March 15, 2014
RENO, Nev. - After its 9-2 triumph over North Dakota in the first of two Saturday games scheduled at the Wolf Pack Classic in Reno, Nev., the Aggies secured a split after tournament host Nevada squeaked past UC Davis by a 4-3 score.
UC Davis will face the same two teams at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. respectively Sunday at Hixson Park before heading home. The Aggies enter the last of its 17-game road swing with a 10-18 record, North Dakota and Nevada will continue play with 0-13 and 17-9 overall marks.
Even though the Aggies' first game went the distance, only two innings were needed for UC Davis to build a sizable lead by scoring one run in the first, and another four the following inning to jump ahead of UND 5-0
A first-inning single to left center by Lauren Saunders allowed Amy Nunez, who reached base by hitting a single of her own two batters before, to score the game's inaugural run.
The following frame saw UC Davis take full advantage of two North Dakota errors to extend its one-run lead even further.
After Krista Bava doubled to right, UND managed to prevent the next two Aggies from reaching base. However, Christa Castello kept her team's scoring opportunity alive by reaching base on a single to left, one of a team-high three hits the sophomore shortstop recorded throughout the morning.
In addition to Castello who hit 3-for-4, scored twice and drove in one run, Bava who also finished 3-for-4, scored twice and recorded a game-high two RBI.
A North Dakota throwing error allowed Brianna Warner, who would have remained on first base otherwise, to advance another 60 feet to place herself in scoring position. Touching home plate on the play to record the Aggies' second run was Castello.
On the very next at-bat, another UND miscue allowed UC Davis to score its final two runs to take a commanding five-run lead.
Initially reaching base on a double, her eighth of the year, Nunez advanced to third and scored shortly after Warner touched the plate thanks to a throwing error from North Dakota right fielder Amanda Johnson.
Now armed with a generous cushion, UC Davis starting pitcher Dana Cruse did her part to help her team collect its 10th victory of 2014. By throwing five innings of shutout softball, allowing only five hits and two runs-one of which was unearned-the freshman right-hander picked up her team-high fourth win.
Of her 25 batters faced, Cruse fanned three.
North Dakota ended its shutout bid in the bottom of the sixth inning by scoring twice only to see UC Davis respond with another three runs in its final set of at-bats.
Beginning with Kimberly Pena's leadoff single, the first three Aggies won their duel against UND starter Kaylin VanDomelen. What started with Pena continued with Chandler Wagner, who posted her first triple of the year, ended with Bava, who smacked her second home run to earn her final two RBI of the game.
Unlike UC Davis' first game, one that saw a majority of runs scored in the early innings, the exact opposite took place in the Aggies' afternoon contest against Nevada.
Trailing 2-0 after the Wolf Pack plated their first runs in the second inning, UC Davis stormed back to tie the game at two apiece after recording a run of its own in the fourth and fifth innings.
Responsible for three of her team's five hits, Warner earned her first of the afternoon when she opened the fourth with a single to short. After stealing second, a wild pitch allowed the left fielder to take third. A sacrifice bunt from Saunders cut the Wolf Pack's lead in half.
That deficit disappeared completely when Caitlin Voss drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to left, allowing Bava, who started the fifth with a walk, to score.
Nevada regained its lead by scoring once in the bottom of that same inning; by scoring a run for the third consecutive inning, UC Davis pulled even once again.
Collecting her penultimate hit of the day on a leadoff single through the middle, Warner scored the Aggies' final run of the day after stealing second, advancing to third on a fielder's choice and scoring on a bunt from Kelly Zboralske.
The back-and-forth battle continued as the game entered the bottom of the sixth, one that saw Nevada shortstop Megan Sweet reach base on a fielder's choice before scoring on a double hit by her teammate Erin Jones.
Entering the top of the seventh trailing by only one run, Cat Guidry became the fourth straight Aggie to start an inning by reaching base after laying down a textbook bunt.
Advancing one base on a Castello groundout, Guidry sprinted to third on Warner's single; with Aggies on the corners, Wolf Pack starter Megan Dortch ended the game, and allowed Nevada to escape with a narrow one-run win by recording her ninth strikeout.
UC Davis will have an opportunity to sweep its set of games against North Dakota, and avenge its loss to Nevada when the team returns to Hixson Park Sunday morning. As was the case with its Saturday games, first pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. respectively.