UC Davis (10-6) at Saint Mary’s (3-11)
Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018 | 1/3 p.m. | Cottrell Field | Moraga, Calif.
FOLLOW: Gametracker Game 1 | Gametracker Game 2
PLAY BALL!: After three preseason tournaments and a mid-week clash with a top-25 opponent, the UC Davis softball team has a relatively “light” week when it comes to the number of games this week, making the short drive to the Bay Area to take on regional rival Saint Mary’s in a doubleheader on Wednesday (Feb. 28) at 1 p.m. at Cottrell Field in Moraga, Calif.
CAN’T MAKE THE TRIP?: For those who cannot make the trip to Moraga on Wednesday, live stats will be available for both ends of the doubleheader. Links are available above or on the softball schedule page at UCDavisAggies.com.
IN THE POLLS: Neither the Aggies, nor the Gaels, are ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation in this week’s polls. UC Davis, however, has already faced seven teams either nationally ranked or receiving votes at the time of first pitch thus far in 2018.
SCOUTING THE GAELS: Saint Mary’s enters the week with a 3-11 overall record after falling to No. 19 California, 3-0, and sweeping a three-game series with CSU Bakersfield at home, outscoring the Roadrunners by a 15-7 count for their first wins of the year… Senior utility Hailey Sparacino leads all regulars with a .316 averaged in 14 games, scoring six times, smacking three home runs and driving in five… Sophomore infielder Nikki Alexander is hitting only .233, but is tied for second on the team in hits (10) and has driven in a team-best nine runs… Senior right-hander Katlyn Whitt leads the team with a 2-4 record and a 4.20 ERA in 11 appearances (six starts), striking out 20 in 40 innings… Saint Mary’s is hitting just .197 as a team, while opponents are batting .318 against the pitching staff, outscoring the Gaels by a 75-39 count thus far.
SERIES NOTES: This week will mark the second and third meetings between the two programs this season after the Aggies posted a 4-1 win over the Gaels on the second day of the Bulldog Classic in Fresno, Calif., on Feb. 17… UC Davis leads the all-time series with Saint Mary’s, 35-13, having won the last three straight meetings after splitting a doubleheader from 2013-15… The Aggies hold a 12-3 advantage in the series during the program’s Division I history, facing one another in nine of the last 11 seasons… UC Davis is 4-2 against the Gaels in Moraga, Calif., during that span, last winning the opener, 10-4, before falling in the nightcap, 2-1, during its last trip in 2015… Eight of the 15 meetings since 2008 have been decided by two runs or fewer.
THAT’S RANK: After handing a pair of “receiving votes” teams a defeat earlier this season, the Aggies did themselves one better on day two of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic thanks to their 3-1 win over No. 18/16 Oklahoma State. The upset marked UC Davis’ first win over a nationally ranked squad since edging then-No. 17 Stanford, 5-4, at home on May 1, 2013, snapping a 26-game losing streak against ranked foes and posting the program’s fourth win over a ranked opponent. Other ranked wins include a, 2-1, win over a No. 8 Cardinal squad on Feb. 15, 2012, at home, and a 1-0 shutout of No. 14 USF on Feb. 23, 2013.
ONE-HIT WONDERS: Freshman left-hander Brooke Yanez (vs. No. 18/16 Oklahoma State) and sophomore right-hander Katie Kibby (vs. San Diego State) missed a lot of bats over the weekend in Cathedral City, Calif., twirling a pair of one-hit shutouts in helping the Aggies to a winning record at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Yanez struck out a career-high 12 Cowgirl hitters and limited Oklahoma State to just four baserunners on the day in UC Davis’ 3-1 win, while Kibby faced just two over the minimum and struck out six without a walk in a 2-0 shutout of the Aztecs, retiring the first 13 batters she faced before finishing the game by setting down eight of the final nine. They were the second and third one-hitters thrown by an Aggie pitcher this season, joining Yanez’s one-hit shutout of Fresno State on Feb. 16, and the eighth and ninth overall in the program’s Division I history — a period that also includes no-hitters against Utah Valley (March 5, 2011) and Idaho State (March 11, 2012).
UC DAVIS SOFTBALL ONE-HITTERS
Jessica Hancock vs. Utah (Feb. 28, 2009) — W, 1-0 (9)
Jessica Thweatt (start, 6 inn.) & Alex Holmes (relief, 1 inn.) vs. Albany (March 12, 2011) — W, 2-0
Justine Vela at CSUN (April 7, 2012) — W, 3-0
Justine Vela vs. Fordham (Feb. 24, 2013) — W, 2-0
Justine Vela vs. Pittsburgh (March 10, 2013) — W, 2-0
Katie Kibby at Long Beach State (April 9, 2017) — W, 5-0
Brooke Yanez vs. Fresno State (Feb. 16, 2018) — W, 2-0
Brooke Yanez vs. No. 18/16 Oklahoma State (Feb. 24, 2018) — W, 3-1
Katie Kibby vs. San Diego State (Feb. 25, 2018) — W, 2-0
UC DAVIS SOFTBALL NO-HITTERS
Jessica Thweatt (start, 3 inn.) & Alex Holmes (relief, 4 inn.) vs. Utah Valley (March 5, 2011) — W, 1-0
Justine Vela vs. Idaho State (March 11, 2012) — W, 5-0
TOUGH NUTTER TO CRACK: Yanez finished her stay at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic among some of the tournament's top pitchers. The Ventura, Calif., native ended the weekend tied for fifth in innings pitchers (21.0) and tied for second in the tournament in strikeouts with 27 along with Arizona's Taylor McQuillin and trailing only Tennessee's Caylan Arnold (32). Of those 27 strikeouts, 11 of those were batters caught looking for Yanez, who finished second in the tournament in that category -- one of only two in double figures along with Arizona State’s Giselle Juarez.
