May 1, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. - Stanford may have been the first to take the lead in Wednesday's non-conference game at La Rue Field, but it was UC Davis that possessed an advantage when it counted the most as the Aggies scored three runs in the seventh inning to come-from-behind and defeat the No. 17/16 Cardinal 5-4.
Wednesday's win is the Aggies' second over Stanford in the last three head-to-head meetings; UC Davis also recorded a 2-1 victory when the Cardinal visited Davis last season.
"To play a midweek game against an opponent of this caliber, I am proud of this team to come from class, switch gears and execute," said head coach Karen Yoder
UC Davis is now 22-24 overall heading into this weekend's Big West series at Long Beach State while Stanford drops to 32-17.
By scoring two runs in the first inning and another in the third, it was the visiting Cardinal that jumped out to an early 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, UC Davis right fielder Jasmine Lee trimmed her team's deficit to a more manageable one-run margin when her hard-hit chopper split Stanford's middle infielders and rolled into center, scoring catcher JJ Wagoner and second baseman Chandler Wagner to make it a 3-2 game.
The score remained Stanford's favor by a run until the top of the seventh when the Cardinal added another to extend its lead to 4-2 prior to the Aggies' final set of swings.
A leadoff single by Christina Guidry started UC Davis' seventh-inning effort; wisely advancing to second when Stanford left fielder Leah White crashed into the fence deep in foul territory after recording the first out of the inning, the Aggies' third baseman touched home plate on the next play when her sister, left fielder Cat Guidry, reached base after driving a single through the middle of the diamond.
Ch. Guidry was one of two Aggies to finish with two hits against Stanford starter Teagan Gerhart, the other was Lee who ended her day with a single to center that allowed C. Guidry to advance to second.
Now leading the Big West Conference with 17 hit-by-pitches, none may have been more valuable to UC Davis' cause as the one she sustained in the seventh as that loaded the bases, with two outs, for Christa Castello.
On her first pitch of the at-bat, Castello ripped a single to left, easily scoring C. Guidry to tie the game at four apiece.
"I knew my teammates worked so hard to get on base before me, I did not want to leave them stranded. That would be the worst thing to do in that situation," said Castello.
"I just waited until I found the pitch I was looking for," added the Aggie shortstop.
In addition to Castello's clutch hit, is was the baserunning prowess of Megan Guzman that secured UC Davis' victory over Stanford as she wasted no time in rounding third, slid around Cardinal catcher Jessica Plaza who tried her best to shield as much of the plate as possible from Guzman on the play, and touched home to compete the Aggies' scoring run.
"I thought Christa did a tremendous job not only defensively, but also coming through at the plate in a key situation as a freshman," said Yoder.
Guzman entered the game to pinch run for Lee earlier in the inning.
After Jessica Thweatt threw four solid innings, striking out one throughout her time in the circle, Justine Vela entered the game to pitch for the Aggies and continued where her teammate left off.
As was the case with Thweatt, Vela continued to frustrate Cardinal batters as the game progresses and allowed only one hit throughout her three innings of action to pick up her 14th win of the year.
"Heading into the seventh inning, the bench was calm and collected. We believed we could win the game; once you put one runner on base, then another, then a third, we continued to apply consistent pressure and prevailed. I am very proud of my players," said Yoder.
"This win gives us the confidence to end the season strong," said Castello. "Hopefully this momentum will carry through our next two series."
Softball is the most recent UC Davis spring sport to earn a late-game victory against the Cardinal this season; what started with a 2-1 win over Stanford's baseball team on March 26, and continued with a 15-14 overtime victory against a Cardinal lacrosse team ranked No. 14 in the country on April 25 was capped by Wednesday's 5-4 comeback.