May 11, 2003
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Tournament MVP Lindsay Moore hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning Sunday punctuating third-seeded UC Davis' 5-1 win over top-seeded Cal State Bakersfield, as the Aggies captured the NCAA Division II West Region Championship over the host Roadrunners.
With the win, UC Davis improves to 48-15 overall and advances to the eight-team NCAA Finals in Salem (Ore.), beginning this week. The Aggies will open play in the double-elimination tournament at 11 a.m. on Thursday against Wayne State, (Mich.). Third-seeded Wayne State (39-13-1) upset top-seeded Grand Valley State (Mich.), 1-0, to win the Great Lakes Regional.
UC Davis is returning to the national finals for the first time since 2000 and the fifth time overall after finishing third in its previous appearances.
The Roadrunners delivered UC Davis a 9-6 loss on Saturday, giving the Aggies their first loss of the double-elimination tournament and forcing Sunday's winner-take-all game.
"(Cal State Bakersfield) is the toughest team we've faced all year," said Aggie coach Kathy DeYoung. "We knew we could win this game if we just played our game, and we did. I'm just so proud of the team."
Moore's homer - her 10th of the season - gave UC Davis a 5-1 lead and also scored Megan De La Hoya. De La Hoya was running for designated player Susan Churchwell, who led off the inning with a single.
With a four-run lead, pitcher Amy Rosson was able to secure the final three outs to record her 25th win of the season. Rosson, now 25-8, scattered 10 hits, struck out six and walked only two while stranding Roadrunners in scoring position in six innings. She earned her second win of the tournament.
One of those innings was in the first when Cal State Bakersfield had Lynn Kraftschik on third with just one out after a hit and and an infield error. However, Rosson got catcher Tara Licuanan and Katie King on infield popups, ending the threat.
Cal State Bakersfield, which finished its season 53-19, loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh inning, but Rosson got Carrie Hilvers to ground out to Moore, ending the game and propelling the Aggies to the national championship tournament.
UC Davis scored its first two runs in the second inning as Michelle Malbon tripled in Moore with one out. The throw into third trying to get Malbon then skipped out of play, allowing Malbon to score as well.
The Roadrunners made it 2-1 in the third when King's single up the middle scored pitcher Erin Kelly, who had also singled. UC Davis responded in the fifth with another run as center-fielder Emily Hetzner - one of five Aggies to make the all-tournament team - laid down a suicide squeeze bunt that allowed shortstop Lindsey Moore to score.
"I told (the team) I wouldn't let anyone else score but I asked them if they (Aggies) could score some more because it would make me more comfortable," said Rosson.
Hetzner and Moore were joined on the all-tournament team by Churchwell, Malbon and first baseman Sue Yale. Moore had two hits for the Aggies on Sunday, while Jennifer Borrelli, Hetzner, Churchwell, Yale, Malbon and pinch-hitter Jessica Miller each had one.
Kelly took the loss for the Roadrunners, dropping to 32-10. Kelly went the distance for Cal State Bakersfield, allowing eight hits, walking one and striking out one. Kraftschik and King each had two hits for the Roadrunners.
"Davis played really well and we didn't do what we needed to do to keep the score down," said Roadrunners coach Kathy Welter. "We did a lot of things well (Sunday). We got a lot of runners on base but we couldn,t score."
Cal State Bakersfield left 11 runners on base and had 10 hits.
"I'm just really excited right now. It's really hard to put it into words," said Churchwell, who missed the Aggies' last appearance in the national finals because of an injured knee. "I kept thinking then that that couldn't be my only chance. It's the only thing I want to win now."
DeYoung said Saturday's loss was disappointing but that she was confident about Sunday.
"We talked about going out and and leaving everything on the field today," she said. "I thought if we could do that we would win."
The Aggies, who were making their 11th straight appearance in the regional tournament, last played in the national finals in 2000 at Columbus, Ga. UC Davis beat West Florida, lost to Kennesaw State (Ga.), beat Merrimack (Mass.), and then was eliminated by North Dakota State.
All-West Region Tournament Team
MVP - Lindsay Moore (UCD). Catcher - Tara Licuanan (CSUB), Infield - Katie King (CSUB), Lindsay Moore (UCD), Renee Rubio (CSUB), Sue Yale (UCD). Outfield - Emily Hetzner (UCD), Carrie Hilvers (CSUB), Michelle Malbon (UCD). Pitchers - Erin Kelly (CSUB), Emily Weitzel (HSU). Designated player - Susan Churchwell (UCD). At-large - Christie Hill (CSUB), Andrea Williams (HSU).