Going into yet another away tournament for the weekend, the UC Davis softball team traveled down to Palo Alto to compete in the Stanford Invitational against Santa Clara, CSU Bakersfield, in addition to the tournament host and 20th-ranked Stanford.
Although the team split the double headers on both days of the weekend, the Aggies recorded losses in a nail-biter against Cal State Bakersfield and against an all-around solid Stanford team.
“Any time we drop a game, I have higher expectations. We had some bright moments, and then some moments where we had to focus on [our] intensity,” said coach Karen Yoder.
Although the Aggies’ performance may not have fully met expectations, junior Chandler Wagner’s bat proved to be a force which motivated the team throughout the long weekend.
Wagner batted an enviable .500 on the weekend going 4-8, highlighted by a double and a triple in the Aggies’ second outing against Santa Clara.
Saturday — UC Davis 7, Santa Clara 2; UC Davis 0, CSU Bakersfield 2
To begin the weekend of play, the Aggies (3-3) matched-up against the Santa Clara Broncos (0-4).
Relatively little offensive action took place for both teams until the bottom of the second inning when a series of walks and timely stolen bases by the Aggies resulted in the addition of four runs to the board.
The very next inning, the Broncos retaliated, scoring a run off of one big fly. However, sophomore pitcher Justine Vela was able to contain the damage after retiring the next two batters on a groundout and a fly out. A couple batters later, Vela ended the inning, striking out her final batter of the inning swinging.
The third proved to be a productive inning, as the Aggies added another three runs to create a substantial lead of 7-1. The inning was highlighted by a sacrifice fly by senior Kelly Schulze which scored sophomore Kayla Tyler from third, followed by a clutch double from sophomore Cassandra Ginnis which resulted in another two runs.
Only in the top of the fourth did the Broncos challenge the Aggies’ seemingly insurmountable lead of six runs as they added another run off of Vela. After this slight hiccup, the rest of the game was smooth sailing for the Aggies as Vela gave up zero hits in the last three innings to close out the victory with a final score of 7-2.
Going into their second game of the tournament, the Aggies (4-3) took on CSU Bakersfield (0-6) to close out their first day of play.
The first three innings proved to be offensively slow as neither team was able to convert until the bottom of the fourth when the Roadrunners added their first run to the board off of an RBI fly out after a leadoff triple. The Roadrunners added their last run to the board in the sixth to accomplish a 0-2 win over the Aggies.
Although the entirety of the game the Aggies made contact in the batter’s box, they were unable to find hits off of Roadrunners’ pitcher Kelsie Monroe, who gave up only three in total to get the complete game shutout.
Sunday — UC Davis 14, Santa Clara 1; UC Davis 0, Stanford 8
On the second day of play, the Aggies diverted their attention from their loss the previous night in preparation for their rematch against the Santa Clara Broncos.
After giving up two hits in the first inning, freshman Leah Munden came back in the second, striking out her first two batters swinging, and popping out the third for a much-needed one-two-three inning.
The Aggies took the early lead in the third, capitalizing on wild pitching and an error by the Broncos to help add their first run to the board.
In just the next inning, the Aggie bats came alive on a two-out rally initiated by junior Chandler Wagner’s RBI double. The next at-bat, freshman Cat Guidry, kept the rally alive, sending Wagner home from second on an RBI single.
The Aggies’ rally continued as freshman Jasmine Lee’s single furthered Guidry to second, and then third on a Bronco error. Subsequently, Lee moved herself into scoring position by stealing second, only to be driven in by the always-reliable bat of sophomore Krista Bava, who added two RBIs off of a double to left center.
The monster fourth inning ended with five hits and four runs recorded for the Aggies, making the score 5-0 going into the top of the fourth. The Broncos added their first run to the board in the fourth, capitalizing on an Aggie error.
Again in the fifth inning, the Aggies took advantage of untimely errors by the Broncos to add another three runs to their lead with two hits.
In the final inning, the Aggies drew blood once again adding another six runs to their already substantial lead. Sisters Christina and Cat Guidry, both freshmen, each recorded singles in the inning, as well as both crossed home to add to the Aggies’ lead.
The pièce de résistance, which would cap off an offensively stellar game for the Aggies, came from the bat of none other than Wagner. A triple to right field from the junior second baseman would add two more runs for the Aggies, while also placing her in scoring position for the single by Cat Guidry.
Schulze also made her presence known in the sixth, doubling to score two and to finalize the resounding score of 14-1.
With an offensively exciting game for the Aggies behind them, they then transitioned to their final matchup which pitted them against the tournament host and 20th-ranked Stanford Cardinal.
Vela, who assumed the pitcher’s circle against an intimidating Cardinal lineup, found herself in a pitching duel with Stanford freshman Kelsey Stevens through the first three innings.
Vela recorded three strikeouts through three, while Stevens recorded four strikeouts and added another three in the fourth inning. Vela was replaced by senior Jessica Thweatt in the fourth after giving up a big fly, three walks and a single to make the score 2-0 in favor of the Cardinal.
The Cardinal offense proved to age better with time, scoring five runs in the concluding inning to close out the tournament with a final score of 8-0 against the Aggies. Lee proved to be the only batter capable of hitting off of Cardinal starter Stevens as she recorded the sole Aggie hit on the game.
The 20th-ranked Cardinal’s record would become 10-2, as the Aggies’ record fell to 5-5 after a long weekend away from La Rue Field.
Up next for the Aggies is a challenging weekend in Clearwater, Fla. to compete in the NFCA Leadoff Classic where they will compete against numerous East Coast opponents.
As for what the Aggies need to improve on in preparation for next weekend, Yoder mentioned experience and being ready for game situations.
“Overall, just executing when the game is on the line, that is the key thing,” Yoder said. “We had our chances this weekend and we just need to do a better job and be ready for those moments and be ready to execute.”
ALLI KOPAS can be reached at email@example.com.