In the midst of an 11-game losing streak – its longest of the season – the UC Davis softball team went into its final Big West Conference series this weekend looking to finish the season on a positive note.
The Aggies snapped their skid in Friday’s first game, but dropped their final two contests to give Cal State Northridge the series win.
UC Davis finished the season 22-32 with a 6-15 mark in Big West play. Seniors Jessica Hancock, Belinda Paine and Julie Stauder were honored prior to Saturday’s season finale.
Friday: Game 1 – UC Davis 3, Cal State Northridge 2 (10)
UC Davis broke its losing skid with an impressive 3-2 extra-innings win over Cal State Northridge in the first game of a doubleheader.
The Matadors drew first blood as they put a run on the board in the top of the first.
The Aggies tied things up in the third. Sophomore Alex Holmes drove in a run on a sacrifice fly after Paine and Stauder each moved into scoring position on a double steal.
Northridge went ahead once again in the top of the fifth. Holmes then returned the favor with another sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the frame.
The game remained tied going into the home half of the 10th. Junior Marissa Araujo was plunked with the bases loaded to bring in the game-winning run.
Holmes picked up the win in relief of Hancock, who allowed just one earned run in nine solid innings.
Friday: Game 2 – Cal State Northridge 3, UC Davis 1
The Matadors and Aggies laced them up once again following their 10-inning affair in the first half of the double dip.
Cal State Northridge prevailed this time, pulling out a 3-1 win to earn a Friday split.
Both offenses were held in check early on. UC Davis broke a scoreless tie in the fifth when Araujo hit a RBI single to plate Holmes and give the Aggies a 1-0 advantage.
The Matadors countered with three runs in the top of the sixth to pick up the victory.
Holmes got the loss despite surrendering just two earned runs. She also went 3-for-4 at the plate.
Saturday – Cal State Northridge 5, UC Davis 2
When the last pitch of the Aggies‘ 5-2 loss at the hands of the Matadors was recorded, UC Davis had to say so long to Hancock, Paine and Stauder on Senior Day.
Cal State Northridge plated all of its runs in the first three innings, scoring twice in the first and second and once in the third.
The loss brings a season of peaks and valleys to an end for the Aggies. They started the season off 10-5, but closed out the campaign by losing 13 of 14.
UC Davis had two losing streaks of eight games or more. It did, however, post winning streaks of four games or more three different times during the year.
As the Aggies close the book on the season, Hancock, Paine and Stauder do the same to their UC Davis careers.
“It was an intense day,” coach Karen Yoder said. “The seniors gave everything. I’m so proud of them. The foundation that they’ve created and the years that they’ve given to the program are just priceless.“
Hancock’s 397 strikeouts over the past two seasons is a Big West best. Paine owns the UC Davis career mark for stolen bases (54). Stauder, meanwhile, is tied for first on the school’s all-time walks list with 91.
MAX ROSENBLUM can be reached at email@example.com.