle reliever but had little pitching depth with no other pitcher having an ERA under 5.00, which is why their starters pitched so deep into games.  UC Davis cut down on their walks by an average of one per game to finish 20th nationally in walks per game.  The Aggies didn't have too many big arms and were below average at striking hitters out, relying on keeping the ball down and having hitters pound the ball into ground.

Despite playing so well in the last month of 2012, expectations weren't high for UC Davis coming into this season with most people picking the Aggies to finish in the last two spots in the conference standings after losing all three starting pitchers and five senior position players.  UC Davis started out the season by playing four game series at home against two of the lower level teams in the Pac 12, Washington and Utah, and won three of four against the Huskies when the pitching was solid before losing three of four against the Utes when the pitching was awful.  The Aggies went on the road for the first time and lost their series at Oklahoma State, returned home and lost their series to Bakersfield before playing on the road the last two weekends and losing their series at Seattle, losing the final two games by a run, and getting swept in their Big West opening series at Cal Poly, losing the opener by a run and the final game of the series in thirteen innings.   

After getting their offense going in the second half of 2012, the bats have stayed hot for UC Davis despite losing so many starters and the Aggies have been in the top third of the conference in AVG and scoring most of the season and have scored at least five runs in eleven games.  Unlike when the Aggies got on a roll by hitting balls out of the ballpark in the second half of last season, UC Davis has only hit three HR's in a ballpark where it is tough to hit them out but they are near the conference lead in doubles and have been hitting almost two doubles a game.  The Aggies still aren't patient at the plate, aren't afraid to take a HBP and are once again the toughest team in the Big West to strike out and they do a good job of making contact and making pitchers work.  The running game for UC Davis is virtually nonexistent and they rarely bunt runners over.

UC Davis figured they would have trouble getting hitters out after losing all three weekend starters and that has been the case with the team ERA going up by over a run per game and the Aggies have already allowed at least five runs in fourteen games.  All three starters were relievers/midweek starters in 2012 and only one of them has an ERA under 5.50.  UC Davis has been getting solid work out of their two main pitchers out of the bullpen but everybody else has an ERA over 4.00.  The Aggies are allowing teams to hit 35 points higher than they did in 2012 and have been walking more hitters and combined with a defense that has had issues that has resulted in too many runners ending up on base and eventually scoring.

 

Offense

·       Park Factor according to Boyd's World – 79 (decreases offense by 21%).  410 to CF, 385 to the power alleys, plenty of foul territory.

·       Batting Average – .289 (4th in the Big West/63rd nationally).  .274 in 2012 (5/157). 

·       Scoring – 139 (4/108), 5.6 runs per game.  248 (5/247), 4.4 runs per game in 2012. 

·       Home Runs – 3 (9/250).  22 (2/169) in 2012. 

·       Slugging Percentage – .367 (5/133).  .364 in 2012 (3/188). 

·       On Base Percentage – .373 (4/78).  .356 (6/168) in 2012.

·       Walks – 76 (6/229), 3.0 per game.  159 (8/256), 2.8 per game. 

·       HBP's – 44 (3/18).  100 (1/6) in 2012. 

·       Strikeouts – 121 (10/xx), 4.8 per game.  280 in 2012 (9/xx), 4.9 per game.

·       Stolen Bases – 8-14 (9/283).  37-63 in 2012 (6/234). 

·       Sac Bunts – 14 (9/204).  56 in 2012 (4/65). 



Infield

 

UC Davis lost three SR starters at C, 1B and 2B but returns a three year starter at 3B and has an experienced player back who split time at 1B/DH and two who shared time at SS in 2012.

