Impressive performances in the pitcher’s circle, hitters coming through in the clutch, slick fielding – you name it, the UC Davis softball team was doing it on Wednesday.
The Aggies took care of one of the top teams in the country in dominating fashion, knocking off No. 23 Nevada at LaRue Field, 8-3.
“We did a great job today,” coach Karen Yoder said after the win. “I’m extremely proud of the team. This is a huge confidence booster for us, beating a quality team like this.… I was really impressed with how we focused today.“
Come Saturday afternoon, though, Yoder was singing a different song entirely.
UC Davis followed up its win against the Wolf Pack by losing three straight to Cal State Fullerton.
The Aggies entered the series in a tie for second place in the Big West Conference with the Titans. Cal State Fullerton (19-17, 7-2) was tied for first by Saturday’s end. UC Davis (20-19, 4-5), meanwhile, had fallen into a tie for fifth.
“Inconsistent,” Yoder said. “Plain and simple. Inconsistent.“
UC Davis started the series by dropping both halves of Friday’s doubleheader by scores of 10-3 and 5-4, respectively.
It then saw Cal State Fullerton score six unanswered runs on Saturday to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 7-2 win, completing the sweep for the Titans.
“You can’t beat the No. 23 team in the nation – shut down the No. 9 offense in the nation – on Wednesday,” Yoder said, “and then come out here and expect that batters are just going to roll over on you. Just inconsistent play this week.“
What spelled inconsistency for UC Davis?
Did Cal State Fullerton do anything special to send the Aggies from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows so quickly?
“Nope,” Yoder said. “Focus. We’ve got to learn some focus.… Huge lessons. Huge, huge lessons in these last three games.“
If the Aggies hope to turn their weekend lumps into a lesson learned, they’ll have to get back to what’s led to success in the past: attacking, attacking and more attacking.
“We didn’t attack,” Yoder said. “You need to attack from the first pitch on.… We didn’t come out and establish the tempo. We didn’t do that. I’m not satisfied. What you just saw this weekend – that is not Aggie softball.“
UC Davis softball – this season, especially – has been about attacking the strike zone with dominant pitching performances.
The Aggies surrendered 22 runs in their three defeats at the hands of the Titans. Don’t expect that trend to continue.
Entering weekend play, UC Davis starters Alex Holmes (1.07) and Jessica Hancock (1.26) were ranked first and second, respectively, in the Big West in ERA. The twin aces have combined to throw a ridiculous 257 of the Aggies‘ 267 innings this season (96.3 percent).
So what does this three-game blip on the radar over the weekend mean in the grand scheme of things?
Not too much. Hopefully.
UC Davis wasn’t perfect entering weekend play. It isn’t perfect leaving it, either.
Holmes and Hancock, though, have been about as close to perfect as you could ask pitchers to be this season.
This duo and the rest of the Aggies need to throw their Cal State Fullerton struggles on the backburner in favor of the success story they wrote against a talented Nevada team.
Once they do that, they’ll get back to what they’d been doing consistently: winning games.
ADAM LOBERSTEIN thinks the UC Davis softball team will start looking like the club that gave Nevada fits again this weekend at UC Riverside. He can be reached at email@example.com.