Last week, the Aggies seemed to be on a freefall, having lost five straight games and six of their last nine.
Coach Karen Yoder, however, explained it was too early to start pushing the panic button, claiming that the season was young and that morale was still high.
“A lot of teams can throw their hands up [after losing] five straight,” Yoder said. “But on the way home, we watched DVDs and some movies and we’re smiling. We haven’t stopped even though we came up short.”
One week later, the Aggies showed what they’re capable of, sweeping both the Wolverines and Wolf Pack, using both timely hitting and gusty defense.
With the four wins, the UC Davis moves to 7-9 on the year.
Saturday – UC Davis 6, Utah Valley 0
When the Aggies are pitching well and locating their spots, opposing teams are in for long days.
That’s exactly what happened on Saturday.
In the first game of a double-header, Alex Holmes was dominant for six innings and combined with Kasie Cochran for a four-hit shutout. Saturday’s game was the first time the Wolverines have been held scoreless this season.
“[Holmes] was just on,” Yoder said. “She missed maybe two pitches all day. Defensively, we converted some great outs and our left side of the field did a tremendous job.”
After a slow first half of the game, the Aggie offense finally gave their pitchers some support.
In the bottom of the fourth, Jessica Gonzalez started a rally with a leadoff single. Cleanup hitter Kelly Schulze promptly doubled in Gonzalez.
Two batters later, Kylie Fan singled in Schulze.
With one out, UC Davis capitalized on a pair of errors and would post four more runs as Megan Guzman, Holmes, and J.J. Wagoner posted RBI.
Tuesday – UC Davis 5, Nevada 4
In Tuesday’s first game, Holmes wasn’t as sharp as she had been and had to work her way out of jams. She went deep into counts, posting multiple three-ball counts in the early innings. Despite Holmes’ struggles, the Aggies still managed to scrap out a victory.
The Wolf Pack capitalized off a leadoff walk to earn a two-run lead in the third.
In the bottom of the frame, UC Davis responded. The Aggies finally found holes in the Wolf Pack defense.
Kelly Harman opened up the third with a leadoff bunt single. She advanced to second on another bunt, and Holmes helped her own cause by doubling in Harman. Gonzalez would plate Holmes on an RBI single later in the inning.
After two scoreless frames, the Aggies scored three runs on a two-run double by pinch hitter Rachel Miller an RBI single from Holmes.
The Wolf Pack, however, didn’t go down easy in the seventh. Holmes gave up several hits in quick succession, making it appear that the game was getting out of hand.
After Nevada cut the lead to one run, Holmes bore down and closed out the game.
Surrendering only two walks, she consistently relied on overpowering her opponents and also got great help from her defense.
“[Homes] wasn’t on all day in the circle but she was still able to battle and make adjustments,” said Yoder. “She had to go deep in a lot of counts today and was extremely competitive, so I was very happy with her play.”
The Aggies have won all five home games this season with the majority of their remaining schedule at La Rue Field.
UC Davis will, however, spend a rare weekend traveling as they head to Santa Clara, Calif. for the Bronco Classic. The event is laden with opponents that can make things difficult for the Aggies.
“All of our opponents this weekend will give us a great challenge,” said Yoder. “But we really need just to focus on our game. If we can focus on us and take care of the ball defensively, hit our spots on the mound and manufacture some runs, then we will be fine.”
MATT WANG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.