C – JR #18 Spencer Brann (LH – .291/.418/.327, 0-6-0.  '12 – .344/.382/.459, 1-11-0 in 61 AB's) hit well in limited duty in 2012, was the backup C and has taken over for four year starter and 2nd team All-Big West catcher Scott Kalush.  He only hit .231 in the first two weeks of the season but has been hitting better and hit .345 over the last month while usually hitting 7th or 8th.  Brann doesn't have much pop but has good plate discipline with a 9/11 BB/K ratio.  He went 3-8 in two starts at Fullerton in 2012. 

C/DH – FR #25 Cameron Olson (LH – .343/.465/.343, 0-10-0 in 35 AB's) has split time between DH and C, usually playing once a week behind the plate.  He does a good job of getting on base but doesn't have any extra-base hits.

  

1B/DH – Soph #13 Nick Lynch (RH – .369/.455/.464, 1-16-0.  '12 – .302/.392/.450, 4-26-0) only had 40 AB's and 8 RBI going into the series at Fullerton while playing behind three year starter Eric Johnson but took advantage of some injuries to Johnson to get playing time and hit his way into staying in the lineup and led the team in SLG and ended up being named 2nd team All-Big West after finishing in the top ten for RBI in conference games.  Lynch has thrived with regular playing time while usually hitting 5th and is in the top five in the Big West in AVG and OBP and leads the team in SLG.  He also doesn't mind taking a HBP and got hit 11 times in 2012 and leads the conference with 9 HBP's.  Lynch has started 17 games at 1B and 7 at DH.  He went 2-12 at Fullerton in 2012.  SR #34 Austin Logan (LH – .304 in 23 AB's.  '12 – .308, 0-12-1 in 65 AB's) has been starting once a week when Lynch moves over to 1B.

2B – #28 JC transfer Steven Patterson (LH – .333/.400/.379, 0-14-0) beat out several returning players in taking over for Ryan Allgrove and has been a force in the middle of the lineup.  He doesn't have much power for a cleanup hitter but he does a good job of spraying the ball around and has an excellent 7-6 BB/K ratio.  Patterson got off to a hot start in the first couple of weeks before cooling off for a while but he hit well last week at Cal Poly when he went 5-12.

SS – Soph #14 Tino Lipson (LH – .257/.354/.300, 0-5-2.  '12 – .306/.347/.344, 0-17-3) and Soph #2 Evan Heptig (RH – .263/.396/.342 in 38 AB's.  '12 – .163, 0-4-1 in 80 AB's) have been platooning with Lipson getting the playing time against RHP's and leading off due to his good speed while Heptig usually hits at the bottom of the order.  Lipson went 4-8 last weekend at Cal Poly in two starts and was 1-7 in 2012 at Fullerton.  JR #3 Adam Young (RH – .190 in 21 AB's.  '12 – .205 in 44 AB's, 0-4-0) is the backup at 2B and SS.


3B – SR #24 Paul Politi (RH – .276/.350/.419, 2-19-2.  '12 – .345/.395/.441, 3-32-2.  '11 – .255/.319/.314, 1-10-2.  '10 – .296/.385/.376, 1-25-2) is a four year starter who had a solid season as a FR but didn't his as well in 2011 with the BBCOR bats and missed the last six weeks of the season with an injury.  Politi was one of the most consistent hitters on the team in 2012, leading the Aggies in RBI, finishing in the top ten in the conference in AVG and H and earning 2nd team All-Big West honors.  He was hitting well all season until cooling off last weekend at Cal Poly when he went 1-14.  Politi has excellent plate discipline with a 10/7 BB/K ratio and hits third.  He went 2-10 at Fullerton last season and is 5-32 in his career against the Titans.

 

Outfield

UC Davis lost four year starter LF David Popkins, who was 1st team All-Big West in 2010 and 2011, and three year starter CF Brett Morgan and has one starter back in the OF and the Aggies have been platooning several players in the corners.   

LF – SR #8 Seth Batty (RH – .283/.377/.383, 0-3-3.  '12 – Redshirt.  '11 – .205/.308/.216, 0-4-2) is one of the faster runners on the team and has been working his way back into the lineup after missing last season with an injury.  He has good plate discipline with a 6/8 BB/K ratio.  Batty was a sparkplug last weekend at Cal Poly when he went 5-10.

