Intense Battles Highlight Friday's Action

Megan Guzman turned a walk into one of the seven runs scored against Southern Illinois in the Aggies' opening game of the NFCA Leadoff Classic.
 
Megan Guzman turned a walk into one of the seven runs scored against Southern Illinois in the Aggies' opening game of the NFCA Leadoff Classic.
 

Feb. 22, 2013

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Competing in a field of 14 teams that includes numerous nationally-ranked programs at the 17th-annual NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla., one solitary run was the difference in both of UC Davis' Friday games as the Aggies were downed 8-7 by Southern Illinois and 4-3 in an eight-inning contest against James Madison.

The Aggies fall to 5-7 with the results, Southern Illinois improved to 5-6 with James Madison pushing its record to 6-1.

UC Davis will face top-25 competition in both of its games scheduled on Saturday, Feb. 23, facing No. 15/15 Michigan at 10 a.m. (PT) before ending the day with a 3 p.m. (PT) matchup against No. 17/14 USF.

Live Stats links for both games are available at ucdavisaggies.com. 

Friday's action also featured the first extra-inning event of the season for UC Davis in its game against the James Madison Dukes. 

Competing in its inaugural games of the season last week, James Madison earned four victories by an average of six runs, plating a total of 28 Dukes throughout its time in Charleston, S.C.

UC Davis starter Leah Munden was able to keep JMU's lineup in check throughout her 7.1 innings, striking out four batters in addition to allowing only two earned runs.

Helping UC Davis score a pair of runs was second baseman Chandler Wagner; with one swing in the bottom of the fourth, Wagner recorded her fourth extra-base hit of the season, a double down the left field line, to drive in a pair of Aggies.

UC Davis led the entire game until James Madison was able to piece together a three-run scoring effort in the top of the sixth to force addition action.

Scoring the go-ahead run in their half of the eighth on a sacrifice fly, the Dukes nearly faltered after the Aggies created a dangerous scoring opportunity in their final set of at-bats.

With first baseman Amy Nunez placed on second due to international tiebreaker rules that are being utilized throughout the tournament, third baseman Kayla Tyler and catcher JJ Wagoner soon joined their teammate on base after being hit by a pitch and reaching safely on a single through the middle of the infield respectively.

With two outs, and Aggies on all bases, James Madison was able to escape with the win after a groundout to the Dukes' shortstop ended UC Davis' rally.

Instigated to decide a winner in a timely fashion, it was the tiebreaker rule that allowed James Madison to plate the game-winning run as only a single was given up by UC Davis that inning. 

That lone JMU batter never had a chance to score via traditional means thanks to a heads-up play by right fielder Jasmine Lee.

Posting the second out in the top of the eighth on a pop fly, Lee saw too much space between James Madison third baseman Erica Field, and teammate Christina Guidry who was covering the bag at third. Once the ball rested in Lee's glove for out, Lee wisely fired a missile back to Guidry at third to catch Field off-guard and end the inning.

Under normal circumstances, the action between UC Davis and James Madison would have continued for as many innings as needed until one team scored the decisive run. 

With 36 games scheduled to take place at the Eddie C. Moore complex, international rules are a necessity to keep each day's action as close to its scheduled start as possible. 

The unconventional heartbreaker against James Madison capped an afternoon that also saw the Aggies and Southern Illinois combine to score 15 runs in the opening game of the Leadoff Classic for both teams earlier in the day.

Friday's high-scoring affair saw a spirited Aggie comeback effort punctuated with their two-run rally in the top of the seventh inning.

Earning her only hit of the game on the play, Christa Castello erased Southern Illinois' lead with one swing of the bat. Not only did the shortstop record her first double of the season, driving in centerfielder Megan Guzman who opened the inning with a walk, and Wagoner who earned a spot on first with her well-placed bunt, but she game her team a chance to regain the lead when it mattered the most.

Against Southern Illinois, UC Davis did a tremendous job exhibiting it discipline at the plate; of the eight walks drawn, four Aggies eventually made their way around the diamond to score. 

One of those four was centerfielder Krista Bava as she scored the first run of the tournament for UC Davis on Guidry's sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the first.

As beneficial as the walks were to UC Davis' scoring effort against Southern Illinois, a base on balls also represented the difference in the game when a leadoff walk became the game-winning run in the Salukis' half of the seventh.