UC Davis Nearly Upsets No. 1 Arizona State

Sarah Axleson hit a two-run homer in the first inning. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)
 
Sarah Axleson hit a two-run homer in the first inning. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)
 

March 7, 2008

Final Stats

TEMPE, Ariz. - UC Davis nearly pulled off a major upset Friday evening in a 10-8 loss at No. 1 Arizona State. The Aggies opened the game with five runs in the first inning and did not allow the nation's top team to take its first lead until the fifth inning. Sarah Axelson and Julie Stauder each hit their first career home runs for the Aggies. The eight runs were the most by an ASU opponent in 40 games, dating back to last year. The game was the first for UC Davis at the Diamond Devil Invitational. The Aggies face Utah late Friday night.

More remarkably for the Aggies in the first inning is they did all of their damage with two outs and the bases empty. Stauder and Deanna Menapace drew walks, and Erin Emde followed with an RBI-double to put UC Davis on top, 1-0. Sarah O'Neill kept the rally going with a run-scoring single to drive in Stauder. Emde also scored on the play as a result of a fielding error, and the Aggies suddenly had a 3-0 lead. Next up was Axleson, who cleared the bases with a two-run homer, and the Aggies had a quick 5-0 lead.

The Sun Devils responded with their own five-run inning in the bottom of the first. Mindy Cowles hit the first of her two home runs in the game, a three-run shot, and Krista Donnenwirth added a two-run blast as ASU tied the score at 5-5 heading to the second.

UC Davis wasted little time picking up where it left off in the first. With two outs and runners at second and third, Menapace singled to drive in Michelle Espiritu with the go-ahead run. Emde launched her second double in as many innings to drive in Alex Holmes and give UC Davis a 7-5 lead. The double also forced the removal of Sun Devil starter Megan Elliott, who was replaced by ace Katie Burkhart.

 

 

The two-run lead would hold up until the bottom of the third when Cowles hit a two-run homer to tie the game at 7-7.

Once again, the Aggies went to work to regain the lead. With one out in the fourth, Stauder hit a solo home run to put UC Davis on top 8-7. It was just the fifth earned run given up by Burkhart this season, who entered the game with a 0.39 ERA.

ASU eventually scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth to take its first lead of the game at 9-8. The Sun Devils added an insurance run in the sixth.

The Aggies' performance marked the second time this season they forced an elite team to come from behind. On opening day, UC Davis took a 2-0 lead against No. 6 Tennessee in the fourth inning before the Vols came back to eventually win, 5-2.

Holmes started for the Aggies, and Jessica Hancock came on in relief in the third.

After the Aggies finish their game against Utah late Friday, they'll be back on the diamond Saturday morning to face No. 21 San Diego State and San Diego.