欧洲杯竞猜

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Aggie baseball skipper sees ‘steps forward’

On paper, the last UC Davis baseball season didn’t necessarily turn heads, but Aggie coach Matt Vaughn — and those who follow such things — know that the local team made some telling gains.

“We took some steps forward,” Vaughn tells The Enterprise. “We didn’t end up with a great record (19-31), but we ended up with some milestone-type things for our program.”

* Overall, UCD was 19-31, but its Big West Conference mark was 9-15, good for a fifth-place tie. Not bad for a school picked in preseason to finish dead last in league.

* Long Beach State, a traditionally tough out, was swept at Dobbins Stadium.

欧洲杯竞猜* Four-time national champion Cal State Fullerton lost a home series to the Aggies.

* Stanford fell to the locals on Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto.

欧洲杯竞猜* The completion of the $1 million batting cage and indoor/outdoor work space at UCD lifted spirits and should aid recruiting.

欧洲杯竞猜“I think, over the course of the summer, when you can add a facility like that, it shows everyone, ‘Hey, we’re moving forward,’ ” the ninth-year Aggie skipper believes.

欧洲杯竞猜Just how far forward, Vaughn and Davis fans will get to judge for themselves when Pac-12 Utah visits to open the season on Friday (2 p.m.).

欧洲杯竞猜The coach says his crew returns a handful of top hitters, is expected to improve defensively and — as always — will give each game an effort laced with Aggie Pride.

欧洲杯竞猜“The one thing that will be the same is that we’ll play hard, regardless of who we play against,” Vaughn promises. “I don’t think anyone’s ever come to our games and said, ‘Oh, they’ve got a bad record, they’re just laying down.'”

The big question mark in 2020? Pitching.

欧洲杯竞猜After going through 2019 with 5.67 team earned run average and allowing opponents to hit .307, the Aggies are determined to shore up things on the mound. Playing in cavernous Dobbins Stadium — 410 feet to center and 385 to the power alleys — those pitching stats were particularly disturbing numbers.

Armijo High graduate Brett Erwin is expected to start on Friday, and Vaughn loves his stocky right-hander:

欧洲杯竞猜“He’s a strike-thrower. Slider, sinker. Nothing really goes straight with him. He’s not going to overpower anyone, but he’s going to stay at the bottom of the zone and when he pitches, we usually have a chance to win the game.”

A junior now, Erwin went 5-5 in 14 appearances with a 3.70 ERA last spring.

Jake Spillane (1-3, 6.07) and Wyatt Tucker (1-2, 6.35) are vying for the Saturday and Sunday starts, but as previous records suggest, the competition to start wags on.

At closer, Vaughn sees “a committee” until somebody emerges. Last year’s stopper, Steve Ouellette (2.79 with five saves), is injured and unavailable.

The rest of the lineup has some proven veterans.

欧洲杯竞猜With fifth-year senior catcher Logan Denholm returning, Vaughn likes how his hurlers will be handled:

“To have a guy like Logan, with that veteran leadership … It’s tremendous.”

Denholm, by way of Oak Ridge High, hit .295 with three home runs and 25 RBI in 2019.

欧洲杯竞猜Also back is leading hitter Tanner Murray. A San Lorenzo Valley High product, the angular Murray hit .364 as a sophomore and also paced Davis in runs scored, RBI and slugging percentage (37/31/.503).

Sweet-swinging outfielders Tanner Morrison (an Albany native) and Vanden High’s Alejandro Lara provide veteran skills and averages — .302 and .312 respectively.

A freshman from Davis High, Jonah Henrickson, has won the starting job at first base. Vaughn says the recruit from across the street “had a great fall. He’s a good player who is going to be a great欧洲杯竞猜 player for us.”

欧洲杯竞猜Jaylen Smith (Stockdale High of Bakersfield), according to his coach, comes into the new year “faster, stronger, bigger after getting after the weight room in the off-season.” Smith will open at second base — a position that Kyler Arenado (Huntington Beach) backed up last year, but is expected to move to third, at least against Utah.

欧洲杯竞猜“Kyler’s the kind of guy we can put anywhere,” Vaughn adds.

欧洲杯竞猜Pitman High’s Colton Evan will open in right field.

欧洲杯竞猜The hope for that trio is that their bats will come alive. Evan hit .262 with just one RBI and Arenado (.143) and Smith (.167) hope to build off promising summer and spring outings.

欧洲杯竞猜In addition to Utah, home series with Loyola Marymount and Boise State are mark-your-calendar matchups. Home-and-aways with Sacramento State and Pacific also are on the agenda.

欧洲杯竞猜“We’re a work in progress,” admits Vaughn. “But we’re continuing to get better and, hopefully, this will be the year we turn the corner.”

Notes: In a year that it appears to all-hands-on-deck for UCD pitchers, the Aggies have only two lefties on staff — and that could be very good news for another former Davis High product, Zach Carrell. Vaughn likes the way the freshman is developing and says throwing portside helps show batters something different: “He’ll have his opportunities.” … Big West play begins March 27 at Long Beach State with the home conference slate starting April 3 against UC Santa Barbara. … For a complete schedule, visit ucdavisaggies.com/sports/baseball/schedule.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or call 530-320-4456. Follow Gallaudet on Twitter at @BGsportsinDavis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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