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Saturday, March 2, 2024

UC Davis softball celebrates senior night

Aggies suffer tough doubleheader loss to Cal Poly on senior night

 

By EVA MACHADO — sports@theaggie.org

 

The UC Davis women’s softball team celebrated their four graduating seniors, Delaney Diaz, Taylor Fitzgerald, Alyssa Ito and Sommer Kisling, on May 7 following their doubleheader against the Cal Poly Mustangs.

The Aggies held a short ceremony for the seniors, wishing a happy farewell to their departing teammates. 

Friends and families gathered on and around the women’s home softball field following the doubleheader against Cal Poly. Head Coach Erin Thorpe shared that she hopes the graduating players take away from their time on the team the ability to “know what it feels like to battle with another group of people in order to accomplish a goal.”

Thorpe went on to describe the camaraderie she has seen from these players and knows they will continue to show in their lives. 

Delaney Diaz was the first to be celebrated in the ceremony. Diaz plans to attend nursing school and become a pediatric oncology nurse after leaving Davis. She has been a massive presence on the team, “playing 92 games and starting [in] 68” during her five years in the program.

Diaz showed her capability as a player during the day’s doubleheader, pounding a hit in game one that scored third-year Sarah Starks right to center. This run was the second and last for the Aggies in the first game against Cal Poly.

Taylor Fitzgerald was the second celebrated senior of the day. Fitzgerald has made 70 appearances in the circle as a UC Davis pitcher and “holds the best two single-season efforts in program history,” which were both shutouts.

During the doubleheader, Fitzgerald allowed five hits, three runs and struck out one batter in the first game against Cal Poly. In the second game of the day, Fitzgerald continued to support her team outside the circle.

Alyssa Ito returned to the Aggies for her final two seasons following one season with the team in 2020. Ito has played in 69 career games and started in 18 games. Ito will be studying for the CPA exam while working as a corporate auditor after graduation.

Ito’s announcement stated that she will cherish the small memories she has made with her friends at UC Davis and while on the team the most.

Sommer Kisling was the final senior to be celebrated by the Aggies on their home field for the 2023 season. Kisling has played with the team for the past five years, holding the record in the school’s division one history for the number of games played at 217. Kisling is also ranked second in all-time at-bats and third in hits for the team. This record reflects Kisling’s consistency on the team. 

The senior celebration followed the Aggies’ last home game of the regular 2023 season. Cal Poly beat the Aggies in back-to-back games, both with scores of 5-2.

In the first game of Saturday, the Aggies came out strong, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first. They held this lead until the sixth inning, when the Mustangs scored three runs, followed by an additional two runs in the seventh. 

Game two followed a similar trajectory. Again, the Aggies came in hot, scoring two runs in the first inning, but the Mustangs answered these runs with one of their own. 

The Mustangs and Aggies fought throughout the next three innings. Cal Poly scored one more run to level the score, and in the third inning, they took off, scoring three runs. The Mustangs held off the Aggies for the remainder of the game and ultimately defeated the Aggies with a final score of 5-2 again.

Saturday’s losses for the Aggies followed a win against Cal Poly on Friday, May 6. 

Leading players in Friday’s game included third-years Anna Dethlefson, Leah Polson, and Sarah Starks. Starks was also named student-athlete of the week. Starks earned this title in part because of a powerful home run during the doubleheader. Starks’ abilities shined through in both Friday’s win and Saturday’s games. 

What’s next for the Aggies following this tough loss against Cal Poly?

Following this three-game homestead, UC Davis headed to the University of Hawai’i for the regular season’s finale. The Aggies played the Rainbow Warriors on Thursday, May 11, followed by a doubleheader on Friday, May 12. The Aggies rallied from behind in the sixth inning of Thursday’s game but ultimately lost 2-3. On Friday, the Aggies beat the Rainbow Warriors in both games, winning the first 6-1 and the second 5-2. 

 

Written by: Eva Machado — sports@theaggie.org