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Friday, April 19, 2024

UC Davis softball ends game with a bang, changes their winning luck

Aggies take on three teams in the top 30 strongest teams in the United States

 

By LUCIENNE BROOKER — sports@theaggie.org

 

Despite weather troubles plaguing the first couple weeks of the season, the UC Davis softball team has gotten off to a strong start. Since garnering a substantial amount of opening season wins, the Aggies have established themselves as a formidable opponent. 

Opening up the season at home by hosting the Norcal Kickoff in early February, the Aggies faced some challenging teams. First up, they faced off against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, who won a Conference USA title in 2023 after winning 42 games. Despite this, the Aggies defeated the Blue Raiders 4-3 in a thrilling match. Although Middle Tennessee took the lead twice during the match, the Aggies dug deep and made a comeback for the win.

Unfortunately for the Aggies, they weren’t as lucky in their second match against Saint Mary’s. Although Saint Mary’s had lost more games than they won in 2023, this year they were looking for redemption and found it in a 6-0 defeat of the Aggies. 

Despite low morale for the Aggies after their loss, they weren’t ready to be counted out. The next day, the Aggies crushed the San Jose State Spartans 7-2. First-year pitcher Ashley Sawai made a strong impression with five strikeouts and only giving up two runs. 

To close out the Norcal Kickoff, the Aggies faced off against their long-time rival, the Sacramento State Hornets. Despite their strong performance earlier in the tournament, the Aggies were not able to clinch another victory from the Hornets with a final score of 4-1. After the Hornets converted a three-run home run in the first inning, they were determined to hold on to the lead as Davis struggled on the offense. The Aggies ended the Norcal Kickoff with a record of two wins and two losses. 

Next up, the Aggies traveled to Mexico for the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge where they played 25th-ranked Auburn. The Aggies had a strong comeback as they held their own against Auburn, but ultimately ended up losing 3-6. After falling behind 4-0 early in the match-up, the Aggie offense staged a mighty comeback, though it wasn’t enough to take the lead.

While the Aggies were excited to prove themselves in the next game against Wichita State, harsh weather in the area forced officials to cancel the match and postpone UC Davis’ second game of the day. 

Finally, the weather cleared up enough for the Aggies to face off against 20th-ranked South Carolina a few hours later. After a huge comeback from UC Davis to tie the game 4-4, the Aggies and the Gamecocks headed to extra innings. Unfortunately for the Aggies, South Carolina claimed the victory in the eighth inning, but Davis had put up a good fight with a final score of 4-6.

Before heading back to California, the Aggies had one more game against Mississippi State on Feb. 18. With fourth-year human development major Kenedi Brown pitching, the Aggies at last had their first win in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge. The tight 2-1 Aggie victory had fans watching nervously as the two teams were stuck in a tie for the majority of the game. It was not until the bottom of the seventh and final inning that third-year undeclared major Grace Kilday was able to send fourth-year psychology major Sarah Nakahara home to score the winning run and break the tie.  

The Aggies will be looking to build on the momentum of this victory as they face California Baptist in a three-game series at home and then travel to take on UC Berkeley on Feb. 28. 

Written by: Lucienne Brooker — sports@theaggie.org

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