Baseball Preview: UC Davis

Cal State Fullerton is at a crossroads in their season, coming off of a series loss to Pacific for the first time in the history of the program and seeing their faint hopes for a Big West championship pretty much finished.

Fullerton has had to deal with a great deal of adversity recently both on the diamond as well off the field, with the tragic car accident that former teammate Jon Wilhite was critically injured in as well as having to deal with some academic suspensions.  With that as the backdrop, the Titans travel up to UC Davis after earning a hard fought win in the final game of the Pacific series and putting things together in midweek wins against San Diego and Pepperdine.

UC Davis has struggled in their second season as a member of the Big West after qualifying for a regional in 2008.  The Aggies suffered heavy losses to the draft and graduation and weren't predicted to have a good season.  UC Davis was picked to finish 7th by the Big West coaches and those predictions have been pretty accurate.  The Aggies brought in a truckload of new players to attempt to make up for all of the players they lost from last season but the results haven't been good with UC Davis starting out 7-28, including 1-8 in conference games.  UC Davis was swept at Pacific and lost 2 of 3 vs. UCSB to start Big West play and was swept at Cal Poly last weekend.  The Aggies lost 3 of 4 at San Diego State in between the UCSB and Cal Poly series.  UC Davis hasn't won a weekend series this season with series losses at UCLA (1-2), vs. Pepperdine (1-2), at Portland (0-3) and against Sacramento State (1-2) prior to starting conference play.  The Aggies are 4-11 at Dobbins Field this season, which is definitely a ballpark that favors pitchers with dimensions that are 385 to the power alleys and 410 to straight away center with a good amount of foul territory.  According to Boyd's World, the ballpark helps hold down offense by 21%.

OUTLOOK

Fullerton has gone 10-2 against UC Davis and won all four series since the Aggies moved to D1 but everybody saw last weekend how much those type of stats mean when Pacific went into Goodwin Field and took the first two games of the series.  The Titans have to take control of this series early and not let the Aggies think they have a chance of winning this series.  There is no question that Fullerton is the better team and the Titans have to go out and play like it.  Offensively, Davis has been hitting better in the last month so they could give Fullerton trouble if the Titans offense struggles like they have been quite often lately.  Fullerton needs to get the running game going and put pressure on the Davis defense because the Aggies have not handled that well at all.  The pitching comparison is a flat out mismatch between these two teams if the Fullerton pitchers are on their game because Davis has rarely pitched well this season, especially in conf games.  Fullerton has played much better on the road this season than they have at home and unless the Titans mental lapses like they had in only going 3-3 against Northridge and Pacific they should sweep this series.