In its second to last Big West Conference series of the season, UC Davis (23-34, 8-10) squared off against Cal Poly (22-21, 10-8), looking to take its fourth consecutive conference series win.
But the Mustangs stood in the Aggies’ way, despite an offense surge by the Aggies.
“Putting up 16 runs was really a testament to our offense,” said head coach Karen Yoder. “Overall it was a close series that went back and forth and could’ve gone either way.”
Saturday – Game 1: Cal Poly 6, UC Davis 5
The UC Davis corner infield was a hot corner after game one.
Sophomore first baseman Erin Emde went 3-for-3 for the game with a run and an RBI single in the first, and sophomore third baseman Sarah Axelson launched a lead-off home run in the fourth over the right field fence.
Pumped by the Axelson homer, UC Davis jumped out to an early 4-1 lead over Cal Poly, but couldn’t hold off the charging Mustangs.
“We got up early in the first game,” Yoder said. “But they made adjustments to our pitching and came back.”
In the bottom of the sixth, the Mustangs came out swinging a loud bat, and Aggie ace Jessica Hancock couldn’t quiet them.
The junior surrendered three runs on four hits in the inning to earn the 5-6 loss, as her record fell to 15-20 on the season.
For the game, the Aggies left 11 base runners stranded to Cal Poly’s four.
Saturday – Game 2: UC Davis 9, Cal Poly 6
Mustang pitcher Anna Cahn held the Aggie offense in check all game long until the sixth inning.
That’s when things really started to fall apart for the Cal Poly freshman.
Entering the sixth inning, the yellow neon lights of the Janssen Field scoreboard read Cal Poly 6, UC Davis 2.
But all that would change as the Aggies exploded for seven runs on only three hits, batting around the order.
After a hit batter and two walks on 3-1 counts, Emde came up with the bases loaded and no outs to blast a two-RBI single.
Two batters later, junior Trish Paine cleared the bases with a three-run triple to make the score 8-6, Aggies.
Freshman Jessica Gonzalez grabbed an RBI double to plate the final run of the game, as the Aggies earned the 9-6 victory and held the series split entering Sunday’s series-deciding contest.
“We really battled in the second game,” Yoder said. “We came back from four down and put up six runs in the sixth and just ended Saturday on a really high note.”
Sunday – Game 3: Cal Poly 4, UC Davis 2
With the series split at one game apiece, a Sunday victory would push the Aggies’ consecutive series win streak to four.
In the previous three Big West series, the Aggies beat Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara, all two games to one.
But thanks to Cal Poly ace Cahn, Sunday’s results would favor a 2-1 series victory for the Mustangs.
The freshman held the Aggie offense scoreless for the first six innings – an offense that had averaged 7.5 runs in their last two contests – to earn a complete game victory.
In a last-ditch effort, UC Davis senior Ashley Johnson bombed a two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to drive in fellow senior Lindsey Jones.
The Aggies will look to rebound from the pair of losses as they travel to take on the Cal State Northridge (21-23, 8-10) this weekend.
MATT MILLER can be reached at email@example.com.