LF/DH – SR #26 Mike Mazzara (RH – .293/.325/.373, 0-12-0.  .227 in 22 AB's) has split time between LF (12 starts) and DH (8 starts) but only made one plate appearance last weekend at Cal Poly.  He goes up to the plate hacking and only has three walks.

CF – Soph #4 Kevin Barker (RH – .263/.356/.342, 0-12-0.  '12 – .300/.370/.447, 2-19-4) started in RF as a FR and has moved over to CF.  He has some pop in his bat and good speed but neutralizes that with poor plate discipline with a 6/21 BB/K ratio and is fifth in the Big West in strikeouts, which is why he usually hits 6th or 7th instead of higher in the order.  Barker went 1-11 with six strikeouts at Cal Poly last weekend and went 3-8 at Fullerton in 2012.

RF – Soph #43 John Williams (LH – .293/.318/.415, 0-17-1.  '12 – .182, 0-8-3 in 77 AB's) has good speed and was starting early as a FR before getting beaten out by Barker after Williams got off to a slow start.  He has taken advantage of the chance to get more playing time this season and is second on the team in RBI while usually hitting second.  Soph #23 Austin March (LH – .105 in 19 AB's.  '12 – .229, 0-1-0 in 35 AB's) and FR #20 Tanner Bily (RH – .250 in 20 AB's) have each been starting about once a week.

 

Defense

Fielding % – .955 (9/252) with 44 errors.  .967 (6/128) with 73 errors in 2012.  The defense for UC Davis has regressed after losing some solid players and contributed to the pitchers allowing 29 unearned runs and the infielders have made 27 errors.  Lynch has been good at 1B, Patterson has been average at 2B, Lipson has been poor at SS and Heptig has been solid there, Politi is very good at 3B.  When the Aggies have Batty, Barker and Williams in the lineup together they have good range but runners can take extra bases on their arms.

Stolen Base Attempts – 33-46 (10/xx).  46-69 (8/xx) in 2012.  Kalush got much better against the running game by the time he was a SR in 2012 and runners were 36-53 against him.  Runners were 10-12 against Brann in 2012 and he has been solid at throwing runners out with teams 16-27 on steal attempts against him while they are 15-17 against the backup catchers.

WP's/PB's Allowed – 21 (2/xx).  50 (7/xx) in 2012.  68 (8th) in 2011.

Kalush also improved at blocking pitches and went from bad to average.  Brann has done a good job at blocking pitches.

Pitching

·       ERA – 5.27 (9/235).  4.09 (5/109) in 2012. 

·       AVG – .303 (9/252).  .267 (5/101) in 2012. 

·       HR – 14 (10/xx).  25 (9/xx) in 2012. 

·       Walks – 79 (3/80), 3.2 BB/9 IP.  154 (2/20), 2.7 BB/9 IP in 2012. 

·       HBP – 26 (5/xx).  48 (4/xx) in 2012. 

·       OBP – .373 (9/xx).  .333 (4/xx) in 2012. 

·       SLG – .435 (10/xx).  .360 (6/xx) in 2012. 

·       WHIP – 1.58 (9/204).  1.31 (4/52) in 2012.

·       Strikeouts – 125 (8/273), 5.1 K/9 IP.  336 (6/227), 5.9 K/9 IP in 2012. 

Starters 

UC Davis had a veteran starting staff in 2012 with three seniors getting the ball on weekends but Anthony Kupbens, Dayne Quist and Tom Briner have moved on and the Aggies have been relying on midweek starters and relievers from last season with mixed results.

