May 8, 2003
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Senior Susan Churchwell slammed a two-run home run in the first inning and then supported it with one-hit pitching as third-seeded UC Davis upset second-seeded Western New Mexico, 5-0, at the NCAA Division II West Region Softball Championships at Cal State Bakersfield on Thursday, ending a day which began with a 4-2 victory over sixth-seeded Western Washington.
UC Davis improved to 46-14 with the wins and will face the top-seeded Roadrunners on Friday (51-18) at 2 p.m. in a matchup of the six-team regional's only remaining unbeaten squads. Cal State Bakersfield beat fourth-seeded Humboldt State, 1-0, for its opening win.
Michelle Malbon had a two-run homer against Western Washington, helping the Aggies beat the Vikings for the second time in three games this season, while junior Amy Rosson pitched the win. Sophomore Megan Turman homered against Western New Mexico.
"I'm just really proud of the team," said UC Davis coach Kathy DeYoung. "We battled really well in the first game. In the second game, we just went after them."
Churchwell, who had two hits and pitched two innings of relief against Western Washington, slammed her 12th home run of the season in her first at-bat against Western New Mexico - which like Cal State Bakersfield, had a bye in Thursday's first round. Churchwell's homer came on a 2-1 pitch from Mustangs starter Angela Slaugh and easily cleared the 220-foot fence in right-center field. The round-tripper also scored Jennifer Borrelli, who led off the game with a single.
"It wasn't just a homer, it was towering," said DeYoung of Churchwell's blast.
Turman tripled to center a batter later then scored after Lindsay Moore was caught in a rundown with two outs.
Leading 3-0, the Aggies then rode Churchwell's pitching. She retired the first six batters and only allowed an infield hit to Lori Browning in the third. She finished the game with five strikeouts and walked just three, improving to 22-6.
"It's always good to beat Western New Mexico because they're always a tough team to play," said Churchwell.
Malbon hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning of the Aggies' opener against Western Washington on Thursday. UC Davis, which led 1-0 after Churchwell's RBI single in the third inning, added two more runs in the fourth when Malbon slammed a full-count pitch from Amanda Grant over the right-center field fence for her second home run of the year. The homer scored Moore, who started the inning with a single.
The Aggies added another run in the fifth after Churchwell's two-out double to right was followed by Turman's single to center that scored pinch-runner Megan De La Hoya.
Western Washington stayed close throughout the game, getting the leadoff runner on base each inning. The Vikings loaded the bases in the second, had runners in scoring position every inning and stranded 12 runners in the game. Rosson walked five batters before being relieved by Churchwell in the fifth, but came back in the seventh to relieve Churchwell after the first two Western Washington batters reached base.
Rosson earned the win for UC Davis, improving to 23-7. Both Rosson and Churchwell allowed three hits, with Rosson picking up four strikeouts and Churchwell three. Grant suffered the loss for Western Washington, falling to 13-7.
Churchwell and Moore each had two hits and RBI for the Aggies, while Jessi Williams had a pair for the Vikings.
UC Davis making its 11th straight appearance in the NCAA West Regional, looking for its first berth in the NCAA Finals since 2000, when it finished third.
The tournament championship is scheduled for Saturday. UC Davis will play just once on Friday, win or lose against Cal State Bakersfield.
Humboldt State 6, Cal State Dominguez Hills 2
UC Davis 4, Western Washington 2
Cal State Bakersfield 1, Humboldt State 0
UC Davis 5, Western New Mexico 0
Cal State Dominguez Hills (37-16-1) vs. Western New Mexico (52-9), 9 a.m. (loser eliminated)
Humboldt State (42-17) vs. Western Washington (26-21), 11:30 a.m. (loser eliminated)
UC Davis (46-14) vs. Cal State Bakersfield (51-17), 2 p.m.
Dom. Hills/WNMU winner vs. HSU/WWU winner, 4:30 p.m. (loser eliminated)