March 30, 2013
HONOLULU - In a game that saw seven of the nine combined runs earned on home runs, it was No. 18/22 Hawai'i that struck last as a solo shot in the 10th inning was the difference as UC Davis was defeated 5-4 in its Big West Conference opener Friday evening in Honolulu, Hawai'i.
UC Davis slips to 13-15 overall and 0-1 in conference play while Hawai'i improves it record to 26-7 and 4-0 against Big West teams.
Both teams penciled their respective pitching ace in Friday's lineup as sophomore right-hander Justine Vela went toe-to-toe against Hawai'i lefty Kaia Parnaby throughout the entire evening.
Both pitchers struckout 11 batters with Vela allowing one fewer hit compared to her Rainbow Wahine counterpart who allowed nine Aggies to reach base safely.
Vela has been the Aggies' pitcher of record in the team's last three extra-inning games.
Vela also set a new career-high by pitching all nine innings Friday night, surpassing her previous high of eight recorded on three previous occasions.
Besides going the distance in UC Davis' eight-inning, one-run victory at Cal State Northridge last season, she also threw for eight frames in the first game of a doubleheader at Cal State Bakersfield two weeks ago on March 16, and at home against Oregon State eight days later.
Kelly Schulze provided a glimpse of the action that would soon take place at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium Friday night when she turned on a pitch with the count at 0-1 and homered to centerfield to give UC Davis an early 2-0 lead.
Scoring on the play was Megan Guzman who began the Aggies' first Big West game of the season with a single through the left side of the infield.
Shortly after Hawai'i's Kelly Majam cut UC Davis' advantage in half with a solo shot in the bottom of the third, the Aggies tacked that run back on the board in the top of the fifth when Krista Bava scored on a wild pitch to push her team's lead back to a two-run margin.
The back-and-forth offensive barrage continued throughout the next two half-innings; Hawai'i took a 4-3 lead when Keiki Carlos hit a three-run home run in the Rainbow Wahine-half of the fifth, a lead that Chandler Wagner extinguished when she scored on JJ Wagoner's single to left field to tie the game at five apiece when the Aggies returned to bat the following frame.
The score would remain that way until the bottom of the 10th when Carlos hit her second long ball of the evening to help her team capture the series opener.
Friday's action was the first UC Davis game to last 10 or more innings since May 8, 2009, a day that saw the Aggies defeat Cal State Northridge by a score of 3-2 in front of their home fans.
The series will conclude with a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. (Pacific) on Saturday, March 30, live stream and stats links for both games are available at ucdavisaggies.com.