Feb. 24, 2013
CLEARWATER, Fla. - UC Davis starting pitcher Justine Vela ended the Aggies' weekend at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla., with an efficient, and emphatic performance as she allowed only one hit to record her second straight complete-game shutout in in the Aggies' 2-0 win over Fordham.
Highlighted by her complete-game shutout against No. 14/17 USF and her one-hitter versus Fordham, Vela earned one of 12 available positions on the NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic's All-Tournament Team.
Earned in UC Davis' final game of the tournament, the victory over Fordham caps a weekend in Florida that saw UC Davis compete in four games that were decided by one run; the most recent occurrence taking place in Sunday's opening game versus Illinois State, one the Aggies dropped in the eighth inning by a 2-1 score.
Sunday's game against Illinois State was the second extra-inning contest involving the Aggies throughout the six-game, three-day tournament as their first day in Clearwater ended with an eight-inning event against James Madison.
With the split of Sunday's action, the team returns to Davis with a 7-9 record.
After four scoreless innings against Fordham, UC Davis was the first to light up the scoreboard on a rally that began with singles from Megan Guzman and Krista Bava in consecutive at-bats.
Advancing to third on Bava's single, Kelly Schulze drove her home on a sacrifice fly to right field.
Even though Vela would only need that one run to earn her fourth win of the season, UC Davis doubled its lead the following inning when Chandler Wagner's sac fly to left field allowed Kayla Tyler to trot home for an added insurance run.
Tyler instigated the action in the sixth with a leadoff single that split the Rams' shortstop and second baseman.
Now possessing a two-run advantage, Vela took care of the rest as she struckout two of three Fordham batters in the seventh, and forced a third to hit a foul fly to left to record her second complete-game shutout in as many appearances.
UC Davis ended Saturday's schedule with a 1-0 win over No. 14/17 South Florida in Vela's last trip to the circle.
In addition to Vela, Guzman also gave Fordham fits throughout the entire game, reaching base safely in three of her four trips to the plate. In addition to her single in the fourth, the Aggies' centerfielder also hit singles in the first and fifth innings.
Guzman was also one of five Aggies to steal a base off Rams' pitchers, a list that includes Christina Guidry, Amy Nunez, Tyler and JJ Wagoner.
Throughout the weekend, UC Davis was successful in all six of its stolen base attempts, and has now swiped 22 bags throughout its first 16 games.
In their first game of the day, the Aggies took an early 1-0 lead by capitalizing on an Illinois State error to plate the game's inaugural run.
The Redbirds evened things up at one apiece in the bottom of the third before engaging in a pitcher's duel throughout the subsequent four innings.
Combined, Aggie pitchers Leah Munden and Jessica Thweatt allowed only four hits and fanned five Illinois State batters to force addition innings under international tiebreak rules.
Snakebitten in its previous extra-inning game against James Madison, UC Davis experienced deja vu in Sunday morning's game when Illinois State scored the game-winning run shortly after a Redbird runner was placed on second to start the inning.
Highlighted by their signature victory over No. 14/17 South Florida, a team that possessed a significant home-field advantage (its campus less than 30 minutes away from the Eddie C. Moore Complex, site of the Leadoff Classic), and Vela's back-to-back shutouts, a number of Aggies turned in solid outings for head coach Karen Yoder throughout the team's time in Clearwater.
For the weekend, Wagoner led all Aggie starters with a .400 batting average, with Tyler responsible for driving in four of the Aggies' 14 runs scored. In her three games played, Guzman was an efficient .600 at the plate, recording three hits in her five at-bats, also scoring on two occasions.
Six different Aggies also recorded a stolen base, highlighting the amount of speed that graces UC Davis' roster from top to bottom.