One has to wonder where the Aggies would be without pitcher Alex Holmes.
The native of San Juan Capistrano, Calif. has been dominant in the circle this year with a 2.56 ERA, posting 81 strikeouts and only 30 walks in over 87 innings.
On offense, she is equally deadly. The senior leads the team in batting average (.409), hits (66), triples (4) and slugging percentage (.591).
The key to Holmes’ success at the plate may be the extra hours of work she contributes.
“Offensively, [Holmes] has put in a lot of extra time on her own recently,” said coach Karen Yoder. “You love it when a player does that on her own and it was something that a lot of underclassmen took note of.”
Last weekend, Holmes continued to demonstrate her pitching and offensive prowess at the Santa Clara Bronco Classic.
As of Saturday, the Aggies were 11-10 overall with two wins and one loss for the weekend. Sunday’s scores were not available at the time of publication.
Friday – UC Davis 6, San Jose State 2
Holmes was stellar in the circle for the Aggies on Friday, as she surrendered only three hits while striking out seven in a complete game effort.
The senior also went 2-for-3 at the plate, and was crucial in the Aggies’ five-run fifth inning.
A leadoff walk to Holmes started a rally that saw consecutive RBI singles from Elizabeth Santana and Kylie Fan. Chandler Wagner’s two-run double came in short succession.
Holmes would continue to dominate, as she surrendered no hits in her last four frames of work.
Saturday – UC Davis 2, Albany 0
Against the Great Danes, sophomore Jessica Thweatt also showcased just how strong UC Davis’ pitching and defense could be.
Thweatt put together a one-hit shutout with the only hit against her coming in the second inning.
Jessica Bergin singled but was caught stealing later in the inning, erasing any Great Dane scoring opportunity.
The Aggies, on the other hand, would capitalize in electrifying fashion.
In the third, Holmes led with a triple to right field and would score on an Albany miscue to give UC Davis a one-run lead.
In the fifth, Holmes again started a rally, smacking the ball to center field for a double, reaching home after a sacrifice attempt by cleanup hitter Kelly Schulze turned into a single.
Though the second of Saturday’s games saw the Aggies’ six-game streak end with a 2-0 loss to Boise State, UC Davis is still in a prime position to make waves in conference play that starts in less than a month.
Still, the Aggies hope to sharpen themselves in the remaining non-conference schedule, the period that Yoder calls “pre-season.”
“We [are getting ready] right now,” Yoder said. “We’re playing great teams, challenging ourselves, finding strengths and weaknesses of our new players. That’s what preseason is about.”
The Aggies will finish their non-conference schedule against some elite teams like Stanford, Oregon State and California.
Despite the intimidating opposition, Yoder maintains the Aggies must first concentrate on making teams beat them, rather than assuming that UC Davis will have to play catch-up.
“We don’t compare ourselves to anyone else,” Yoder said. “If we do the things we need to, we’re going to be in every game.”
The Aggies play six games in six days, starting with the Cardinal in Stanford on March 22, and then returning home for Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara on March 25.
MATT WANG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.