ACE OF BASE(S): Freshman Aly Gomonet has been a table setter atop the Aggies lineup thus far this season, reaching base safely in each of her last 10 games, including hits in four straight (also the longest active streak among the UC Davis hitters entering the week) and seven of the 10 overall with a pair of walks and a hit by pitch to keep the run alive. After opening with just three hits in the first six games of her collegiate career, the Salinas, Calif., native is hitting .353 (12-for-34) during her current streak with six runs scored.
AGGIES IN THE NCAA: Yanez enters this weekend’s tournament ranked seventh in the nation with seven victories and stands fifth in the NCAA with her 75 strikeouts… She also ranks tied for No. 27 with two shutouts and ranks No. 54 in the nation with her 0.93 ERA… Meanwhile, at the plate, freshman Alyse Rojas ranks No. 40 in the nation with her team-high 20 hits thus far, while sophomore Maddie Rojas is No. 18 in the nation with her two triples.
YANEZ DOUBLES UP ON BIG WEST AWARDS: Freshman left-hander Brooke Yanez didn’t give up a whole lot last week, yet she received a ton in return on Monday (Feb. 19), earning her second consecutive Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week award. Continuing a torrid start to her collegiate career, the Aggies’ animal science major finished with a 3-1 record and allowed only an unearned run over 23 innings of work against No. 23 California and four opponents at the Bulldog Classic in Fresno, Calif., as UC Davis won four of its five games at the tournament. Yanez became the first Aggie pitcher to win the award multiple times in the same season since Justine Vela won it three times in 2012 and the first hurler to win it in back-to-back weeks. Read the complete release here: http://www.ucdavisaggies.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/021918aab.html.
FRESHMAN IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Thanks to that stellar start to her career, Yanez has earned some time in the national spotlight, profiled in a Graham Hays feature on freshman starting pitchers on ESPNW.com. Read the complete story here: http://www.espn.com/espnw/sports/article/22503357/tuesday-trend-spotting-freshman-pitchers-meghan-beaubien-alexis-holloway-brooke-yanez-start-strong-2018-ncaa-softball-season.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE AGGIES: UC Davis returns 13 letter winners, four position starters, and three pitchers, off of last season’s squad that finished 22-32 overall and 7-14 in the Big West Conference a season ago… Of the 22-woman roster, nine newcomers are featured (more on that later)… Having lost their top four hitters from last season, the offense is led by senior Ashley Lotoszynski, who leads all returners with a .259 average to go with 32 runs scored, 10 doubles, five home runs and 30 RBI… Her 32 runs were second on the team, while her 10 doubles, five home runs, and 30 RBI, all either led or co-led the team in 2017 en route to All-Big West honorable mention honors… Sophomore right-hander Katie Kibby returns for her second season in the circle for the Aggies after posting a 15-9 overall record and a 3.33 ERA in 166 innings… She finished with 80 strikeouts and held opponents to a .259 average on the year, picking up Big West honorable mention and All-Freshman Team laurels.
“HELLO, MY NAME IS…”: Name tags may be a new feature of the Aggies’ jerseys this season as nearly half of the team’s 2018 roster will be made up of newcomers. Nine of the team’s 22 players will be new to the program this season — eight true freshmen and one transfer. The eight freshmen are the most of any team in the Big West this season — and the most for an Aggie roster since the 2014 squad had the same number — while the nine newcomers are the fourth-most in the league behind Hawai’i (12), Long Beach State (11), and CSUN (10).
TITANS PICKED TO REPEAT IN BIG WEST COACHES POLL: Defending Big West champion Cal State Fullerton was picked to repeat as Big West champions in 2018 according to a vote of the league’s head coaches, receiving four of the eight available first-place votes and 57 points overall to edge Long Beach State, which received three first-place votes and 53 points. CSUN (43) and Hawai’i (32) were next in third and fourth, respectively, while UC Riverside (31) — which picked up the remaining first-place vote — and Cal Poly (31) tied for fifth. UC Santa Barbara (29) and UC Davis (12) rounded out the poll.
A GEM OF A DIAMOND: Having undergone a complete face-lift since the end of the 2017 season, the Aggies hit the dirt at the renovated La Rue Field for the first time on Feb. 2, 2018, officially breaking in the new home of UC Davis softball. The multi-million dollar project is funded, in large part, by donations to the Marya Welch Initiative for Women’s Athletics — established to raise awareness and financial support for UC Davis’ 14 NCAA women’s sports.
Construction began in early October with the entire field being razed along with the metal bleachers and dugouts. In its place, a laser graded field featuring upgraded drainage and fresh sod in the outfield, along with new dugouts, renovated bullpens, and a concrete backstop with netting behind home plate to improve sightlines for fans. A new scoreboard has been added beyond the right-field fence and the entire field is scheduled to be wrapped in updated graphics and branding in line with the other home facilities, bringing with it a new level of “Aggie Pride.”
Home of the Aggies since the late 1980's, La Rue Field was recognized as the "Softball Field of the Year" by the Sports Turf Managers Association in 1999 and has hosted six NCAA Division II West Region tournaments from 1994-02.
For more information on the Marya Welch Initiative for Women’s Athletics, or to make a contribution, visit us online at https://give.ucdavis.edu/ATHG/324041.
SAAC COIN DRIVE
Support the UC Davis Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Yolo County SPCA during the month of February as the Aggies hold their 11th annual coin drive at all home events. For the fourth year in a row, Big West Conference institutions will donate 100 percent of the funds raised to their designated charities, with the top three fundraising SAAC’s receiving a cash prize toward their SAAC budget. Over the last 10 years, conference members have combined to raise nearly $197,000.
ABOUT UC DAVIS
Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.