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Davis

Davis, California

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Softball hopes for Valentine’s victories in City of Angels

Event: Stacy Winsburg Memorial Tournament

Records: Aggies 1-4; Bruins 5-0; Colonials 4-0; Hilltoppers 3-1-1

Where: Los Angeles, Calif.

When: Friday, Feb. 14 at 10 a.m.; Saturday, Feb. 15 at 3:30 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 16 at 10 a.m.

Who to Watch:

With the Aggies’ first games commencing on the road Feb. 7, several players are already entering the season on a high note with preseason accolades. Junior pitcher Justine Vela and sophomore outfielder Jasmine Lee each received All-Conference Honors prior to the start of the 2014 season.

Vela, always a menace on the mound, nabbed one of only three pitching slots on College Sports Madness’ Preseason All-Conference Softball First Team, while Lee was one of only three outfielders named to the second team. Each of these athletes is expected to be a big part of the UC Davis’ success throughout this year.

Adding to the team’s solid set of returners are several new faces that are already establishing their skills out on the diamond. Looking to add to the Aggies’ pitching staff is freshman right-hander Andrea Reynolds, who earned her first start as an Aggie in the team’s kickoff game on Feb. 7 in Las Vegas, Nev. against nationally-ranked University of Arkansas.

Reynolds dashed top-25 ranked Arkansas’ hopes of starting the year off with a victory by throwing a complete game when the two teams met for the first time in either program’s history. Battling throughout the game, Reynolds went the distance, giving up three runs on 10 hits with two strikeouts, penciling in her first win on the year.

Other young players to watch out for this year include freshman Lauryn Saunders and sophomore Kelly Zboralske. With 14 at-bats in five games, Saunders leads the Aggies with a .429 batting average on six hits — two of which left the park, giving her two of the team’s total four home runs to start off 2014. Also swinging a hot bat for the Aggies is Zboralske, who started the season off strong as well, holding a solid .400 average with six hits in 15 at-bats in the five games UC Davis played in Las Vegas, Nev. Zboralske also belted a two-run shot to left versus Washington on Feb. 9, giving her her first home run of the season.

Preview:

With the next two months filled with tournament play, the Aggies have a chance to bring home multiple trophies prior to the start of conference play.

“This weekend’s tournament [in Las Vegas] is the start of another chapter,” head coach Karen Yoder said. “Chapter three is what we call ‘tournament ball’ which takes place from February to mid-March during our non-conference schedule.”

UC Davis began their tournament run this past weekend when they traveled to Las Vegas, Nev. for the UNLV Sportco Kick-Off Classic. Although the team walked away with only one victory in five games, it was a key win, defeating Arkansas 5-4 in the first game of the year.

The athletes will face University of Pacific and Sac State at home in two mid-week games on Feb. 11 and Feb. 12, before traveling down south for their next round of tournament play.

The Stacy Winsburg Memorial Tournament will take place Feb. 14 to 16 in Los Angeles, Calif. with the Aggies facing Western Kentucky, UCLA and Robert Morris for a Valentine’s Day weekend filled with plenty of beloved softball.

Bringing home a tournament win for the Aggies would jumpstart the Aggies’ season, marking UC Davis as a team to beat in 2014.

— Sloan Boettcher

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