Competing against the nation’s best teams will eventually serve to benefit the Aggies.
“Anytime you’re challenged it gives you a moment to pause and collect your thoughts,” said coach Karen Yoder.
UC Davis’ record dropped to 6-7 after facing three top-ranked teams in the three-day Cathedral City Classic.
“I want the players to realize that it was a wonderful opportunity,” Yoder said. “It’s only going to make us stronger and more competitive in the long run.”
Friday – UC Davis 5, Hawai’i 8
The Aggies fell behind the Rainbows in the top of the second when Hawaii’s Jessica Iwata hit a solo homerun.
Hawai’i would score five more in the third for a 6-0 lead.
Despite the deficit, UC Davis rallied to bring them within one run of tying the game.
In the bottom of the third with two outs, Bianca Castillo drove in two runs on a single to make the score 6-3.
The Aggies put another run on the board in the fourth when Elizabeth Santana’s RBI-single brought in Alex Holmes.
Later in the inning, Michelle Espiritu scored on a double play, bringing UC Davis within 6-5.
That’s as close as the Aggies would get as the Rainbows added a solo homerun in each of the last two innings to account for the final 8-5 score.
Saturday – Game 1: UC Davis 5, No. 13 Texas 14 (5)
The Aggies and the Longhorns combined for 24 hits in a five-inning game.
Texas led 7-3 going into the third until senior Sarah Axelson hit her first homerun of the season. The solo shot made the score 7-4.
“Axelson proved that she can hit the best pitchers in the country,” Yoder said. “It shows how hard she’s been working in the off-season and how hard she’s working this season.”
Her homer was followed later that inning with an RBI-single from freshman Megan Guzman for the last of the Aggie runs.
Texas extended its lead in the fourth and fifth innings bringing the final tally to 14-5.
Saturday – Game 2: UC Davis 1, Utah 2
The Utes jumped to an early lead with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning.
Guzman robbed Utah’s Kelsi Hoopiiaini of a lead off homerun in the second as she went crashing through the centerfield fence to make the catch.
“Megan had a great read on the ball initially,” Yoder said. “She held onto the ball as the fence fell down. It was pretty climactic and a wonderful play. That is what you want to see from your outfielders.”
An RBI-single later in the inning increased the Utes’ lead to 2-0.
In the sixth, Espiritu stole second after reaching first on a fielding error.
Santana brought her around to score with a double to cut the lead in half.
That marked the final score as the two teams combined for six hits.
Sunday – Game 1: UC Davis 1, Northwestern 7 – Middle of 6th
UC Davis trailed Northwestern 7-1 in the middle of the sixth before a drop-dead time limit suspended play.
Time was called due to a combination of delayed start time and travel limitations for the Wildcats.
Both teams are scheduled to take part in next week’s Cal State Fullerton DeMarini Invitational. The teams hope to complete the game at that time.
When play resumes, the Aggies will be at bat to start the bottom of the sixth.
Sunday – Game 2: UC Davis 1, No. 1 Washington 9 (6)
In the final game of the tournament the Huskies scored a pair of runs in the top of the third inning and never looked back.
Marissa Araujo’s single in the fourth inning marked the only UC Davis RBI.
Freshman pitcher Dana Waldusky posted seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings.
Yoder believes the tournament will benefit the Aggies in the long run.
“It’s the premier tournament in the country for collegiate softball,” Yoder said. “It created a great environment for us to ultimately bring out the best in our team. It exposed our weaknesses, which is a good thing because that’s the only way to get better.”
UC Davis is back in action on Wednesday as it travels to face No. 13 California at 2 p.m.
GRACE SPRAGUE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.