The Aggies came into the weekend looking for momentum. After a bumbling 1-5 start to Big West play, UC Davis looked to rebound against the Cal Poly Mustangs.
Historically, the Aggies have had the Mustangs’ number, evidenced by the four-game win streak UC Davis held coming into the April 12 doubleheader.
The Aggies once again came out strong against the Mustangs. In the first game of the doubleheader, freshman pitcher Dana Cruse pitched a solid six innings and only gave up two earned runs. Cruse pitched three shutout innings early on and after giving up two runs in the fourth inning, pitched another two shutout innings.
UC Davis got on the scoreboard first, with a double into center field by freshman catcher Lauryn Saunders in the fourth inning, which brought home junior first baseman Amy Nunez. This was followed up by a double by senior second baseman Chandler Wagner, which brought home Saunders, giving the Aggies a 2-0 lead.
However, UC Davis got tagged for two runs in the bottom of the fourth, tying the score at 2-2 at the end of the fourth. However, sophomore leftfielder Cat Guidry scored on a fielding error in the fifth to give the Aggies a 3-2 lead.
From there, both pitching staffs were lights out and did not give up another run. Cruse pitched two shutout innings after the rough fourth inning and handed the game over to freshman pitcher Andrea Reynolds, who pitched a shutout seventh inning to seal the game for the Aggies by the score of 3-2.
The second game of the doubleheader was just as close a contest as the first. The Aggies started Reynolds who gave up a run-off of a sacrifice fly in the first inning. From there, she pitched three shutout innings, finishing the game with only one earned run in 4.1 innings pitched.
The Aggies’ offense came directly from the bat of Wagner, who held the hot bat. Wagner went 3-3 with three RBI, including a two-RBI single in the top of the sixth inning which sealed off the game for UC Davis, 3-2.
UC Davis’ second win of the day also capped off a six-game winning streak against the Mustangs, stretching back to last season. It also bumped the Aggies’ overall record to 14-24 and 3-5 in the Big West.
As the Aggies entered into the final game of the weekend series on April 13, they came in with the desire to attain a sweep of the struggling Mustangs and push their winning streak against the Mustangs to seven games. Unfortunately, this was not meant to be.
The Mustangs started out strong and hit Reynolds early and often. She gave up five runs in a matter of 3.2 innings. However, only one of these runs were earned.
The Aggies’ problems stemmed from their inability to keep the Mustangs off of the scoring path and play solid defense. UC Davis’ three errors really hurt their chances of winning.
Beyond that, the Aggies were ice-cold with their bats, in large part due to the fantastic pitching of Cal Poly’s Sierra Hyland. She pitched a complete game shutout and only gave up three hits in the process. UC Davis only had one runner on third the entire game.
UC Davis’ Wagner, who had been batting .667 during the series, saw a significant dropoff. She went hitless in three at-bats and did not get on base in the series finale.
The Aggies’ frustration with the bats and the lack of solid defense allowed the Mustangs to cruise to an effortless 6-0 victory.
The tough loss brought the Aggies down to 14-25 overall and 3-6 in conference play. They are heading back home for a three-game homestand against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, including a doubleheader on April 18.
The Gauchos will be a solid test for the Aggies as the Gauchos are near the top of the table with a 26-16 overall record and a 6-3 Big West record. UC Davis will need to get the bats going at home in order to upset the mighty Gauchos.
KENNETH LING can be reached at email@example.com.