Event: NFCA Leadoff Classic
Teams: UC Davis vs. Southern Illinois; vs. James Madison; vs. Michigan; vs. USF; vs. Illinois State; vs. Fordham
Records: Aggies (5-5); Salukis (4-6); Dukes (4-1); Wolverines (6-2); Bulls (6-3); Redbirds (5-5); Rams (4-1)
Where: Eddie C. Moore Complex, Clearwater, FL
When: Friday 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Sunday 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. (All times are Pacific Time)
Who to watch: Junior Chandler Wagner made her presence known at the Stanford Invitational just this last weekend, batting .500 with numerous clutch runs batted in.
Wagner’s hitting prowess was highlighted in the Aggies’ two matchups against the Santa Clara Broncos where she went 1-2 in the first game, followed by 2-2 in the second. In the latter, she posted three RBIs off of a double and a triple in the Aggies’ demolition derby 14-1 victory over the Broncos.
The Aggies will rely on Wagner’s deadly bat to lead them to success against tough opponents that they will face in the coming weekend’s NFCA Leadoff Classic.
Did you know? A little known fact about Clearwater, Fla., the weekend destination for our diamond gals, is that it is the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training stomping grounds.
With Major League pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training just last week, dare I say that our Aggies have the potential of crossing paths with a Phillie? Even though the chance of this occurring is unlikely, at least they can claim to be within a five-minute car ride of the Phillie greats.
Preview: At this point in UC Davis softball’s demanding schedule, the team is set to face one tough opponent after the next. With little time in between tournaments, the Aggies will need to stay physically and mentally fresh in transition from the Stanford Invitational to a challenging weekend ahead at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla.
The Aggies’ grueling weekend ahead has them scheduled to take on six different opponents in six games over the course of three days. All but one of the upcoming matchups will be against teams currently with a .500 record or higher.
There is no doubt that the trip to Florida will not be a vacation for UC Davis; however, the opportunity will prove to be invaluable for a young Aggie team.
“We are really excited about our trip to Florida and I think that this is a great chance for our program,” said coach Karen Yoder.
In order to be successful on the weekend, the Aggies will need to both remain offensively hot, but also continue to improve defensively. Here, the old adage that you cannot win without defense rings true.
As always, minimizing errors and capitalizing on opportunities will be keys for success. The motto for the upcoming weekend, and the rest of the season as a whole, will be to execute in pivotal situations.
Not only will the Aggies be facing stellar adversaries, but they will also be challenged physically as they will experience three days of consecutive double headers, culminating in a Sunday start at 6:30 a.m. However, this is nothing the Aggies have not already prepared for physically throughout the first portion of their arduous season.
With all of this being said, with the combination of a young season and a young team, there is no doubt that the Aggies will benefit greatly from the experience awaiting them in Florida.
“It will be a great opportunity to face a few challenges,” Yoder said.
— Alli Kopas