Feb. 7, 2014
LAS VEGAS - A RBI single to centerfield from Christa Castello drove broke a 3-3 deadlock in the top of the seventh inning, aggressive baserunning pushed another UC Davis run across the plate to give the Aggies the lead for good in their 5-4, season-opening victory against the Arkansas Razorbacks in their inaugural game at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic in Las Vegas.
UC Davis closed out the first day's schedule againt tournament host UNLV, a game that saw the Rebels squeak past the Aggies by a 4-3 score.
All three teams will enter the second day of action at the three-day event with matching 1-1 overall records.
Freshman right-hander Andrea Reynolds earned a victory in her debut appearance in the circle for a UC Davis team that faced Arkansas for the first time in the program's history.
Arkansas entered its tournament opener, against the Aggies, receiving votes in both the ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA preseason top-25 polls.
In each team's respective 2014 season opener, Arkansas jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after the first inning, only to watch UC Davis respond with a run in the top of the second on a solo home run from Lauryn Saunders.
In the top the third, Saunders' clutch double to centerfield, turning a one out, Jasmine Lee walk into a game-tying run when she sprinted around the diamond to plate UC Davis' second run.
Even though Arkansas drove in a run of its own in its next set of at-bats, UC Davis remained unfazed and tied the game once again in the top of the sixth.
Amy Nunez led off the sixth with a double to center, then advanced to third on a wild pitch. When Kelly Zboralske raked a single to right, her teammate scored easily to even the game at three apiece-that is, until showed its mettle throughout its half of the seventh.
A double by Chandler Wagner placed her in scoring position mere moments after action began; when Castello's single found empty grass in center, Wagner scored to give the Aggies their first lead of the afternoon.
On a 0-1 count, Lee reached base on a single, a play that also allowed Castello to advance from first to third.
Moments later Lee stole second; wisely reacting to the events that unfolded in front of her was Castello who immediately made a mad dash home. Castello's heads-up decision was followed by another one from Lee who then stole third-a play that capped a chain of events that ultimately lead to UC Davis earning a win in its season opener.
Unlike her starting counterpart who was removed after five innings, Reynolds recorded all 21 outs for the Aggies and struckout two to record a victory in her first-ever appearance in UC Davis colors.
Saunders struck again in day one's nightcap featuring UC Davis and UNLV. With her team trailing 4-2, she smacked another solo shot over the left field fence to pull her team within one run, with two outs in the top of the seventh.
Zboralske singled up the middle on the second pitch thrown her way, but was ultimately left stranded at first.
Responsible for driving in one run earlier in the day, Castello added another two RBI to her total to help UC Davis take a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the second.
After Jessica Barrett opened the inning by reaching base on a fielding error, she advanced another base on the very next play after Krista Bava laid down a textbook sacrifice bunt. Wagner soon joined Barrett on base after earning a free pass on five pitches; both soon found a seat in UC Davis' dugout after Castello drove both in on a two-out double to left.
The Aggies will start Saturday's schedule with a 11:15 a.m. game against San Diego and enjoy a brief break before returning to Eller Media Stadium at 3:45 p.m. to battle No. 18 Baylor.