After splitting a doubleheader on Friday, UC Davis finished out its historic regular season Saturday with a loss.
The two defeats marked the Aggies’ first Big West Conference series loss this season, and yet, coach Karen Yoder was not shaken.
“I’m so proud of the dedication of the players and their commitment to put the time, energy and effort into bringing this program up to what it is now,” Yoder said. “I’m so appreciative of them, my staff and every player that comes before them.”
Friday – Game 1: UC Santa Barbara 6, UC Davis 0
It just took two long shots in game one for the Gauchos to shut out the Aggies.
Freshman pitcher Dana Waldusky held UCSB scoreless until the third frame.
That’s when Gaucho Jessica Beristianos hit a grand slam to give UCSB the lead.
The Gauchos never looked back as they added a two-run homer in the fifth to make the score 6-0.
Kylie Fan delivered two of the Aggies’ three hits, and Kelly Harman had the other.
Friday – Game 2: UC Davis 4, UC Santa Barbara 3
By virtue of a Cal State Northridge loss in the first game of its series, the Aggies remained one game ahead of the Matadors in the standings despite the loss.
So all the Aggies needed was a game-two win or a Matador loss to clinch both the league title and the NCAA tournament bid.
A game-two win was what they got.
“It challenged us,” Yoder said of the 4-3 comeback. “We’ve done that a number of times this year where we had to battle back at the plate and help our pitchers and scoreboard out.”
After the Gauchos scored a run in the top of the first, Sarah Axelson delivered an RBI-single to tie it in the bottom of the frame.
In the top of the second, UCSB scored a pair of unearned runs to make the score 3-1.
Elizabeth Santana responded with an RBI-triple in the second half of the inning to drive in Harman and bring the Aggies within one run at 3-2.
The Aggies held the Gauchos scoreless for the rest of the game while tacking on two more runs in what would eventually be a 4-3 victory.
Alex Holmes pitched the complete-game victory, allowing the Gauchos to make just five hits while striking out four. The victory boosted Holmes to 16-8 on the season and a perfect 9-0 in conference play.
Saturday – UC Santa Barbara 7, UC Davis 2
UC Davis honored seniors Axelson, Marissa Araujo and Michelle Espiritu on Saturday in the final home game of the 2010 campaign.
In addition to Araujo’s RBI in the fourth inning and game-tying homer in the bottom of the seventh, each senior contributed a hit to the Aggies’ total of eight.
Araujo’s homerun was enough to keep the Aggies alive until the top of the eighth when the Gauchos rallied for five runs.
Despite the loss, Yoder is pleased with her graduating veterans.
“They’re true anchors of our team,” Yoder said. “I’m extremely proud of them in what they’ve contributed to this university, and I’m so happy [the NCAA bid] could happen in their senior year.”
While it was the last home game for three players, the season isn’t quite over yet. The NCAA Tournament begins with 16 four-team regionals this week, followed by eight super-regionals the following week. The winners of the super-regionals advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City June 3 to 9.
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