Sunday, April 20, 2014

Aggies hope a year’s diamond experience aids them in rugged Big West


UCD second baseman Steven Patterson throws to first to complete a double play in a game last season. Patterson hit .324 for the Aggies last season. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

From page B1 | February 11, 2014 | Leave Comment

In 35 years of Division I play, UC Davis’ Big West Conference rival Cal State Fullerton has never had a losing season.

The Titans have made 16 College World Series appearances and won four NCAA championships.

After a 51-10 season in 2013 — including a 23-4 league mark — veteran-filled Fullerton is not only picked to win the Big West, it is ranked No. 1 in the land.

Lucky UCD.

The Aggies, coming off a 19-37 mark and a last-place conference finish, don’t care about all the pre-season rankings. A recent poll of Big West coaches has UCD picked dead last.

That’s water off a duck’s back to coach Matt Vaughn. Not a pitch has been thrown this spring. Those first curveballs will be served up Friday at 2 p.m. when Seattle comes to Dobbins Stadium for a four-game opening series.

Vaughn likes his young team. He expects it to improve from a defense-challenged 2013.

Is it going to push Fullerton, Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara for the league’s top rung? Don’t bet on it. But this is baseball. Stranger things have happened.

Vaughn believes his guys have learned from last year.

“We’re a year older,” the third-year skipper told The Enterprise. “Everyone has a year under their belts … not quite as many nerves. You focus on playing the game, not the opponent or the circumstances.”

That said, Vaughn has a handful of intriguing players who will be trying to prove the Big West majority wrong in their assessment of the Aggies as a cellar-dweller.

Brilliant second baseman Steve Patterson, a senior by way of San Joaquin Delta College, returns. He is lauded by his coach “as a player we will build around” after hitting .324 as a junior while driving in 33 runs with a .412 slugging percentage.

Junior Nick Lynch — who is in a dogfight for time at third base — led the 2013 Aggies at the plate with a .359 average. The St. Ignatius High grad is battling senior Adam Young for hot-corner status.

UCD struggled at shortstop last season and it was Young who moved to the position and gave the locals some stability there.

But Paul Politi has graduated. Gone with the former third baseman are a team-high five home runs, 36 RBIs and 41 runs.

If El Cerrito High junior Tino Lipson (.339, 31 runs and 10 steals) can hold down shortstop, it gives the Aggies depth on the left side.

Lipson and Evan Heptig at short, Young and Lynch at third.

Mix in sometime-pitcher/.356-hitter Spencer Henderson at first base and — at least going into the opening set against Seattle — there is experience and some punch in the infield.

Furthermore, Patterson and Lipson should be keys to the Aggies playing a more aggressive brand of baseball.

Behind the plate, Vaughn has a situation that most college coaches would love …

UCD has three capable catchers — and Vaughn sees each being used, similar to last season when Cameron Olson (.274), Spencer Brann (.272) and Izaak Silva (.220) shared time.

Sophomore Olson of River Valley High (Yuba City) led the trio with 16 runs batted in and hit the only homer in the group. San Benito grad Brann had the most starts (31) but only nine RBIs. He provides senior leadership with the pitching staff. Soquel junior Silva had 12 starts.

“No one really ran away with the position … they’ve all done really well in the fall and each is catching pretty good, so it’s probably going to be the guy that’s swinging it best that is going to be back there,” says Vaughn, adding that moving those starts around is OK by him.

“(Catcher) is a position where you need two or three good players anyway. All those guys are going to help.”

In the vast reaches of the Dobbins Stadium outfield, Vaughn has seven rostered outfielders from which to choose, and five have emerged.

In left, junior Austin March (Junipero Serra) and senior Seth Batty are competing to get their names penciled into the lineup card.

March started 16 games in 2013 and hit .217 — but did blast one of the Aggies’ 13 homers. Batty, who is by way of Buchanan High (Fresno), is a three-year varsity senior who got 24 starts last season while hitting .281. His nine doubles were UCD’s third-best number.

In center, Kevin Barker is another St. Ignatius product. He hit .244.

Right fielder John Williams of St. Francis High (Mountain View) is a returning left-handed hitter (.282) whose 38 RBI led all Aggies last season. Williams will get some backup help from Tanner Bily (.212).

On the mound, Vaughn points to a veteran trio that collectively went 8-22 in 2013.

Sophomore Spencer Koopmans (1-9, 5.54) and senior Evan Wolf (3-5, 4.58) join senior Harry Stanwyck (4-8, 4.79) in what figures to be the local starting rotation.

“Stanwyck on Fridays,” Vaughn says. “He did a great job in that role last year … gave us a chance to win most the games he pitched in. He’s a year more experienced, so we feel really good about him in that spot.”

Stanwyck (Castro Valley) should be followed by Koopmans (St. Teresa of San Jose) and Wolf (Clovis).

The trio didn’t blow anyone away — just 96 strikeouts in 237 innings last season — but with fewer than 90 walks and respectable ERAs, they could vault forward if the Aggies can cut down on errors (49) in crucial moments.

Max Cordy (McClatchy) and Craig Lanza (Monte Vista) were UCD’s closers a year ago (each had one of the team’s two saves), but Vaughn sees Cordy sneaking into extended chores while Lanza ultimately might become the closer. Time will tell.

And then there are freshman hurlers Orland Razzo and Zach Stone …

“These two guys, hopefully, will be ready to go,” Vaughn says with enthusiasm.

“Zach is from Eureka, the kind of place you don’t see a whole lot of guys come out of. But he’s a very good pitcher and had a great fall.

“He’s a very athletic kid who we think we can put in the games right away.”

Razzo is a 5-foot-11 lefty from Serra High (San Mateo) and Stone is a 6-1 right-hander.

It all starts Friday at home with Seattle.

Notes: The First Pitch BBQ will take place in the Bruce Edwards Club Room at Aggie Stadium after the final game of Saturday’s 11 a.m. twinbill. Dinner and a hosted bar cost $15. RSVP through Michelle Wolff at or call 530-754-7548. … If UCD gets off to a fast start in the Big West, it will be especially noteworthy — the Aggies’ first six games are at No. 27 Cal Poly (March 28-30) and top-ranked Cal State Fullerton (April 4-6). … UCD was outscored last season, 363-297, while opponents outhit the Ags, .306-.283.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at or 530-320-4456.

Bruce Gallaudet


Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    A springtime ritual

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Ortiz lawn signs available

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Steadfast in their support

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4, 12 Comments | Gallery

    Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Quilters gear up for annual show

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

    League hosts a series of candidate forums

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

    Calling all Scrabble fans

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

    Hotel/conference center info meeting set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

    Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

    DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

    Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

    Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16



    Take ownership of your health

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

    Keep your baby safe

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Not thrilled with lack of symmetry

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

    Road diet? No, city diet!

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 5 Comments

    We’re reveling in our equality

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

    Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 3 Comments

    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

    Core values on campus

    By Our View | From Page: A12, 3 Comments

    Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

    Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 4 Comments



    Devils burn up the track

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6







    Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

    Will Davis get an Old Soul?

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

    Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

    Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

    University Honda wins another President’s Award

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

    Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery





    Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8