May 17, 2003
SALEM, Ore. -
Junior Amy Rosson carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning Saturday and junior Michelle Malbon slammed two home runs as UC Davis beat Georgia College & State University, 4-1, advancing to play for its first-ever NCAA Division II Softball Championship.
The Aggies, who improved to 51-15, are the only unbeaten team remaining in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament. UC Davis will face defending national champion St. Mary's (Texas) on Sunday at noon at the Wallace Sports Complex, while GC&SU will face North Dakota State in an elimination game at 2:30 p.m.
With a win on Sunday, the Aggies will play for the national championship at 6 p.m. against the winner of the 2:30 p.m. A 'winner-take-all' game would be played on Monday at noon if UC Davis loses on Sunday evening.
If the Aggies lose to St. Mary's in their first game on Sunday, they would move automatically into Monday's game and await whichever of the remaining three teams survives Sunday's play.
UC Davis is guaranteed no worse than second place in the NCAA Tournament which would be the highest finish in program history. The Aggies have finished third in each of their previous three appearances, most recently in 2000.
"It's still one game at a time," said UC Davis coach Kathy DeYoung. "It's a definite advantage to be in the spot we're in, but it's still a tough road. There are a lot of good teams here."
UC Davis put itself in a position to play for the national championship behind the arm of Rosson the bat of Malbon. Rosson, who posted 12 strikeouts in five innings of relief pitching during Friday's 7-5 extra-inning win against North Dakota State, won her third game of the tournament on Saturday.
Rosson struck out 12 batters again, walked just two - her first two of the championship tournament - and didn't give up a hit until the Lady Bobcats' Diana Baruffa singled to center with one out in the sixth. Baruffa's hit scored Aundrea Baker who had reached on a fielding error and stole second. Rosson, who improved to 28-8, gave up two singles in the seventh but struck out the final three batters to preserve the win.
Malbon entered the game with just two home runs, but slammed her second roundtripper of the postseason in the second inning when she connected off GC&SU's Jennifer Joiner to deep center. The run ended Joiner's scoreless innings streak at 42.2 innings..
Malbon, who singled in the singled in the fifth for another hit, belted her second homer of the game off Joiner in the sixth inning, scoring pinch-runner Megan De La Hoya. She had three of UC Davis' five hits with Emily Hetzner hitting a double and Lindsay Moore collecting a single..
Joiner, who came within one strike of a no-hitter in the Lady Bobcats' opener against Le Moyne (N.Y.) on Thursday night, struck out 10 Aggies in six innings on Saturday. She only walked one. Her record dropped to 26-5..
"It's not that it's been easy," said DeYoung. "All the teams (here) are really good teams. We're playing well and different parts of our game are playing well at different times. We just have to play focused.".
UC Davis won its fourth consecutive game in the postseason and has now hit at least one home run in seven of its eight games. The tournament marks the final NCAA Division II Softball Championship for UC Davis which will begin moving to Division I status during the 2003-04 academic year..