May 10, 2003
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Carrie Hilvers' solo homer in the fifth inning broke a 4-4 deadlock Saturday afternoon as top-seeded Cal State Bakersfield came back from an early four-run deficit with nine unanswered runs to beat third-seeded UC Davis, 9-6, forcing a winner-take-all title game on Sunday at the NCAA Division II West Region Championship.
UC Davis, which suffered its first loss in the double-elimination tournament and would've advanced to next week's NCAA Finals with a win on Saturday, dropped to 47-15. The host Roadrunners eliminated Humboldt State, 7-2, earlier Saturday and are 53-18 after downing the Aggies. Christie Hill pitched the complete-game win for Cal State Bakersfield against UC Davis.
Sunday's championship - the 10th game between the Roadrunners and the Aggies this season - begins at noon. UC Davis beat Cal State Bakersfield in a winner's bracket game on Friday, 5-4.
First baseman Sue Yale hit a first-inning grand slam - her second homer against the Roadrunners in as many days following a mammoth shot on Friday - driving in Susan Churchwell, Megan Turman and Lindsay Moore and staking the Aggies to an early 4-0 lead.
However, Cal State Bakersfield chased UC Davis the rest of the way, scoring at least one run in every inning after the first. Candace Pillado's sacrifice fly in the second scored the first run, while Katie King had an RBI single and scored on a wild pitch for two more Roadrunner runs in the third. King's infield single in the fourth scored Pillado with the tying run.
Hilvers broke the tie in the fifth, hitting a homer off Amy Rosson - who relieved starter Susan Churchwell in the fourth - giving the Roadrunners' the lead for good, 5-4. It was Hilvers' second home run of the season.
Trailing 9-6 in the seventh, UC Davis rallied for two runs. Catcher Megan Turman singled in junior Emily Hetzner and pinch-runner Megan De La Hoya came across on an infield error. However, with the tying run at the plate, Hill got Yale to line out to third and Michelle Malbon to ground out to second, ending the threat and the game.
"I'm disappointed in our play today," said UC Davis coach Kathy DeYoung. "We got the first four runs right away. We just went into a 'play not to lose' mode. I felt like, as a team, we got tentative and Bakersfield took advantage of it.
"I don't think we had our best day today but tomorrow's another day."
Yale's homer was her 11th of the season. UC Davis, which had seven hits in the game, had only one hit after the first inning until adding a pair in the seventh. Hetzner singled three times for the Aggies while Turman had a pair.
Churchwell came back to relieve Rosson in the sixth inning before freshman Rachel Kelly pitched the final 1.2 innings. Rosson suffered the loss, falling to 24-8. Churchwell gave up nine hits and four runs - three of them earned - in 3.2 innings, had three walks and struck out two. Rosson - like Kelly - also pitched 1.2 innings, giving up four runs - two of them earned - and three hits.
Hill went the distance for the Roadrunners, striking out two and walking just two, upping her record to 16-3.
Cal State Bakersfield has beaten the Aggies seven times in nine games this season. Sunday's game also marks the fourth time the Aggies and Roadrunners will have met in the championship game of a tournament this season with Cal State Bakersfield winning the previous three - including Saturday's.
Sunday's winner advances to the NCAA Finals in Salem, Ore., beginning Thursday. UC Davis is looking to earn a spot in the eight-team national championship tournament for the first time since 2000.
Cal State Bakersfield 7, Humboldt State 2 (HSU eliminated)
Cal State Bakersfield 9, UC Davis 6
Sunday's championship game
UC Davis (47-15) vs. Cal State Bakersfield (53-18), noon
Five Aggies invited to
NCAA Career in Sports Forum
Softball earns program-high six All-Big West awards
Softball ends season with close games against CSUN
Wild finish caps
walk-off comeback win