Freshman pitcher shuts out Mustangs en route to 1-0 victory
The UC Davis softball team concluded its weekend series on Sunday against Cal Poly with a 1-0 win. On Saturday, the Aggies and Mustangs played two of the three games in the series in doubleheader fashion. In the first game, the Aggies were up against the Big West conference’s all-time strikeout leader, right handed pitcher Sierra Hyland. Hyland mowed down the Aggies on her way to a complete game shutout and an 8-0 Mustang win. Game two was much more competitive, as the two teams combined to break the Aggies’ Division I record for longest home game, at 13 innings. The Mustangs walked away with a grueling 8-7 victory. On Sunday, the Aggies came out determined to salvage the series and delivered a dominant pitching performance and a 1-0 victory.
Freshman right handed pitcher Katie Kibby started for the Aggies, while another Cal Poly heavyweight right handed pitcher took the mound in the form of Lindsey Chalmers. Both pitchers battled back and forth for the first four innings, with Kibby throwing three and two thirds perfect innings and Chalmers matching her with three innings of two-hit softball.
“Personally, I get very [competitive]. If [Chalmers is] going to do that, then I’m going to do it better,” Kibby said. “With Sierra Hyland, [when] she’s hitting, I even want to dig in more and have an ‘I’m going to get you out’ [mentality].”
In the bottom of the fourth, the Aggies’ bats came alive, and freshman left fielder Marissa Jauregui turned on the first pitch of the inning for a massive solo shot over the left field wall.
“We talk a lot about being aggressive and attacking our pitch, so going [to the plate] I knew that I was going to take my best swing on the best pitch that I got,” Jauregui said.
Freshman center fielder and third baseman Isabella Leon followed suit with a line drive triple that flew just over the Cal Poly right fielder’s outstretched glove. However, the Aggies were unable to score Leon and left her stranded on third base.
In the top of the fifth, Cal Poly began a furious rally with a leadoff single and a walk. The Aggies were able to work themselves out of the jam with great defense, but ultimately made it out of the inning thanks to a Cal Poly baserunning miscue by Cal Poly’s Hyland, who forgot to tag up on her way to home plate.
One run turned out to be plenty for Kibby, as she finished out the game with a complete game shutout, her third of the year.
“I just had the mindset of doing better than we did yesterday, and then I just took it inning by inning,” Kibby said. “I know my defense has my back and they made great plays today.”
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Aggies. The bounce back from Saturday’s extra-inning loss set the tone for a positive end to the season.
“On a day like yesterday, we have to have a short memory, we have to do whatever we can overnight to recover our bodies,” said head coach Erin Thorpe. “We basically played three games yesterday, [we need] to go out and get our minds and our bodies recovered and do whatever we can to show up the next day.”
The Aggies head south next weekend for a series against UC Santa Barbara before returning for their final homestand from May 12 to 13 against Cal State University, Northridge.
“We’re not really looking at our opponents as any specific opponents, we’re looking at them as opportunities to continue to grow as a team,” Thorpe said. “[Even] our seniors are still working to get more consistent, come out here every game and compete, and our young ones are looking at it as another game to gain more experience.”
Written by: Rowan O’Connell-Gates — firstname.lastname@example.org