UC Davis Preview: Lineup

UC Davis returned only two regulars along with some part-time players from last season and they have been the worst hitting team in the conference, ranking last in these categories – 4.3 runs per game, .265 BA, .336 OBP, .357 SLG% and only 10 HR's.

The Aggies were even worse in non-conf games as they got off to a slow start with all of the newcomers to the starting lineup, averaging 3.6 runs per game, .241 BA, .313 OBP and .321 SLG.  However, UC Davis has started to hit much better in conf games with a .327 BA, .392 OBP and .446 SLG, primarily due to a big increase in 2B's from 28 in 25 non-conf games to 25 in nine conf games.  The Aggies scored 4 runs or less in 19 of 26 non-conf games but have scored 6+ runs in five of nine conf games.  UC Davis is not patient at the plate and ranks last in the conference in BB's and also does not play much little ball with 27 SAC's (middle of the pack), primarily by hitters at the bottom of the lineup, and is last in the conference with only 20 SB's.  

UC Davis has been a decent defensive team for as poorly as they have played with a .966 fielding % and 44 errors.  However, they have not been playing as well defensively since conference games started and have made 14 errors in nine games.  The Aggies have also had trouble stopping the running game and are last in the conference with 61 SB's allowed and have thrown out only 12 baserunners.

Infield

C – Many of the struggles that UC Davis has gone through this season can be summed up with the catching.  The Aggies had to replace Big West MVP Jake Jefferies and are trying to do that with two FR and it hasn't gone well.  Scott Kalush (RH – .246-0-7-0) starts most of the time although Joseph Medeiros (LH – .346-1-7-2) has been hitting his way into more playing time.  Either one will usually hit 8th or 9th.  Kalush is 1-12 with 3 RBI's and Medeiros is 7-17 with 1 RBI in conf games. Baserunners are 39-42 against Kalush and 22-28 against Medeiros and they have allowed 49 WP's and 11 PB's, both of which are the most in the conf.  Kalush has also committed 8 E's.

1B – SR Grant Hirneise (LH – .225-0-9-1) has been a part-time player the past few years (2008 – .286-1-19-0) and plays most of the time against RHP's.  FR Eric Johnson (RH – .286-0-4-1) has been splitting time and usually plays against LHP's.  Whoever is in the lineup will usually hit 7th.  Hirneise is 7-24 with 2 RBI's and Johnson is 4-11 in conf games.

2B – Soph Justin Schafer (RH – .296-1-5-2) was the starting 2B two years ago (2007 – .301-0-7-2) but was injured early last season and took a medical redshirt.  He got off to a slow start but has hit well in conf games, going 11-31 with 3 RBI's.  Schafer usually hits 2nd.  Grant Bauer (RH – .294-0-6-0) was starting earlier in the year as Schafer worked his way back into the lineup and leads the team with 7 SAC's.  Bauer is decent defensively but Schafer is much better defensively.

SS – FR Michael Aldrete (RH – .162-0-4-0) has been playing more lately as part of a platoon with Soph Scott Heylman (RH - .239-0-8-2) and whoever is in the lineup will usually hit 9th.  Aldrete is 2nd on the team with 5 SAC's.  Both have hit much better in conf games, with Aldrete going 4-13 with 4 RBI's and Heylman going 5-11.  Heylman was 1-10 at Fullerton last season.  They have been average defensively, combining for eight errors.

3B – JR Ty Kelly (RH - .304-2-18-0) is one of the few regulars back from last season (2008 – .397-4-39-2) when he was 2nd team all conf.  Kelly is the most dangerous hitter in the lineup and hits 3rd.  He is a line drive machine and led the Big West in BA last season and was also 2nd in hits and 4th in OBP.  Like just about everybody else on the team, Kelly got off to a slow start but has hit better lately going 12-37 with 5 RBI's in conf games and is 4th in the conf in doubles.  Kelly wore out Fullerton last year when he went 7-14 with 1 HR and 5 RBI's.  He has good range defensively but has made seven errors.

Outfield/DH

LF – FR Tony Bongiovanni (LH – .303-3-14-4) didn't play much early but has hit his way into the lineup and leads the team in HR's despite starting in only 17 games and leads the team with a .500 SLG % and usually hits 5th.   He has been a sparkplug for the lineup and is 9-19 with 1 HR and 7 RBI's in conf games.  JR Kyle Mihaylo (RH – .179-1-7-2) started most of the time last season (2008 – .281-6-32-0) when he had one of the better SLG %'s on the team but he hasn't been able to get untracked this year and leads the team with 24 K's.  He has hit a little better lately, going 5-17 in conf games and will usually hit 6th.  Mihaylo is 2-15 in his career against Fullerton.

CF – Soph Daniel Cepin (RH - .315-1-9-2) didn't play much last season (2008 – .261 in 23 AB's) but has been playing every day and leading off.  He has done a solid job and has the best BA and OBP of players who have been getting regular playing time.  Cepin has good range in CF, which is necessary at their ballpark.

RF – SR Ryan Scoma (LH – .297-0-21-2) was 1st team all conf last season (2008 – .358-3-52-3) when he was in the top 10 in the conf in BA and RBI's.  Much like Ty Kelly, he struggled early this season trying to carry the offense with so many new starters in the lineup.  Much like most of the players on the team, he has hit much better lately and gone 12-33 with 10 RBI's in conf games and usually hits in the middle of the lineup.  Scoma went 3-13 with 2 RBI's last season at Fullerton.

DH – JC transfer Jared Thompson (RH – .274-1-13-0) is another player who didn't play much early but has hit his way into the lineup and is a big reason why UC Davis is hitting much better in conf games.  Thompson usually hits in the middle of the lineup and is 11-38 with 1 HR and 9 RBI's in conf games.