Aggies Split In Big West Openers Against Highlanders

Rachel Miller was one of two Aggies to register a hit in each game

April 1, 2012

DAVIS, Calif. - Justine Vela threw a three-hitter, complete with 14 strikeouts in a 3-1 complete game win before the UC Davis softball team dropped an 8-0 contest in six innings against UC Riverside on Sunday at La Rue Field.

In the first Big West games of the season for the Aggies (11-21, 1-1) Megan Guzman had a combined three hits over two games while Rachel Miller added a hit in each game to go along with a RBI. After just three hits in game one, the Highlanders (18-16, 1-1) exploded for 12 hits in game two, led by Kayla White who had a combined four hits, three runs scored and two RBIs.

"(Vela) did a great job at making physical and mental adjustments in game one and I was proud of her for that," said head coach Karen Yoder, "I stressed to the team after the second game that we just have to be consistent. It was like a completely different team from the first game to the second game. In the first we were able to push, apply pressure offensively and manufacture runs. We just fell short in many areas during the second game."

In game one, UC Davis used an early lead and a dominant performance from Vela to win its first conference game of the season.
The Aggies started with a run in each of the first two innings for a quick 2-0 advantage. In the first, UC Davis had the bases loaded with no outs thanks to a lead-off walk for Cassandra Ginnis, a Guzman single to center and a Kelly Harman walk. Miller brought home the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly but the Aggies couldn't manage any more offense after a pair of strikeouts.

UC Davis added another run in the top of the second, starting with a hit-by-pitch for Chandler Wagner. Wagner came around to score following a sacrifice bunt and a Highlander miscue, making the score 2-0.

Vela was on fire to start the game, striking out the side in the first and tallying eight strikeouts through the first three innings.

Vela had a no-hitter going into the sixth innings despite four walks for the game. The first hit of the game for UC Riverside was a home run, as Kayla White just managed to clear the center field fence to cut the lead in half.

The Aggies answered in the bottom of the sixth, adding an insurance run on one hit and one error. Ginnis led off by reaching on a throwing error and advancing to second. A sacrifice bunt advanced her to third before a sacrifice fly by Harman brought her home and put UC Davis on top 3-1.

Vela managed to close out the complete game in the top of the seventh, striking out three more to seal the final 3-1 victory.

Vela improved to 8-9 on the season and had double-digit strikeouts for the fourth time of the season. Jordan McDonald took the loss and dropped to 8-9 on the season after allowing three hits and one earned run while walking seven batters.

Game One Box

In game two, UC Davis couldn't manage much on offense, tallying four hits and stranding four runners on base. The Aggies also struggled defensively at times, allowing three unearned runs after three errors in the game.

After two scoreless innings for both teams, UC Riverside reached the scoreboard in the third and scored two runs on two hits. The Highlanders loaded the bases with no outs and used two sacrifice flies to score the runs. UC Riverside added two more in the top of the fourth, thanks to RBIs from Dionne Anderson and Brittany Keeney.

UC Davis had its best opportunity to score in the bottom of the fourth, starting a two out rally with a Miller single and Amy Nunez walk. The Aggies couldn't take advantage however, stranding two after a foul out.

The Highlanders put the game out of reach in the top of the sixth, taking advantage of three UC Davis errors to score four runs. Ariel Shore had a RBI double to score the first run before an error, a single and a fielder's choice brought home three more to make the score 8-0.

Harman had a two-out infield single in the bottom of the sixth but the offense was too little too late. The Aggies couldn't extend the game and a fly out sealed the six-inning win for UC Riverside.

Jessica Thweat took the loss for UC Davis and dropped to 3-9 on the season, lasting 3.1 innings and allowing seven hits and four runs. Melanie Russell also tossed 2.0 innings of relief while Kasie Cochran added 0.2 innings of work. Taylor Alvarez picked up the win to improve to 6-3, throwing a four-hit shutout in six innings.

Game Two Box

The Aggies will look to take the third game of the series tomorrow, hosting the Highlanders in a 12 p.m. contest.