Yanez named top freshman pitcher; four Aggies honored

May 15, 2018


DAVIS, Calif. — UC Davis left-hander Brooke Yanez was named the Big West Conference Freshman Pitcher of the Year to headline a list of four Aggies who earned all-conference honors as voted on by the coaches and released by the league office on Tuesday afternoon.

In addition to her major award, Yanez, an animal science major from Ventura, Calif., was joined on the first team by classmate Alyse Rojas, a human development major from Vacaville, and both were also named to the Big West All-Freshman Team.

Sophomore right-hander Katie Kibby, a managerial economics major from Vacaville, Calif., and sophomore utility Isabella Leon, a cognitive science major from Chula Vista, Calif., earned honorable mention honors.

Yanez becomes only the second Aggie to earn Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors, joining Justine Vela, who picked up that award in addition to the league’s pitcher of the year trophy in 2012, while she and Rojas become only the seventh and eighth players to earn All-Big West first team honors in the history of the program.

The duo also became only the fourth and fifth Aggies to earn spots on the league’s all-freshman team, which began in 2014, joining Dana Cruse (2014), Ashley Lotoszynski (2015), and Kibby (2017).

After becoming the first freshman since 2015 to win three Big West Pitcher of the Week citations, Yanez recorded 15 victories in her debut season, finishing the regular season ranked second in the league in ERA (1.75), second in batting average against (.184), second in innings pitched (187.2), second in strikeouts (190), first in strikeouts looking (55), and tied for fourth in wins.

One of 25 players named to the initial NFCA Freshman of the Year watch list, her ERA was a single-season Division I program record and the lowest for a UC Davis pitcher since Amy Rosson’s 0.86 ERA in 2004, while her 15 strikeouts against Utah State on March 10 and her 12 innings pitched against Long Beach State on May 5 either set or tied school single-game Division I program records.

Meanwhile, Rojas was the catalyst at the plate for the Aggies in her inaugural Division I campaign, finishing the regular season ranked fifth in the conference with a .372 average and sixth with 61 hits — the former a school single-season Division I record, while the latter are the most by a UC Davis freshman since Sharlie Cunningham (74) in 1997. Rojas’ 19 multi-hit games were also just one shy of Christa Castello’s single-season Division I program record set in 2014.

One of those multi-hit contests came against CSU Bakersfield on Feb. 17, when she finished a career-best 4-for-4 with a double and two runs scored against the Roadrunners, while driving in multiple runs in three times this season, setting and tying a career high with three RBI against Valparaiso and CSUN on March 11 and March 31, respectively.

Kibby, who helped the Aggies lead the Big West with a 2.20 ERA and stand second with a combined .214 average against as a staff, picked up her second straight honorable mention award after finishing the year with 11 wins and a 2.19 ERA — ranking eighth and sixth in the league, respectively, at the end of the regular season. Her .230 average against was the fourth best mark in the conference, while also standing second in shutouts (six), ninth in innings pitched (137.2), and tied for 10th in strikeouts (67).

She threw back-to-back one-hit shutouts in consecutive starts against San Diego State (Feb. 25) and Saint Mary’s (Feb. 28), while also blanking four conference opponents CSUN (March 31), UC Santa Barbara (April 7), Cal Poly (April 14), and Hawai’i (May 12).

Leon wrapped up her sophomore season ranked second on the squad with a .317 average to go along with a team-high four home runs, while sharing the team lead with 21 RBI and 22 runs scored. Her .401 on-base percentage and .444 slugging percentage both rank ninth on the program’s single-season Division I list, while her 11-game hitting streak from Feb. 28 to March 16 is the second longest in the program’s Division I history.

She finished with nine multi-hit games on the year, including a career-high 3-for-3 day with a career-best four RBI against UTEP on Feb. 11.

UC Davis wrapped up the winningest season in the program’s Division I history with a 27-24 overall record and a 9-12 mark in Big West play, posting the most wins and the program’s first-ever winning season at the Division I level in 2018. The nine league wins were the most since the Aggies finished with the same number in 2014, while the tie for fourth in the conference standings was the program’s highest Big West finish since UC Davis ended up third in 2012.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Savannah Horvath, CSUN
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Cielo Meza, Long Beach State
CO-COACHES OF THE YEAR: Kelly Ford, Cal State Fullerton & Kim Sowder, Long Beach State
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Hannah Rodriguez, UC Riverside
FRESHMAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Naomi Hernandez, Long Beach State

First Team
Lindsey Chalmers, Senior, P, Cal Poly
Stephanie Heyward, Senior, UT/P, Cal Poly
Deshea Hill, Freshman, 1B/3B, Cal State Fullerton
Zoe Richard, Sophomore, 1B, Cal State Fullerton
Ari Williams, Junior, OF, Cal State Fullerton
Bryanna Ybarra, Senior, IF, Cal State Fullerton
Savannah Horvath, Senior, SS/2B, CSUN
Nichole Fry, Junior, IF, Long Beach State
Naomi Hernandez, Freshman, OF, Long Beach State
Cielo Meza, Sophomore, P, Long Beach State
Taylor Rowland, Sophomore, IF, Long Beach State
Alyse Rojas, Freshman, UT, UC Davis
Brooke Yanez, Freshman, P/IF, UC Davis
Jenna Curtan, Senior, OF, UC Riverside
Nicole Lopez, Junior, 3B, Hawai’i

Second Team
Chelsea Convissar, Senior, SS, Cal Poly
Sophie Frost, Sophomore, P, Cal State Fullerton
Trish Parks, Junior, P, Cal State Fullerton
Julia Valenzuela, Sophomore, C, Cal State Fullerton
Sammie Vandiver, Senior, OF, Cal State Fullerton
Jessica Alexander, Sophomore, IF, CSUN
Mackenzie Babbitt, Junior, OF/1B, CSUN
Hailey Dolcini, Freshman, P, UC Riverside
Emma Ramelot, Junior, IF, UC Riverside
Hannah Rodriguez, Junior, IF, UC Riverside
Sierra Altmeyer, Junior IF, UC Santa Barbara
Alyssa Diaz, Sophomore, IF, UC Santa Barbara
Callee Heen, Sophomore, C, Hawai’i

Honorable Mention
Hailey Martin, Sophomore, 1B, Cal Poly
Brooke Clemetson, Senior, OF, Cal State Fullerton
Megan Stevens, Sophomore, OF/P, CSUN
Jessica Flores, Senior, UT, Long Beach State
Lauren MacLeod, Senior, C, Long Beach State
Devyn Magnett, Sophomore, P, Long Beach State
Grayce Majam, Senior, IF, Long Beach State
Katie Kibby, Sophomore, P, UC Davis
Isabella Leon, Sophomore, UT, UC Davis
Tayler Misfeldt, Senior, P, UC Riverside
Sammy Fabian, Freshman, OF, UC Santa Barbara

All-Freshman Team
Dakota Casper, P, Cal Poly
Deshea Hill, 1B/3B, Cal State Fullerton
Jillian James, P, CSUN
Naomi Hernandez, OF, Long Beach State
Alyse Rojas, UT, UC Davis
Brooke Yanez, P, UC Davis
Hailey Dolcini, P, UC Riverside
Seanna Garewal, OF, UC Riverside
Sammy Fabian, OF, UC Santa Barbara
Maci Fines, UT, UC Santa Barbara