Before the Aggies brought their 8-2 lead to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning of game three, they knew they wanted to end things early for the series sweep.
That’s exactly what they did.
“We’re doing a good job of adjusting to their pitchers,” said coach Karen Yoder [cq]. “Every pitcher has a go-to pitch or two, and we’re doing a good job of adjusting to their go-to pitches.”
After the sweep, UC Davis ranks first in the Big West Conference.
Saturday – Game 1: UC Davis 5, UC Riverside 4
The winning began in the third inning.
JJ Wagoner was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame and was advanced to second on a single by Elizabeth Santana.
“I think we adjusted well to the zone,” Yoder said. “We did a good job with runners in scoring position, and we made some really solid adjustments.”
Jessica Gonzalez then moved the runners to second and third to set up the 2-RBI double to right center by Alex Holmes to give the Aggies a 2-0 lead.
UC Davis added a pair of runs to that lead in the fourth, as Heather Zimmerman knocked a two-run homer over the left field wall.
The Highlanders rallied for four runs in the seventh to tie the game, but the Aggies responded without delay.
With runners on first and second in the bottom of the frame, Holmes singled up the middle to drive in Santana for the 5-4 victory.
“She did really well on both ends – both on the mound and on offense,” Yoder said. “I was really proud of her effort all the way around.”
The base hit was Holmes’ second of the game. She also picked up the win from the circle as she took over for Dana Waldusky in the seventh.
Saturday – Game 2: UC Davis 4, UC Riverside 1
Yoder expects every team to come in ready to play, which is what UC Riverside did in game two as Highlander Kameryn Hebenton led off the contest with a solo shot.
The Aggie offense also came alive in the bottom of the first, as Santana led off with a double.
Gonzalez sacrificed to advance Santana to third, which set the stage for Holmes to deliver a grounder through the infield and bring in the first UC Davis run.
The Aggies broke the 1-1 tie in the sixth with three runs on two singles, including one by the recovering Kelly Harman.
“Kelly is definitely coming around from her injury and getting into a groove,” Yoder said. “After being out for 30 days, we’re bringing her back into the lineup and I’m proud of the way she’s coming back strong.”
Holmes started the 4-1 victory and pitched six full innings before handing the ball over to Waldusky in the seventh.
Waldusky posted her third save of the season after retiring three in a row.
“[Waldusky] is really in a zone right now,” Yoder said. “She’s doing a good job adjusting and finding the zone early in her outings.”
Sunday – UC Davis 10, UC Riverside 2 (6)
Despite retiring three consecutive batters on two occasions in game three, Waldusky feels she has had sharper outings.
“I did an okay enough job to win,” Waldusky said. “I could have done much better, but it’s definitely the hitting that carried our team this series.”
The Aggies’ 14 hits began in the bottom of the first when Santana delivered a leadoff single up the middle.
Zimmerman delivered a 2-RBI double later in the frame to take the lead 2-1 as UC Davis never looked back winning by a final score of 10-2.
“Every person should be feared,” Yoder said. “They each have their own tools and they’re doing a good job picking each other up.”
GRACE SPRAGUE can be reached at email@example.com.