JR #31 Harry Stanwyck (RHP – 3-3, 5.70 ERA, 7 GS, 36 IP, 42 H, 14 BB, 24 K, .296 AVG, 2 HR, 0 HBP, 1 WP, 4-5 SB.  '12 – 3-4, 2.21 ERA, 5 saves, 24 apps, 41 IP, 34 H, 18 BB, 32 K, .236 AVG, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 4 WP, 2-5 SB) was the midweek starter in 2011 but was moved to closer last season and was effective most of the time.  He is a tall guy who is the hardest thrower in the weekend rotation and usually tough on RH hitters but has struggled as a starter.  Stanwyck allowed 4 R in 5 1/3 IP against Washington, 6 R (4 ER) in 5 1/3 IP against Utah, 4 R in 7 IP at Oklahoma State, 5 R (3 ER) in 4 IP against Bakersfield, 4 R (3 ER) in 7 IP in his best start at Seattle and gave up 5 R on 8 H and 3 BB in 5 2/3 IP at Cal Poly last weekend.  Stanwyck blew the save in the opening game of the series at Fullerton in 2012, inheriting a runner at 1B in a 4-3 game and giving up a walk and a single before Clay Williamson's bases loaded single brought home the tying and go ahead runs.

6'5" Soph #11 Spencer Koopmans (RHP – 0-4, 6.96 ERA, 7 apps, 6 GS, 32 IP, 39 H, 10 BB, 22 K, .300 AVG, 2 HR, 6 HBP, 3 WP, 8-11 SB.  '12 – 0-2, 5.31 ERA, 1 save, 16 apps, 5 GS, 39 IP, 47 H, 14 BB, 24 K, .307 AVG, 5 HR, 5 HBP, 5 WP, 5-7 SB) is another tall thrower who pitched mostly in relief in 2012 with mixed results and he has been inconsistent this year.  He had two very good starts against Washington (6 1/3 IP, 1 R) and Utah (7 IP, 3 R, 2 ER) to start the season but has struggled since then, allowing 8 R in 1 2/3 IP at Oklahoma State, 3 R in 2 IP against Bakersfield, 5 R (4 ER) in 6 2/3 IP at Seattle and 7 R in 6 2/3 IP at Cal Poly.  Koopmans is usually around the plate but his pitches have a tendency to flatten out and get hit.

6'5" JR #36 Evan Wolf (RHP – 1-0, 3.41 ERA, 7 GS, 34 IP, 32 H, 9 BB, 7 K, .271 AVG, 1 HR, 7 HBP, 1 WP, 8-11 SB.  '12 – 3-4, 5.82 ERA, 9 GS, 39 IP, 34 H, 14 BB, 17 K, .241 AVG, 3 HR, 6 HBP, 4 WP, 5-5 SB) split time in 2012 as a midweek and weekend starter when Quist missed a few starts and has been the most effective starter in the weekend rotation.  After starting on a pitch count and throwing three innings against Washington, he had four straight starts against Utah, Oklahoma State, Bakersfield and Seattle when he allowed either one or two runs before struggling at Cal Poly when he allowed 4 R on 8 H in 3 IP.  Wolf isn't as hard of a thrower as the other two starters and pitches to contact.

 

Relievers  

With UC Davis having to bump several pitchers from relief roles to weekend starting roles, the bullpen has been in a state of flux.  The Aggies have been found a solid closer and set-up man but the rest of the relief staff has been inconsistent.  UC Davis only has one LHP in their bullpen.

FR #19 Max Cordy (RHP – 4-3, 2.89 ERA, 3 saves, 12 apps, 19 IP, 9 H, 8 BB, 12 K, .145 AVG, 0 HR, 3 HBP, 4 WP, 2-2 SB) has been a workhorse out of the bullpen and is among the leaders in the Big West in appearances and has been tough to hit.  He is able to go a couple of innings to finish things off and threw five innings in last Sunday's marathon at Cal Poly before allowing the game winning run in his sixth inning of work.

