2013 Season Review

May 23, 2013

RESULTS FROM FINAL GAMES PLAYED IN 2013

May 10 vs. Cal Poly: W, 5-2 (Gm. 1); W, 6-4 (Gm. 2)
May 11 vs. Cal Poly: W, 4-0
 

DAVIS, Calif. - By winning eight games out of its last 12 played, UC Davis ended its season with a 25-27 overall record, 11-13 mark in conference play, set a new all-time stolen base record, recorded the second-lowest team ERA in the Division I era and became the first Big West team in 13 years to defeat nationally-ranked Stanford in consecutive seasons.
 

FIVE PLAYERS RECEIVE TEAM AWARDS
In addition to recognizing its four graduating seniors, several members of the UC Davis softball team were honored at the program’s annual awards banquet.

Earning Most Improved Player, one of five awards presented that evening, was Monica Silver. Arriving to UC Davis after earning All-West Valley League honors three times, and winning a Los Angeles City Section championship in 2012 at El Camino Real Charter, the freshman catcher took full advantage of every opportunity presented in an effort to earn a spot amongst a corps of experienced catchers on the Aggies’ roster.

Senior catcher JJ Wagoner was named the Most Inspirational player for the 2013 season. Leading by example since her first game as a freshman in 2010, Wagoner switched from her preferred position in the outfield to a spot behind the plate in addition to batting as a left-hander upon request from her coaching staff. 

Redshirt sophomore Amy Nunez received this year’s Coaches Award, presented to the player whose leadership skills, character, play on the field and competitive spirit best represents the program in a positive manner. Recording 24 hits in 50 games last season, Nunez matched that total in her 30 appearances this season in addition to posting four doubles, one triple and a team-high three home runs.


 

 

Competing on a team ranked No. 66 in the nation with its .965 fielding percentage, junior Chandler Wagner is this season’s Golden Glove winner. 

In a move that comes as no surprise to numerous teams UC Davis faced this year, Christa Castello earned the Clutch Player Award in her first season as an Aggie. A true freshman that started every game this season at shortstop, Castello recorded a team-high 82 assists to earn legitimate consideration for Big West Freshman Player of the Year.

VELA, CASTELLO RECEIVE ALL-BIG WEST HONORS
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Justine Vela and freshman shortstop Christa Castello were rewarded for their successful seasons by receiving All-Big West Conference first and second-team honors respectively. Vela has now received first team recognition in each of her two years at UC Davis, Castello received a nod from the conference in her inaugural season as an Aggie. 

Leading a pitching staff that ended the 2013 campaign with the lowest ERA in the conference, Vela also led all Big West pitchers with a .177 opposing batting average this season - more than 20 percentage points lower than the league’s second-ranked pitcher. The Bakersfield native also possessed the lowest opposing batting average in league games only at .184 and allowed right-handers to hit a paltry .171 throughout her 33 appearances. 

Two NCAA top-30 rankings were also earned by last season’s Big West Freshman Pitcher and Conference Pitcher of the Year; by allowing only 4.34 hits per seven innings, the lowest average in the Big West, Vela ended her second season at UC Davis ranked No. 14 nationally. She also earned seven shutouts to finish No. 2 in the league and No. 30 in the nation. 

In addition to compiling a 15-10 record and a career-low 2.03 ERA, Vela also fanned 175 batters throughout her 172.2 innings in the circle and was one of only three Big West pitchers to average more than one strikeout per inning pitched.

Ranked No. 19 in the league amongst everyday players with a .308 batting average in her first season of Division I competition, Castello quickly developed a reputation as one of the most dangerous all-around players in the conference as the season progressed.

Hailing from Concord, Calif., Castello gave Aggie softball fans plenty to cheer about by making difficult plays seem anything but with her fielding skills at shortstop

Castello held four offensive team-high marks after UC Davis ended its season with a home sweep over Cal Poly; in addition her .308 average at the plate, she also led all Aggies with 51 total bases, 15 runs and stolen bases.

Her 15 steals was the sixth-highest total in the conference.

Castello hit a team-high .309 against right-handed pitchers, .377 with runners on base, .372 with runners in scoring position and .375 with the bases loaded. The first-year shortstop was a direct influence in six UC Davis victories by virtue of driving in three game-winning runs, and scoring another three game-winners.

One of the most dependable bats in the Aggies’ lineup from start to finish, she successfully advanced runners in 38 of 70 opportunities (54.3 percent), the second-highest success rate on the roster, and earned nine of her 15 RBI with two outs.

NOTE: All statistics stated above were through games of 5/12 and used for awards consideration

THANK YOU SENIORS!
On May 11, four members of UC Davis’ softball team were recognized for their contributions to the program in a Senior Day ceremony. Recognized that day were Megan Guzman, Kelly Schulze, Jessica Thweatt and JJ Wagoner.

