After dropping two games to UC Santa Barbara in league play and a mid-week loss to Pacific on April 23, the UC Davis softball team was in dire need of a couple of wins.
They would have their chance this past weekend, April 26 and April 27, when they faced UC Riverside in a three-game Big West Conference series at home on La Rue Field.
April 26 was a solid day for the Aggies, as they took on the Highlanders in a doubleheader, winning both games, 3-0 and 4-1. Unfortunately, the athletes were unable to snag a sweep from UC Riverside, as they dropped their last matchup on April 27, 8-2.
However, with two of three wins on the weekend, UC Davis betters its conference record to 6-9, and their overall record to 17-29.
Securing those two wins on April 26 was a team effort, as multiple players flashed their skills defensively, on the mound and at the plate.
First up on the mound for the Aggies was freshman standout Dana Cruse, who threw a complete game, giving up only three hits on two walks with three strikeouts and most importantly no runs, picking up her first win of the day. With that win, Cruse recorded her third complete-game shutout victory on the season.
Offensively, the Aggies also dominated the Highlanders. In game one senior Chandler Wagner recorded her first-ever home run at UC Davis, putting the team up with an early lead of 1-0.
“I just saw the pitch and wanted to reach base safely,” Wagner said. “I was excited [about the home run] to say the least.”
Another standout at-bat came from sophomore Christa Castello, who knocked a triple into right center, recording two RBIs in the game and giving the Aggies the 3-0 lead that would hold for the rest of the first match-up.
Starting game two of the doubleheader was game one’s starter Cruse, pitching another outstanding five innings, giving up two hits on no walks with one strike out.
“I went with the hot pitcher,” said UC Davis head coach Karen Yoder.
Following Cruse was freshman Andrea Reynolds who shut the Highlanders’ offense down, giving up one run in two innings with no walks, recording her third save of the year.
Unfortunately, the Aggies were unable to come away with a sweep on the weekend, as UC Riverside came back on April 27 to spoil the Aggies’ hopes of a perfect weekend, defeating UC Davis 8-2.
Cruse started once again, but was unable to match her marks from the previous day, throwing only 2.2 innings, giving up six hits with five earned runs. Sophomore Alicia Paine came in to relieve Cruse and gave up three earned runs in 1.2 innings, followed by sophomore Marissa Chapa, who threw three innings giving up only two hits and no runs.
However, the Highlanders’ early run production would be too much for the Aggies, as UC Davis was unable to answer back at the plate, only scoring two runs to UC Riverside’s eight.
The Aggies still have several conference games to play to get themselves to an even .500. First, they face off against always talented Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, Calif. on April 3 and April 4. First pitch is at 4 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN3.
SLOAN BOETTCHER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.