Teams: UC Davis vs. Pacific
Records: Aggies, 20-26 (10-5); Tigers 32-16 (11-4)
Where: Bill Simoni Field — Stockton, Calif.
When: Friday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; Saturday at 10 a.m.
Who to watch: Rachel Miller is making the most of her final season at UC Davis. The senior catcher from Costa Mesa, Calif. continues to lead the Aggie offense with 30 hits on the year along with her team-high 21 runs batted in.
In relation to her Big West Conference counterparts, Miller’s offensive numbers demonstrate why she is one of the top catchers in the league.
Miller’s four doubles in league play are the second most in conference, while her two sacrifice flies tie her for the regular season lead.
To have a shot at this year’s conference championship, UC Davis will need Miller to continue to make big contributions to its offense.
Did you know? UC Davis trails Big West leaders Long Beach State and University of Pacific by only one game. The 49ers, with an 11-4 conference record, hope to separate themselves at the top this weekend when they play a three-game series against (7-8) Cal State Fullerton.
On the other hand, both the Tigers and Aggies are aiming for a series win in order to remain in contention for the league championship.
An interesting wrinkle that may favor UC Davis’ championship hopes is the fact that Long Beach State and Pacific face each other in the final weekend of the year. If the Aggies pull off a couple victories over the Tigers this weekend and follow up with a solid performance against Cal State Fullerton, they could be in prime position to claim the Big West title.
“We believed from the beginning that we should be right where we are,” said head coach Karen Yoder. “[Now] we just want to come out and battle.”
Preview: In a clash of past champions, 2010 league champion UC Davis travels to nearby Stockton, Calif. to face last year’s conference winner, Pacific.
The Tigers, who have won 11 of their last 14 games, are coming into the series strong with solid pitching and fantastic hitting. Pacific leads the Big West in almost every offensive category, including team batting average (.371), runs scored (72) and hits (30 more than second-place Fullerton).
Nikki Armagost received her third Big West Player of the Week recognition of the year, and leads the Tiger attack with 17 doubles and a .427 batting average.
Fans at this weekend’s games are in for a treat as UC Davis counters Pacific’s prolific offense with its great starting pitching duo consisting of freshman Justine Vela and junior Jessica Thweatt.
Together, these pitchers have cemented UC Davis’ status as a pitching powerhouse. It is due in large part to their performances that the Aggies are at the top of numerous pitching categories in the conference, such as earned-run average (1.28) and strikeouts (107).
— DOUG BONHAM