42.4 F

Davis, California

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Hancock dominates the circle, earns two wins

If you want some Aggie softball autographs, you need to get Jessica Hancock’s John Hancock.

In the first two games of the week, Hancock (13-15) had an easy time shutting down the Titans.

The senior right-hander allowed just three earned runs in 11 innings and struck out six in 148 pitches to earn a pair of wins on Saturday.

For UC Davis, it was their third win in the last six games, showing a huge turnaround after going 5-16 during the month of March.

Saturday –Game 1: UC Davis 5, Cal State Fullerton 2

Who is Bianca Castillo?

The freshman right fielder for the Aggies belted her second home run in only her third collegiate game for UC Davis.

During the stretch, the Bakersfield native is batting .500 with three extra base hits, including the two homers.

“Right now, Bianca is just really stepping up and taking advantage of her opportunity,” said softball head coach Karen Yoder. “She is coming through and contributing for us in a really big way.”

The home run by Castillo put the Aggies up 4-0 in the sixth before sophomore Sarah Axelson added an RBI single to extend the lead to five.

In the circle, it was all Hancock – or George, as her teammates call her. The Aggie ace was nearly untouchable, allowing only two hits through the first six innings.

“Jessica came in there and just shut them down,” Yoder said. “She made a statement for our team that we ran with the rest of the weekend.”

Saturday – Game 2: UC Davis 5, Cal State Fullerton 4

The Aggies clinched the series with a huge win over the Titans in their final game Saturday.

It was a nail-biter that came down to the ninth inning of play with the score tied at four-all.

UC Davis led off with a pair of singles by junior Trish Paine and sophomore Michelle Espiritu. Junior Julie Stauder then walked to load the bases for the Aggies’ biggest bat, junior Deanna Menapace.

It wasn’t Menapace’s bat that delivered, though, as Menapace was hit by Titans pitcher Christine Hiner to score the go-ahead run for the Aggies.

Hancock then pitched her fourth inning of relief to protect the lead and earn the decision.

“I was so proud of our team,” Yoder said. “We just battled the whole weekend, and it’s nice when you can take a series against a team like Cal State Fullerton.”

Sunday – Cal State Fullerton 8, UC Davis 4

Attempting to bring out the brooms and complete the sweep of the Titans, the Aggies took the diamond in a 97 degree Sunday afternoon.

It wasn’t until the fifth inning of UC Davis’ 8-4 loss, though, where the Titans began to sweat. Trailing 4-0, the Aggies donned some sunscreen and mounted a comeback.

Castillo, senior Lindsey Jones and Paine all singled in the top of the fifth to load the bags with one out. Sophomore Jenny Corbett then drew a walk to score Castillo, and Stauder delivered a two-RBI double to right-center to cut the Titan lead to one.

Menapace came on and struck out on a 1-2 count, but scored pinch-runner Espiritu on a passed ball to knot-up the score at four apiece.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Titans responded to the Aggies’ four-run fifth with four runs of their own, taking the lead and the game, 8-4.

UC Davis will take a break from Big West action when it travels to San Jose State for a Wednesday doubleheader at 2 and 4 p.m.

MATT MILLER can be reached at sports@californiaaggie.com.


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