The weekend was all about defense.
UC Davis struggled to convert its plays in the field against UC Santa Barbara and 11 errors in the three-game series resulted in the Gauchos’ sweep.
“It’s hard to win with that many errors,” said coach Karen Yoder. “That was the difference in the series.”
With the losses, UC Davis closes its season at 22-28, 7-14 in Big West Conference play. The Aggies finished the year tied for sixth in the league, nine games behind first-place Pacific.
Saturday – UC Santa Barbara 4, UC Davis 3 (9 innings)
Game one of the series was a sign of things to come for the Aggies.
Defensive miscues were the name of the game as UC Davis committed six errors on its way to an extra-innings defeat.
UC Santa Barbara was able to take an early lead thanks to the Aggies’ defensive mistakes, but UC Davis battled back to force extras.
Yoder was proud of the way her team refused to give up.
“We really fought hard through the whole game,” she said. “After going down early I was glad we were able to get back in it.”
The game remained tied until the ninth frame when Gaucho Katie Whitaker’s game-winning hit finished the contest.
Senior Alex Holmes pitched the entire game, allowing just nine hits and two earned runs.
Sophomore Megan Guzman topped the Aggie offense with two hits, one RBI and a steal.
Saturday – UC Santa Barbara 3, UC Davis 2 (8 innings)
Game two featured more of the same for UC Davis.
Again the Aggies found themselves trailing after the second frame, yet for the second match in a row UC Davis was able to come back and force extra innings.
Once again the Aggies left the field on the losing end, as the Gauchos were able to plate the game-winning run on a UC Davis error in the eighth inning. It was the Aggies’ third error of the contest.
Though the team was not happy with the string of extra-inning defeats, Yoder said things could have been worse.
“Of course we were disappointed with the loss, but I was happy with the way we fought in both games,” she said. “We didn’t give up. We just needed better defense.”
Sophomore Jessica Thweatt had a solid pitching performance for the Aggies, throwing the entire game and surrendering just two earned runs on eight hits.
Fellow sophomore JJ Wagoner was Thweat’s best asset for run support, going 3-for-4 with two runs.
Sunday – UC Santa Barbara 2, UC Davis 0
With the series already decided, the Aggies entered Sunday’s contest hoping to end their season on a high note.
Unfortunately for UC Davis, Gaucho pitcher Krista Cobb had other plans.
Cobb threw a complete-game shutout, allowing just four hits and two walks on her way to her third win of the series.
Holmes finished her Aggie career strong, also pitching the full game, and allowing just one earned run on five hits in the losing effort.
“I’m very proud of the way [Holmes] played,” Yoder said. “She put us in a position to win the game. It’s just a shame she had to take the loss.”
Although the Aggies finished this season with a four-game skid, Yoder is optimistic about the team’s outlook for next year.
“We have a lot of young players coming back,” she said. “Hopefully they’ve had a good chance to learn this year, and we’ll be ready to go next season.”
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at email@example.com.