DÉJÀ VU AT LA RUE
By scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, UC Davis completed its comeback effort against No. 17/16 Stanford (5/1) to defeat the Cardinal 5-4. That win is the Aggies’ second over Stanford in the last three head-to-head meetings; UC Davis also recorded a 2-1 victory when the Cardinal visited Davis last season. The Aggies are the first team in 13 years to defeat the Cardinal in consecutive seasons.

ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS
Capping a remarkable career with three steals in the Aggies’ season finale versus  Cal Poly (4/11), Megan Guzman ends her career ranked No. 2 all-time with 51 stolen bases.

UC DAVIS AND THE NCAA
UC Davis softball possesses three top-100 rankings compared to all 289 Division I programs in the nation. Categories include (through games of May 19):

No. 44 in Earned Run Average (2.36)
No. 57 in Stolen Bases (1.33/gm.)
No. 63 in Fielding Percentage (.965)

AGGIES VS. THE NATION
In addition to their team totals, seven Aggies also possess national individual rankings (in alphabetical order, through games of May 19):

Christa Castello
No. 108, Toughest to Strikeout (1K/14.6 AB) 

Jasmine Lee
No. 61, Toughest to Strikeout (1K/17.1 AB)

Leah Munden
No. 6 in Hit Batters (2)

Kelly Schulze
No. 11 in Hit by Pitch (0.41/gm.)

Jessica Thweatt
No. 70 in Hit Batters (5)

Justine Vela
No. 14 in Hits Allowed/7 Innings (4.34)
No. 34 in Shutouts (7)
No. 82 in ERA (2.03)
No. 85 in Strikeouts (175)
No. 85 in Strikeouts/7 Innings (7.1)
No. 134 in Victories (15)

Chandler Wagner
No. 28 in Sacrifice Flies (4)

IT’S OK TO STRIKEOUT TODAY
Taking place throughout UC Davis’ Alumni Weekend, the softball program held its ninth-annual Strike Out Cancer, organized to raise funds and awareness for the fight against cancer, on April 27. Aggie Softball would like to thank fans for supporting this cause; if you were not able to make it to La Rue Field that day, and are interested in donating, please contact UC Davis’ coaching staff at softball@ucdavis.edu. All donations received will benefit the UC Davis Cancer Center.

REACH BASE IF YOU DARE
UC Davis fielded one of the toughest pitching staffs in the Big West Conference in 2013 as the Aggies finished the year ranked No. 1 in the league with a 2.36 ERA and .240 opposing batting average.

THEY’RE NUMBER TWO AND NUMBER ONE
Even though this season’s pitching staff recorded the lowest team ERA in the conference (2.41), it still ranks second to the average posted by the 2009 roster. Responsible for the lowest average since its transition to Division I competition, the ‘09 staff ended that year with a 1.86 ERA.

NO MATTER WHO YOU FACE, IT’S GOING TO BE A LONG DAY
Two UC Davis pitchers recorded ERAs that were low enough to earn a spot in the Big West’s top 10. One of two conference teams to sport a pair in this statistical category, the duo includes Justine Vela (2.03 ERA, No. 3) and Jessica Thweatt (2.76 ERA, No. 10).

N0 L0VE F0R 0PP0NENTS
Opponents are seeing nothing but zeros this season whenever Justine Vela is pitching as the right-hander is ranked No. 34 in the country with seven shutouts.

DON’T LEAVE EARLY
Forty-three percent of games played this season by the Aggies were decided by one run. Of their 25 victories, eight were one-run contests.

A FAMILIAR SIGHT
Of the Aggies’ 289 strikeouts, 126 have been earned against conference opposition. Those 126 strikeouts are the most earned by any Big West team in league play.

THANKS FOR THE FREEBIE
UC Davis finished its season ranked No. 2 in the Big West with 50 hit-by-pitches, trailing Cal State Northridge and its league-leading total of 53. Responsible for 21 of her team’s total, Kelly Schulze recorded the second-highest single-season hit-by-pitch mark in the program’s history.

DOUBLE TROUBLE
Chandler Wagner posted her eighth two-hit game of the season, a team-high that also matches Jasmine Lee’s total, when she hit two doubles in the Aggies’ series finale versus Cal State Fullerton (4/28). That day’s performance also helped her tie teammate Krista Bava for the most doubles hit by an Aggie this season with six. Of those doubles hit by Wagner, four were earned throughout league play.

CHRISTA C’S RULE OF THREE
On Sunday, April 28, versus Cal State Fullerton, freshman shortstop Christa Castello earned her third three-hit total of the season. Responsible for one-fourth of the Aggies’ total, Castello has three of her team’s 12 three-hit games.

I DON’T THINK SO
Many UC Davis opponents were frustrated after facing Justine Vela throughout the season, and deservedly so, since she possessed the lowest opposing batting average of all pitchers in the Big West Conference at .177.

YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE
UC Davis earned its second run-rule victory of the season on April 13, the series opener at UC Santa Barbara, by recording an 8-0 triumph in five innings. For college softball, a mercy rule is invoked if one team is leading by eight runs or more after five full innings, or at the middle of the fourth if the home team is leading. At the Stanford Nike Invitational, the Aggies also run-ruled Santa Clara (2/27) by a 14-1 score.

A RBI MACHINE
Chandler Wagner was the only Aggie this season to earn four RBI in a game, an accomplishment that took place for the first time in her career in UC Davis’ series opener at UC Santa Barbara (4/13). 

KEEPING THEIR EYES ON THE BALL
One of the most efficient defenses in the Big West, the Aggies committed only 50 errors throughout the year, the second-fewest committed by any team in the conference.

ANYONE, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE
When UC Davis took the diamond on May 1 against No. 17 Stanford, the Aggies competed against their seventh top-25 team of the year. Other nationally-ranked foes faced throughout 2013 include (rankings entering each respective game):

No. 3 Arizona State
No. 9 California
No. 14 South Florida
No. 15 Michigan
No. 18 Hawai’i
No. 24 Oregon State

YOU WILL HAVE NOTHING AND LIKE IT... AGAIN
Jessica Thweatt earned her first of two shutout victories on the year when she blanked Cal State Northridge in Gm. 2 of the Aggies’ doubleheader on April 6. Her last shutout win took place exactly one year ago to the day on April 6, 2012, when her team captured an extra-inning 2-0 triumph against… Cal State Northridge.

FIRST TO FIVE (INNINGS) WINS
Four innings of action has served as an accurate indicator for the eventual outcome of games the Aggies have played this season as the team is 16-3 when leading after four innings, 1-18 when trailing, and 8-6 entering the fifth with a tied score.

BACK, BACK, BACK... GONE!
Junior transfer Caitlin Voss has made the most of her opportunities at the plate recently, belting her first two home runs as an Aggie in consecutive games. After smacking her first homer against Pacific (4/10), the Santa Maria native provided the perfect ending for UC Davis in its first game at UC Santa Barbara (4/13), smacking a solo shot to force a mercy-rule ending in the Aggies’ favor.

WALK THIS WAY... JUST KIDDING, YOU WON’T
That’s what happened to Cal State Northridge after its doubleheader on April 6 concluded when starting pitchers Justine Vela and Jessica Thweatt did not allow a walk throughout the entire day. This is the second time that Aggie pitchers did not allow a walk in consecutive games, although Saturday’s feat was the first time this occurred in the same day.

On March 16, at CSU Bakersfield, UC Davis did not allow a free pass to the Roadrunners; the same thing occurred the following game vs. Oregon State as the Beavers did not draw a walk when they faced the Aggies on Mar. 24.

FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME
In the Aggies Big West opener at Hawai’i, 10 innings were needed to declare a victor.  That evening was the first time since May 8, 2008, that UC Davis participated in a 10-inning game. 

VELA NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Recording both UC Davis victories against No. 14 South Florida (2/23) and Fordham (2/24) at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, Justine Vela was named Big West Pitcher of the Week as announced by the conference on Feb. 25. 

The sophomore right-hander ended her weekend with a 2-0 record, 1.88 ERA and fanned 20 batters throughout her 18.2 innings pitched. Vela has now received weekly honors from the Big West Conference on four occasions throughout her time at UC Davis. 

ALL-TOURNAMENT ACCOLADES
For her efforts throughout the three-day, six-game NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla. (2/22-24), sophomore right-handed pitcher Justine Vela earned one of 12 spots on the All-Tournament Team. 

Against South Florida, Vela struckout a season-high 12 batters and allowed only one extra-base hit to help the Aggies upset the 14th-ranked team in the nation by a 1-0 score.  

The following day, Vela helped UC Davis end its weekend in victorious fashion with a one-hit performance against Fordham to record her second complete-game shutout in as many appearances. 

The Bakersfield, Calif., native also received a no decision in the Aggies’ tournament opener versus Southern Illinois, and against No. 15 Michigan where she threw one inning in relief, gave up only one hit and struckout one Wolverine.

HOME SWEET HOME
UC Davis hosted 15 home games this season, the fewest of any Big West school. With the exception of Pacific, a school that competed in 19 home games, every other league school participated in 20 or more contests on its home diamond. Hawai’i led the conference with 35 home games, followed by Cal State Fullerton and its home schedule that featured 34.

DOWN GOES ANOTHER RANKED TEAM
At the NFCA Classic, UC Davis defeated No. 17/14 South Florida 1-0. The victory was the Aggies’ first over a ranked opponent since their 2-1 victory versus No. 8 Stanford on Feb. 15, 2012.