Column: Play ball!

Spring is in the air, and that means it’s time for laying out on the Quad, Picnic Day and yes, Major League Baseball.

By the time this reaches print, baseball will have already gone through Opening Day (or it’s “second Opening Day” depending on your perspective), and that makes this the perfect time to explore which UC Davis teams match up with squads from the Major Leagues.

Baseball: Since we’re comparing UC Davis to the MLB, it seems only natural to begin with the UC Davis baseball team.

And my diagnosis will make part of this campus smile and the other parts curse in their chairs.

UC Davis baseball provides a striking resemblance to the San Francisco Giants.

Both teams will be carried by their pitching staffs, and just as the Giants tout the starting abilities of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, the Aggies lean heavily on Dayne Quist, Anthony Kubpens and Tom Briner.

The UC Davis trio may never receive any Cy Young consideration, but if the three pitchers continue to throw at this level for the remainder of the season, there is a reasonable chance that all three will be selected in the MLB draft this summer.

And while neither the Giants nor the Aggies have any single bat in their lineup that strikes fear into their opponent’s hearts, both teams have a relatively solid batting order from top to bottom, and will be able to create scoring chances.

Softball: UC Davis softball is the Putah Creek version of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Yes, it’s true that the Aggies are not coming off a national title, but both teams lost their best player of the last several seasons during the offseason and are looking to replace their production during the 2012 campaign.

For the Cardinals the loss was Albert Pujols, and the jury is still out on whether or not the team will be able to recover from losing his production.

The loss for UC Davis was pitcher/leadoff hitter Alex Holmes, who was a dominant force for the Aggies over the past four seasons. Fortunately for UC Davis, it has found at least a partial replacement for Holmes’ abilities in the pitching circle: freshman standout Justine Vela.

The Bakersfield, Calif. native leads the Big West Conference in both ERA and strikeouts.

Still, the Aggies have struggled to replace Holmes’ bat, sitting near the bottom of the Big West in several offensive categories.

Women’s golf: UC Davis women’s golf compares nicely to the New York Yankees.

It seems like both teams enter every season as top contenders for a title — the Yankees for the World Series, the Aggies for the Big West.

Additionally, over the past several seasons both UC Davis and New York have been able to retool following every player they lose.

The bookmakers currently have the Yankees as the favorite to win the American League, as two-time defending Big West Champions the Aggies have to be considered favorites to repeat again.

Lacrosse: UC Davis lacrosse is the Colorado Rockies, a team that is not the favorite to win their division, let alone the national championship, but if a few things fall the right way could contend for a conference title.

And if the Aggies are the Rockies, junior Elizabeth Datino is Troy Tulowitzki.

Datino has been among the nation’s leading scorers so far this season, and if she keeps attacking the goal at the same frenetic pace, UC will have a chance to make some noise this season.

Men’s golf: UC Davis men’s golf is the Washington Nationals.

Both the Aggies and the Nats are built around young lineups, and both squads will not be considered serious contenders in the 2012 season.

Still, both teams have bright futures, and just as Washington has an outside shot to make the postseason if things fall in its favor, UC Davis could repeat as conference champions if they can put things together in the Big West Tournament.

TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.

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