March 24, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. – For seven full innings, UC Davis starter Justine Vela and Marina Demore, her counterpart from Oregon State, matched each other pitch-for-pitch and prevented their opponent from scoring a run in Sunday’s non-conference game at La Rue Field. In the eighth inning though, the Beavers turned a leadoff triple into the only run of the afternoon as the Aggies were defeated 1-0 in their final game prior to conference action.
UC Davis will begin its Big West schedule on Friday, March 29, in the first of three games at Hawai’i.
With Sunday’s result, the Aggies drop to 13-14 while No. 24 Oregon State improves to 22-5.
“To challenge a Pac-12 team that’s ranked at this level, I told my team how proud I was of them (after the game), and how they should be proud of themselves,” said head coach Karen Yoder.
In the Aggies’ sixth game of the season against a nationally-ranked opponent, Vela gave the home fans plenty to cheer about as the right-hander pitched a phenomenal game opposite an Oregon State squad that only earned two throughout the first seven innings.
Against a lineup that contained six batters with a .300 batting average or higher, the right-hander successfully mixed her pitches, baffled her opponents and recorded eight strikeouts.
“I thought Justine threw a great game and contained some dangerous hitters,” said Yoder.
UC Davis encountered a bit of bad luck in their half of the seventh inning; with Kayla Tyler on third base, Chandler Wagner blasted a line drive in that direction that would have easily driven in the winning run of the game were it not for an act of self-preservation by Oregon State third baseman Desiree Beltran.
Playing a few steps in front of the bag, Wagner’s line drive would have ricocheted directly off Beltran’s face has she not instinctually raised her glove to protect herself from what was easily the hardest hit ball of the day. That act alone preserved a 0-0 tie score and prevented Tyler from covering the 60 feet needed to plate the winning run.
Originally reaching base on a leadoff double down the left field line in that seventh inning, Tyler was responsible for one of the Aggies’ four hits earned against the Beavers.
Megan Guzman ended Demore’s shutout bid with her leadoff single in the fourth inning, one of her team-high two hits recorded against the Beavers, with Jasmine Lee responsible for the Aggies’ other hit in that same frame with a single to left field.
Added Yoder, “I think this type of game, even though we want to win, brings great momentum for us against Hawai’i… especially with everyone coming off finals. Some players even took their last final at six o’clock last night.
“We are right there, the only negative aspect to this game was the final score. I feel my team is ready for Big West play."
The first conference team to experience a bye week, UC Davis will return to action in its inaugural Big West game of the season at Hawai’i. First pitch from Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium this Friday is scheduled for 6 p.m. (Pacific).