Event: Stanford Invitational
Teams: UC Davis vs. Santa Clara; vs. CSU Bakersfield; vs. Santa Clara; vs. Stanford
Records: Aggies (3-2); Broncos (0-2); Roadrunners (0-3); Cardinal (4-2)
Where: Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium — Palo Alto, Calif.
When: Saturday at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Sunday at 12:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Who to watch: With an upcoming weekend of potentially intimidating opponents looming, the Aggies will look to sophomore Amy Nunez’ red hot bat to lead their offense to victory.
Last season, Nunez made her mark as a freshman while batting .225 with a .357 slugging percentage, in addition to leading the team with four dingers. To add to her offensive accolades, Nunez led the team with a .507 success rate in advancing runners.
Last weekend in Fresno, Nunez led her team to a 3-2 record batting .400 on the weekend with six hits. Nunez was so dependable in fact that coach Karen Yoder relied on her bat to be a force at the top of the lineup each game.
“We rotated her in the heart of the lineup and she was very productive for us,” Yoder said.
Look for Nunez to not only do some serious damage in the three hole, but also defensively at first base, where she only recorded one error last year.
Did you know? Sophomore Cassandra Ginnis, who managed to start a staggering 31 of 49 games as the Aggies’ leadoff table-setter last season, lists her ultimate sports hero as none other than Tim Tebow. Coincidence that Ginnis’ number 24 jersey adds up to six just like Tebow’s No. 15 does?
Maybe, but probably not.
Preview: Last weekend’s tournament in Fresno served to not only allow UC Davis softball team as a whole to become a more cohesive unit, but also to give the newcomers some much needed experience in game situations.
“There were a lot of opportunities for the newcomers to be placed into intense situations, so overall I am pleased at this point,” Yoder said.
With the season still in its infancy, the Aggie’s young composition of nine freshmen and four transfers is bound to gain more experience as the season progresses. Even with only a few games under their belts, key rookies have proved themselves to be essential both offensively and defensively in leading the team to victory.
Coming off of this solid week of play, the UC Davis softball team will take on their next slew of challenging opponents as they travel down to Palo Alto to compete in their second tournament of the season, the Stanford Invitational.
Although the Aggies’ schedule for the upcoming weekend includes tough competitors, Yoder stressed her confidence in her team’s ability to handle the pressure and to remain focused on their goals as a team.
“It really doesn’t matter who we play, we are just trying to focus on Aggie ball and preparing for our next competition,” Yoder said.
The plan is to do just that as they will need to muster all of their combined strength in preparation for their final game of the weekend against tournament host and 22nd-ranked Stanford.
Just this time of year last season, the Aggies upset the then-eighth-ranked Cardinal to set the tone for a successful season to follow. However, all history aside, both teams will come into the matchup at the end of the weekend focused on the present and not the past.
“It really doesn’t matter the opponent, it’s just making sure that that the players are ready to step up in key situations,” Yoder said.
Although the Aggies will take on the Cardinal in their final game of the tournament, they will need to first stand off the Santa Clara Broncos and the Roadrunners. Although both the Broncos and the Roadrunners currently display losing records, the Aggies know that they are not teams to overlook.
The Aggies’ opening weekend of games allowed the team to display their offensive prowess; however, if the team intends to compete with the best of the best in their upcoming schedule, they will need to remain defensively strong.
With the Aggies’ impressive offense more than under control, the key to victory will just be to lock it down defensively. Though this is always easier said than done.
— Alli Kopas