Baseball preview

Teams: UC Davis at Fresno State; vs. Cal Poly
Records: Aggies 16-23 (4-8); Bulldogs 18-22; Mustangs 25-17 (9-6)
Where: Beiden Field — Fresno; Dobbins Field
When:  Wednesday 6:05 p.m.; Friday 2:30 p.m.; Saturday 1 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.
Who to watch: Sophomore designated hitter Nick Lynch mans the cleanup spot in the order, and for good reason: He leads the Aggies with a .330 average and .430 on-base percentage, and is second on the team with 17 runs batted in.
Did you know? If UC Davis can get a lead early, it’s pretty good at holding on to it. The Aggies are 14-2 when leading after six innings; however, their opponents have outscored them 28-9 in the eighth inning this season.
Preview: UC Davis baseball closes out its eight-game road trip at Fresno State tonight before returning to Davis for a Big West Conference battle with third-place Cal Poly.

Sophomore pitcher Evan Wolf will take the mound against the 2008 National Champion Bulldogs, looking for his second straight win after earning his first collegiate victory last week at San Francisco.

The Aggies will host their conference foes for a weekend matchup, hoping to shut down the big-hitting Mustangs.

Cal Poly leads the Big West in batting average, slugging percentage, hits, runs batted in, doubles and home runs. UC Davis counters with a trio of talented senior starting pitchers who will have little room for mistakes against such a good hitting team.

“The bright spot this season has been our pitching,” said head coach Matt Vaughn. “We will look at the scouting reports and we’ll come up with a plan. We’ve played some good offensive teams this season and we feel good about our pitchers keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to win.”

The UC Davis starters will have to slow down the top three Mustang hitters, most notably Mitch Haniger, who leads the Big West with a .615 slugging percentage, nine home runs and 46 runs batted in.

The Aggies have been powering up at the plate as well, with five home runs in their last six games. The problem, as for much of the season, hasn’t been getting guys on base, but getting them home. UC Davis is hitting close to the Mendoza Line with runners in scoring position, and leads the Big West with 30 double-plays grounded into.

The good news for the Aggies is that after their trip to Fresno State, they play seven of their next eight games at Dobbins Field, where they own a 10-8 record.

First, UC Davis must take care of business against the Bulldogs, first pitch on Beiden Field at 6:05 p.m. Friday’s game at Dobbins Field will start at 2:30 p.m.

— RUSSELL EISENMAN

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