Teams: UC Davis at Long Beach State
Records: Aggies 18-6 (3-3); 49ers 25-13 (3-3)
Where: 49er Softball Complex – Long Beach, Calif.
When: Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m.
Who to watch: Junior Kylie Fan came up big for the Aggies last week.
The San Ramon, Calif. native’s two-run homer last Saturday helped UC Davis secure its lone victory of the weekend – a 3-1 win over Pacific.
The long ball was Fan’s first career home run.
Did you know? Senior Alex Holmes has more triples (7) than any other player in the nation.
Holmes is also currently ranked second nationally with .21 triples per-game.
Preview: The Aggies may be coming off a slow weekend, but their confidence is not down.
After dropping three of four over a six-day span and being shutout twice, it would be easy for the team to lose its poise.
Coach Katherine Yoder, however, does not expect this to be the case with her team.
“My players are capable of handling adversity,” she said. “I’m not worried at all about them getting down on themselves. They have great mental toughness.”
The Aggies will look to translate mental strength into offensive power, which will be no easy task.
The Long Beach State pitching staff has been the best in the Big West so far, holding a team ERA of 2.11.
Freshman pitcher Erin Jones-Wesley currently leads the conference with 14 wins and a 1.32 ERA.
Long Beach State has also been difficult to beat at home this season.
The 49ers are 13-4 on their own field, and have posted six wins in their past seven home contests, including four shutouts.
“It’s a great challenge for our program,” Yoder said. “The girls are really pumped-up for this series. It’s going to be a great battle and we’re excited.”
While it is still relatively early in the season, this series could have significant implications on the conference standings come the end of the year.
UC Davis and Long Beach State are currently tied for fourth in the Big West at 3-3 – just a single game behind first place Cal Poly.
Although this weekend could be significant in the long run, the Aggies know their success will ultimately be determined by execution.
“It’s pretty simple,” Yoder said. “We need to play good defense, pitch well, and get timely hits with runners in scoring position. If we focus on ourselves, we’ll be fine.”
– Trevor Cramer