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Davis

Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

UC Davis takes third straight conference series

Amid the constant dugout ditties, chanting player names – “Meesh-ka! Meesh-ka!” – and the melodious renditions of “Rocky” and “Marco Polo,” the UC Davis softball team showed that it ismore than just a group of sweet voices.

For thethird straight weekend, the Aggies won a Big West Conference series, this time taking two of three from the Gauchos. Their record improved to 22-31 (7-8) while UCSB’s fell to 26-22 (9-6) for the season.

 

Saturday – Game 1: UC Davis 2, UC Santa Barbara 1

Jessica Hancock didn’t take long to discard the visiting Gauchos.

After just an hour and 37 minutes, the flame-throwing junior notched her 25th complete game of the season, allowing no earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts in the 2-1 victory.

Helping contribute to the cause was a pair of runs that the Aggie offense mustered when junior Julie Stauder roped an RBI single to center in the first inning.

Junior Michelle Espiritu got the call to pinch run for sophomore Erin Emde in the second inning, stole second base and then scored the go-ahead run after an RBI double by senior Ashley Johnson.

In the fifth, UCSB left fielder Nicole Churnock scored the Gauchos’ only run after Hancock beaned a batter.

 

Saturday – Game 2: UC Davis 4, UCSB 1

After the Hancock gem, freshman Alex Holmes (7-13) took the Aggie reins and led them to victory, surrendering only one run in a pitching gem of her own.

The Gauchos’ top offense player, senior Tisha Duran, went 0-for-3 in the contest and finished 0-for-7 for the day.

“Our pitching staff did a tremendous job hitting their spots today. We shut down their best hitter so I’m really proud of them,” said Aggie head coach Karen Yoder. “We played good defense. UC Santa Barbara put pressure on us, and I thought we stepped up. When they did get on in some key situations, we didn’t let it rattle us.”

Johnson – the Aggies’ designated player – came out hot again, going 2-for-4 with an RBI single in a three-run fifth inning.

 

Sunday – UCSB 6, UC Davis 2

It was Senior Day on Sunday at sunny La Rue field, where the Aggies looked to sweeptheirvisiting conference opponent.

Among those playing their last home game for UC Davis were Johnson, outfielder Sara O’Neill and shortstop Lindsey Jones.

But the Gauchos spoiled the senior tribute quickly, tagging Hancock for five runs in the first three innings.

But with one out and a runner on second, Emde came up to the plate and hit a two-run shot over the left field fence, pulling the Aggies within three runs of the Gauchos.

UC Davis wouldn’t get any closer as UCSB scored one more insurance run in the seventh to earn the 6-2 victory.

UCSB pitcher Tami Weston (9-7) was effective when she needed to be, going six strong before getting relief help in the seventh by Melinda Matsumoto.

The Aggies will take the field again for a one game exhibition withNo. 21 California on Apr. 30, followed closely by a three-game conference series at Cal Poly.

 

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

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