Published: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 - 9:26 pm

•  Coach: Matt Vaughn, third season, 46-67

• Conference: Big West

• Other members: Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, Hawaii

• 2013 record: 19-37; 5-22 Big West, 10th place

• 2014 predicted finish: Ninth

• Opening series: vs. Seattle, today, 2 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.

• Five home games to watch: Nevada, March 25, 2:30 p.m.; St. Mary’s, April 1, 2:30 p.m.; Long Beach State, April 13, 1 p.m.; Sacramento State, April 15, 2:30 p.m.; UC Santa Barbara, May 24, 1 p.m.

• Key returnees: P/1B Spencer Henderson, 3B Adam Young, 3B/DH Nick Lynch, SS Tino Lipson, 2B Steve Patterson, C Cameron Olson (River Valley High School), C Spencer Brann, OF Seth Batty, OF John Williams, P Spencer Koopmans, P Evan Wolf, P Harry Stanwyck, P Max Cordy (McClatchy), P Craig Lanza, OF Austin March

• Top newcomers: P Orlando Razo, P Zach Stone, P Blake Peters

• Outlook: The Aggies return 24 lettermen, including six field starters and three starting pitchers from last year’s youthful bunch that finished last in the Big West. The Aggies hit a decent .283 – third best in the Big West – but struggled mightily as the Aggies finished second-to-last in fielding (102 errors) and pitching (5.32 ERA). Leading the Aggies this year are returning All-Big West second teamers Patterson and Lipson and honorable mention selectee Lynch. Lynch led the team in hitting with a .359 average and .441 slugging percentage. Patterson, a pro prospect, hit .324 with 33 RBIs, and Lipson batted .339 with 10 stolen bases. The Aggies compete in one of the nation’s tougher baseball leagues, so they face an uphill climb in trying to find their way to the top half of the league. Defending champion Cal State Fullerton is ranked No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball in its preseason top 40 and has dominated the Big West through the years. If that’s not enough, Cal Poly is ranked No. 27 and UC Santa Barbara No. 39.

– Bill Paterson

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