Soph #15 Craig Lanza (RHP – 0-0, 2.11 ERA, 1 save, 11 apps, 21 IP, 21 H, 4 BB, 14 K, .259 AVG, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 0-0 SB.  '12 – 1-1, 3.94 ERA, 15 apps, 32 IP, 33 H, 10 BB, 19 K, .280 AVG, 2 HR, 6 HBP, 4 WP, 2-2 SB) has been the primary set-up man and has been very effective.  He is a strike thrower with very good control and able to go a couple of innings to help shorten games to get the ball from the starters to Cordy.

 

Other relievers

JC transfer #9 Robert Parucha (RHP – 1-1, 4.11 ERA, 7 apps, 15 IP, 24 H, 10 BB, 12 K, .393 AVG, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 0 WP, 3-4 SB)

SR #16 Patrick Hennessey (RHP – 0-1, 0.00 ERA, 7 apps, 6 IP, 6 H, 3 unearned runs, 5 BB, 6 K.  '12 – 1-1, 5.16 ERA, 13 apps, 23 IP, 28 H, 10 BB, 13 K, .298 AVG, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 0 WP, 4-4 SB)

SR #17 Ben Burke (RHP – 0-2, 5.79 ERA, 3 apps, 2 GS, 9 IP, 10 H, 8 BB, 4 K, .286 AVG.  '12 – 2-3, 5.23 ERA, 16 apps, 3 GS, 33 IP, 33 H, 22 BB, 21 K, .273 AVG, 1 HR, 4 HBP, 5 WP, 9-10 SB)

FR #44 Spencer Henderson (LHP – 1-0, 7.36 ERA, 4 apps, 11 IP, 15 H, 2 BB, 9 K, .349 AVG, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 0-1 SB) is the only LHP on the pitching staff who would be likely to make an appearance this weekend.

 

Outlook

Fullerton has continued to play well throughout the season with only a couple of hiccups in midweek games.  The Titans were finding ways to win games with plate discipline and timely hitting earlier in the season but the bats have come alive lately and they have continued to put down the hammer when they have had the chance with five sweeps in the first seven weekends, with Pacific faring about as well as a walnut does when facing the hammer that is coming down on it. 

Fullerton has owned the series with UC Davis since they moved up to Division I in 2005 and the Titans have won 22 of 24 games, including thirteen in a row, with the Aggies two wins coming at Goodwin Field in 2006 and 2008.  UC Davis gave Fullerton all they could handle last season with the Titans needing late inning comebacks to win the first two games before routing the demoralized Aggies in the final game of the series.

Fullerton has continued to stick with their patient approach at the plate and now that their bats have warmed up the offense has become explosive and the Titans should be able to score plenty of runs this weekend with a UC Davis pitching staff that has struggled to hold teams down.  The Aggies aren't patient at the plate so they aren't likely to draw too many walks this weekend but they do a good job of making contact and putting the ball in play and have been solid on offense.  The Fullerton pitchers will be focusing on forcing UC Davis to put string together several singles to score runs.

There figures to be a major mismatch between the two pitching staffs.  The Fullerton starting rotation has been outstanding in almost every start and the bullpen has started to throw well also after having a few issues earlier in the year.  The UC Davis starters have had difficulty getting batters out their second and third times through the lineup and the Aggies are just hoping to get their starters into the sixth inning to get the ball to their set-up man and closer.  As long as the Titans hitters continue to be patient they figure to make this a long weekend for the UC Davis pitching staff.

The formula for somebody to beat Fullerton in a weekend series figures to be a team that has strike throwers who make the Titans swing the bats, plays solid defense and squares up pitches with the Fullerton pitchers throwing so many strikes.  Of course, that's easier said than done to find too many teams who are able to do that and UC Davis doesn't look like one of them.  The Aggies swing the bats well but they have had issues on defense and their pitching has struggled all season and Fullerton should win this series and it wouldn't be much of a surprise if the Titans swept their fourth straight road series this weekend.

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