Home Runs Fuel Five-Run Inning; Ags Split Twinbill

Amy Nunez' solo shot in the fourth inning of Gm. 1 started UC Davis' five-run rally.
 
Amy Nunez' solo shot in the fourth inning of Gm. 1 started UC Davis' five-run rally.
 

April 18, 2014

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DAVIS, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara may have scored first in Friday's Big West doubleheader at La Rue Field, but it was UC Davis' five-run fourth inning that led to a 5-2 Aggie victory in game one. However, with the roles reversing in game two, it was UCSB who scored late to post a 9-2 win and a split of the day's action.

UC Davis will enter Saturday's rubber match with a 15-26 overall and 4-7 Big West record, UC Santa Barbara will take the field with a 27-17 and 7-4 mark

The Aggies will also host their annual Strike Out Cancer fundraising and awareness event during Saturday's series finale.  Cancer survivor Lauren B. Tehrani, from UC Davis Athletics, will throw the first pitch in a pregame ceremony; all Aggie softball players will also don pink jerseys to help raise awareness, fans are also encouraged to show their support and wear pink to La Rue Field that day.

Strike Out Cancer follows Friday's successful Team Sammie Bunny Drive; Aggie softball thanks fans from both teams for their generous donations. All plush toys received during this annual event, held throughout both games of Friday's doubleheader, will be donated to local children's hospitals.

UCSB started the day's twinbill by scoring a run in its half of the first and third innings to take a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning. That advantage disappeared quickly thanks to the efforts of Amy Nunez and Kelly Zboralske.

On a 0-1 count, Nunez launched a towering shot over the fence in right field to chop the Gauchos' lead in half. The fist Aggie to take her swings at Gaucho starter Shelby Wisdom that inning, Nunez' solo shot was followed by the next batter, Zboralske, on the very next at-bat.

On consecutive pitches, the Aggies led off the fourth by hitting back-to-back solo shots to tie the game at 2-2.

The fireworks continued as the inning progressed; back-to-back singles by Kimberly Pena and Christina Guidry, combined with Phalen Cochran's fielder's choice loaded the bases for Christa Castello, UC Davis' leadoff hitter.

During her at-bat, Cochran hit a slow roller towards Gaucho shortstop Emily Brucelas. Recognizing that she had no play at first, Brucelas chose to throw to her teammate, Kathryn Pilpil at second base. Unfortunately for UC Santa Barbara, Guidry beat Pilpil to the bag, allowing Pena to advance to third and Cochran to join her on base.

Guidry's hustle paid off big time when Castello entered the batter's box because she belted a shot to the gap in right to empty the bases. Within a handful of minutes, a 2-0, UC Davis deficit morphed into a 5-2, Aggie lead. 

Allowing only three hits throughout her 4.1 innings thrown, UC Davis starter Dana Cruse handed the ball over to her teammates Leah Munden and Andrea Reynolds. Combined, the two threw 2.2 innings of no-hit softball to help the Aggies collect their third win in their last four games. 

Thanks to Munden and Reynolds, Cruse collected her seventh victory of the season with Reynolds picking up her second save in as many weekends.

In the back-half of Friday's doubleheader, it was UC Davis who struck first by plating two in its half of the first inning.

Castello's leadoff single through the middle of the infield was followed by another single to third by Cat Guidry; Zboralske's single down the left field line allowed both of her teammates to easily score from their respective positions at second and first base.

The score remained 2-0 in the Aggies' favor until the Gauchos scored three runs in the top of the fifth, followed by another run the next inning.

In those two innings combined, UC Davis committed three errors; on both occasions, mistakes were committed with two outs on the board. With the Gauchos scoring half of their four runs (during those frames) after the Aggies committed their miscues, what was a 4-2, UCSB lead could have otherwise been a 2-2 game hearing into the bottom of the sixth.

By scoring five runs in the seventh inning, the Gauchos pulled away late to turn what was an extremely competitive affair into the game's final result.

After two hard-fought contests, both teams will return to La Rue Field on Saturday to seek a series-clinching victory. First pitch is scheduled for noon.