Teams: UC Davis at UC Riverside
Records: Aggies 19-22, (4-8); Highlanders 10-27, (3-9)
Where: Amy S. Harrison Softball Field – Riverside, Calif.
When: Saturday at noon and 2 p.m.; Sunday at noon
Who to watch: Sophomore Kelly Schulze is nearly a guarantee to reach base for the Aggies.
While Schulze is hitting just .255 this season, she has an on-base percentage .407 and is second on the team with 12 walks.
Did you know? While the Aggies are currently below .500 this season, they can take encouragement from knowing their biggest challenges are behind them.
UC Davis has already played three of the top four squads in the Big West Conference, and the combined record of the Aggies’ final three opponents is 41-78.
Preview: This week did not get off to the start UC Davis would have hoped for.
Tuesday marked the Aggies’ final non-conference game of the season, a 6-0 shutout loss to No. 13 Stanford.
Head coach Karen Yoder believes the deciding factor in the game was the Aggies’ defensive mistakes.
“We had some unfortunate errors,” she said. “We were facing a very talented team and they took advantage of our miscues. We learned that we cannot give up errors against a good team like that.”
UC Davis will have a chance to put that lesson to work as it enters the final stretch of the season.
With just three series left in Big West play, Yoder has very high hopes for her team.
“We want to win all nine [remaining games],” she said. “We want to compete well and play hard.”
UC Davis’ quest to finish the season with an undefeated run will begin this weekend against UC Riverside.
While the Aggies are currently fifth in the Big West and five back of first place, they know that a sweep this weekend could put them right back in the hunt.
“If we take all three it will put us in position to make a run at a top three spot,” Yoder said. “That’s where we want to be.”
While she has placed lofty goals on her team over the final stretch, Yoder wants to ensure that her team has fun.
“I just want us to suit up and play for the love of the game,” she said. “If it’s meant to be, then we’ll find ourselves in position to be considered for the postseason. For now we can just focus on the games that we can control.”
– Trevor Cramer