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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Spring in full swing for the UC Davis softball team

Aggies take two losses and one win

 

By EMMÍA J RIVERA — sports@theaggie.org

 

Aside from the emergence of spring, mid-March also introduces a new season for UC Davis: Aggie softball. Since the official start of Big West conference play on March 15, Davis has played three sets of competitions against opponents Cal State University (CSU) Fullerton, CSU Long Beach and CSU Bakersfield.

In their first match-up for the Aggies, UC Davis hosted current conference leader Cal State Fullerton. Unfortunately for the Aggies, the set resulted in a loss with Fullerton coming in strong to kick off their season. Fullerton was victorious in the first and third games with the third game resulting in the Fullerton shutout. Nonetheless, the Aggies still pulled out a win in the second match, showing that they were just warming up for the season.

The following week, the Aggies went back on the road where they were edged out by reigning Big West champion CSU Long Beach in three close games. Davis provided two fair fights, but ultimately fell short in the end. The first game of the series ended 2-1, where both teams battled for 11 innings and Long Beach held on to the lead.

 The second game, following the extra-innings trend, had a final score of 1-0. Even with the extra time, the Aggie comeback just wasn’t enough and Long Beach took the victory. With one game left to go, the Aggies held on to their high spirits and prepared heavily. However, in the series finale — just coming up short against the defending Big West champions — the Aggies faced another loss with a final score of 4-1. 

Aside from the losses, some of the athlete performances were undeniably stellar, with the most notable performance coming from Davis’ right-handed hurler fifth-year Kenedi Brown. Brown held on to her composure throughout all of the games and had numerous strikeouts that prevented any one of the Aggies’ opponents from extending their scores.

Additionally, fourth-year Anna Dethlefson had a strong performance throughout both games with her many hits and base steals. 

Dethlefson, the reigning Big West Conference Player of the Year, was the first UC Davis player to earn top honors since joining the conference back in 2008. She also stole her 93rd base, adding to her newly acquired title: Davis’s all-time stolen base leader.

For the last competition set in March, the Aggies hosted CSU Bakersfield at La Rue field on March 28. This set would be no easy task for the Aggies as they had another loss in the first game. With a final score of 3-0 for the first game, the Aggies were looking to finally break their losing streaks and bring home a win. 

As the team had a newfound confidence for the last two games of the set, the Aggies took two big wins on March 29, taking down Bakersfield 7-5 in the first game on Saturday and 7-1 in the second.

Despite being down 4-0 early on in the first game, base hits from fifth-year Leah Polson, fifth-year Sarah Starks, fourth-year Libbie McMahan and second-year Gia Felice helped the Aggies cut the deficit to 4-2. First-year Marley Panziera delivered an additional two runs batted in (RBI) base hit to tie the game. 

Bakersfield restored its lead, but it didn’t last as fourth-year Sarah Nakahara and teammate Polson scored a combined three runs en route to a 7-5 win. Beyond the heavy offensive production, Davis’ victory was secured courtesy of a save by Brown, who threw three consecutive perfect innings. 

In 2023, Brown was named Big West All-Conference First Team for the third straight season. Her performance looks promising to continue her streak for the fourth time.

Game two against Bakersfield provided another seven-run win with a plethora of base hits and an opposite-field home run from Panziera. The sixth inning was fueled by a three-run rally and led to UC Davis being awarded the series win. 

Coming off of a strong 15-win season last year, a feat not seized since 2010, the Aggies hope to shine even brighter on the field this season. As they won’t be leaving Davis very often this spring, April will hopefully bring more home victories to add to their at-home winning record, which is currently 11-9.

 

Written by: Emmía J Rivera — sports@theaggie.org

 

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