It was another heartbreaking series defeat.
The Aggies looked to be back on track when they exploded in game one, but a rough outing in the second game and a seventh-inning loss in the third marked a series loss at the hands of Cal State Fullerton.
With the 1-2 weekend, the Aggies fell to 19-21 on the year, 4-8 in the Big West Conference – moving them into a tie for fifth.
Friday – UC Davis 9, Cal State Fullerton 1 (5 innings)
Game one was billed as a pitchers’ duel, but what materialized was far from it.
UC Davis opened the series on a tear, scoring five runs in the bottom of the first inning to take an early lead.
It was just the start the Aggies needed.
“It set the tone,” said senior Alex Holmes. “We’d hit a rough patch offensively in previous weeks, so to come out on fire the first inning was big.”
After conceding just one in the third, the Aggies added three runs in the fourth and one more in the fifth to end the game early on the eight-run-rule.
Making the victory even more impressive was the fact that UC Davis hung eight of those runs on Titan Ari Cervantes, one of the Big West’s premiere pitchers.
Sophomore Elizabeth Santana hit 2-for-2, tallying a run and an RBI, while senior Jessica Gonzales and junior Kelly Harman each went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
In the circle, Holmes pitched all five innings, allowing just five hits while striking out six.
Friday – Cal State Fullerton 11, UC Davis 4
The Titans flipped the script in game two.
Cal State Fullerton jumped out on the Aggies early, scoring seven runs in the first two innings and taking a commanding lead.
“They were able to get on top by using a lot of slaps and bunts,” said coach Karen Yoder. “They used a lot of small-ball and it really worked for them.”
While the Titans utilized the ground attack, the Aggies used the long ball to respond.
UC Davis got on the board with a solo homer from Santana in the third, and a two-run shot from junior Rachel Miller helped the Aggies avoid the eight-run rule in the fifth.
It was not enough, however, and the Aggies fell 11-4.
Despite taking the loss, Yoder was proud of the way her team responded to adversity.
“We showed real Aggie pride by continuing to battle,” she said. “It says something about the character of our team.”
Saturday – Cal State Fullerton 1, UC Davis 0
Saturday’s rubber-match offered the pitchers’ duel that never showed up on Friday.
Holmes battled with the Titans’ combination of senior Ari Cervantes and sophomore Katey Laban for six scoreless innings.
The game was sitting on a knife’s edge as the teams entered the seventh, but ultimately it would be a pair of miscues to decide it.
Titan Ashley Carter scored the lone run of the contest when she reached home on two errors in the top of the seventh. The Aggies did not concede a hit in the inning.
Despite allowing just four hits and no earned runs, Holmes was saddled with the loss.
For Yoder, the key to the game was the Aggies’ inability to convert offensive opportunities.
“We’ve got to do a better job of converting,” she said. “It shouldn’t come down to defensive play. We need to capitalize throughout the game.”
UC Davis stranded 11 runners in the contest.
Still, Yoder is not discouraged by the tough series.
“We’ve faced the top teams in the Big West already,” she said. “We just need to pick ourselves up and continue to battle.”
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.