May 3, 2014
FULLERTON, Calif. - Trailing 3-1 heading into the top of the fifth inning in the first game of Saturday's Big West doubleheader from Fullerton, Calif., UC Davis scored twice to knot the game at three apiece. Two innings later, Brianna Warner displayed her speed to the crowd at Anderson Family Field by running from first to third on Amy Nunez' sacrifice bunt to place herself 60 feet from breaking the tie. A wild pitch from Fullerton reliever Monique Wesley enables Warner to score, giving the Aggies the lead.
That advantage was short-lived as the Titans evened the score once again on Carissa Turang's solo home run; with two outs on the scoreboard, Eliza Crawford hit a double to right center, scoring Missy Taukeiaho who reached base on a walk earlier in the inning to help the Titans record a 5-4 win.
In the day’s second game, a combined 12 runs were scored throughout the first four-plus innings as Cal State Fullerton lit up the first zero of the evening when the Aggies held the Titans scoreless in the bottom of the fourth. By pushing three across the plate in the bottom of the fifth, Fullerton extended its lead to five and held on to win the weekend series with a 10-5 victory.
UC Davis will enter Sunday's 12 p.m. series finale with a 17-31 overall and 6-11 Big West record; Saturday's results pushes Cal State Fullerton's records to 30-20-1 and 10-7 respectively.
For a team making their debut on ESPN3, the network covered both games played, the Aggies wasted no time in making a positive first impression starting with Christa Castello’s leadoff single on the day’s first pitch thrown.
Advancing to second on Amy Nunez’ deep fly to center, UC Davis’ shortstop scored her team’s first run on a single from Kelly Zboralske.
The Aggies’ advantage was brief as the Titans were able to score two runs of their own in their first set of swings, both scored on solo home runs.
When Cal State Fullerton scored another run in the second inning, UC Davis’ deficit quickly doubled to a 3-1 margin.
An action-packed first two innings was followed by two innings of scoreless softball before the Aggies’ bats came to life and created another scoring opportunity.
Back-to-back singles from Castello and Kimberly Pena kicked off action in the top of the fifth; a Nunez double, followed by a sacrifice fly to center from Zboralske helped the Aggies storm back to tie the game at three apiece.
With momentum clearly on its side after erasing the Titans’ two-run lead, Warner turned in a web gem of her own by turning a would-be home run into the second out of the frame.
On a hard-hit fly ball that forced Warner to the wall, the freshman timed her jump perfectly to rob Crawford of a home run. What made the play even more impressive was the fact that Warner visibly battled the sun the entire time before squeezing her mitt. On paper, Crawford flied out to left field; on the diamond, that play fired up her teammates, both on the field and in the dugout, brought the Aggie faithful in attendance to their feet and helped UC Davis retire the Titans in order.
Two innings later, Warner was involved in another key play, created with her feet and keen situational awareness instead of her glove. Originally reaching base on a five-pitch walk, Warner advanced to second on, what appeared to every player wearing a Titans jersey, a routine sacrifice bunt.
After watching Nunez head back to the dugout after laying down a textbook bunt, Warner noticed that Cal State Fullerton paid no attention to her after touching the bag at second. Noticing that CSUF’s third baseman was nowhere near her post, Warner rounded second and sprinted to third. Even though she eventually drew a throw in her direction, Warner punished Fullerton for their lapse in judgment by placing herself 60 feet away from breaking a 3-3 tie.
Visibly rattled, Titan reliever Monique Wesley threw a pitch that eventually bounced off the backstop after forcing her battery-mate to jump out of her stance in an attempt to corral a pitch gone wrong. The moment that ball sailed past the dish, Warner, the team’s stolen base leader, sprinted home.
Now armed with a 4-3 lead (thanks to Warner’s fleet feet) UC Davis needed only three outs to collect a win in its ESPN3 debut, As was the case in the first inning when the Aggies held a 1-0 advantage, the Titans struck back by hitting another solo shot, this time by Turang who was the first batter the Titans sent to the plate in the seventh.
UC Davis recorded two outs before Missy Taukeiaho extended the game by drawing a walk; the following batter, Ariel Tsuchiyama, drove her teammate home when her double to right center split the Aggies' outfielders and rolled to the wall. By the time the ball reached the infield, the game-winning run was recorded.
Undaunted by the previous game’s result, UC Davis struck again in the first inning of the day’s second game when Zboralske hit a shot that easily cleared the left field fence. With one swing, UC Davis’ designated player recorded her seventh home run of the season, drove in Warner, helped her team jump out to a 2-0 lead and capped a four-RBI day.
In the second inning, a leadoff single to left by Cat Guidry turned into a RBI for Castello when she smacked her eight double of the season to right center.
Krista Bava’s shot to dead center in the third inning added another run to UC Davis’ half of the scoreboard; Warner’s tour of the diamond, one that started with a single and ended with a passed ball, was the final run scored by the Aggies.
Bava’s home run, a blast that everyone in attendance knew would leave the field the moment the ball left her bat, was her third of the season.
Whether it was small or long, UC Davis scored at least one run in the first four innings. However, Cal State Fullerton was able to match the Aggies’ offense and score one additional run in each of the first three innings. Combined with a three-run fifth, the Titans were able to record a sweep of Saturday’s action en route to a five-run win.
In all, fans at Anderson Family Field saw Saturday’s participants hit five home runs-Cal State Fullerton was responsible for all three hit in Gm. 1, Gm. 2 saw UC Davis hit both balls over the fence-and score a combined 24 runs.