The Aggies have come a long way over the course of the 2010 campaign.
After posting a preseason record of 11-20, UC Davis entered Big West Conference play ready to fight.
With a 16-6 league record, the Aggies earned the Big West title and their first-ever bid to the Division I NCAA Tournament.
“I’m excited and proud of the girls,” said coach Karen Yoder. “I’m proud of where the program has come in three years of Division I. You have to look at the big picture because this is a huge learning opportunity for them.”
Friday – No. 19 Hawai’i 10, UC Davis 2
Five Aggies delivered hits in game one of the Stanford Regional.
Elizabeth Santana, Alex Holmes, Sarah Axelson, JJ Wagoner and Kylie Fan all delivered base knocks against the regional’s top-seed in Hawai’i.
After the Rainbow Wahine collected five runs in the first three innings, Holmes and Axelson hit consecutive singles as the Aggies had runners on second and third with no outs.
That’s when Fan singled to center field to drive in Holmes and make the score 5-1.
The Aggies were alive at the plate again in the fifth when Wagoner and Santana each picked up singles of their own to start the inning.
Axelson and Fan then drew back-to-back walks with two outs in the frame, and Fan’s walk forced home Santana for the 5-2 score.
The Rainbow Wahine responded promptly in the bottom of the fifth, as they ended the game with five runs, including a solo shot by Amanda Tauali’i.
Hawai’i entered the tournament with an NCAA single-season record of 141 homeruns, but the UC Davis pitching staff didn’t allow more than the one long ball by Tauali’i.
“To go against Hawai’i, that’s put up that many homeruns, challenges you,” Yoder said. “That’s what we’ve done all year – challenge ourselves against the best in the country.”
Saturday – Texas Tech 1, UC Davis 0
Texas Tech shortstop Leah Legler led off the first inning of Saturday’s elimination game with a single to shortstop.
Later in the frame, Red Raider second baseman Leah Hall brought Legler around for what would be the winning run.
The Texas Tech pitching staff, led by hurler Ashly Jacobs, held UC Davis hitless until the top of the seventh when Jessica Gonzalez singled to second base.
That’s as far as the Aggies would get, though, as Jacobs retired the next two batters on a double play and a strike out.
From the circle, Holmes threw all six innings and gave up just six hits while striking out eight.
“I’m extremely proud of Alex,” Yoder said. “She did a tremendous job today. They’re a good-hitting team, and she definitely kept us in the game. She was on top of her game.”
Holmes struck out five of the last seven batters she faced, including the side in order in the sixth inning.
The loss marked the end of the careers for seniors Axelson, Marissa Araujo and Michelle Espiritu.
Espiritu finished the campaign with 12 singles and 15 runs, while Axelson led the Aggies with four homeruns and ranked third on the team with 21 RBI. Araujo finished out with 33 hits including 6 doubles, along with 15 RBI.
GRACE SPRAGUE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.