The UC Riverside softball team fell to UC Davis 0-2 on the road Friday afternoon. This season for the Highlanders has been shaky, as they lost their last seven of nine games. Their last game was a shutout win against Cal State Fullerton 3-0 last Sunday and looked to get their second straight win.
Both starting pitchers from both teams made quick work of the first inning as sophomore pitcher Maddie Heinlin and pitcher Kenedi Brown both got 1-2-3 innings. In the top of the second inning, Brown struck out junior shortstop Leah Brito and sophomore first baseman Samiya Jones to retire the inning. Heinlin responded with a three up three down inning of her own as she struck out the first two hitters and a flyout on the last batter to take the game to the third inning. Brito continued to dominate on the mound as she continued with three straight 1-2-3 innings. In the bottom of the third inning, the Aggie offense started to come to life. Junior first baseman Sarah Starks was walked by Heinlin. A sacrifice bunt advanced Starks to second base to bring up senior infielder Sommer Kisling to hit.
Kisling was able to connect a base hit with a bunt and Starks was able to reach home base with an error on second base, which gave UC Davis the first run of the game 1-0. Freshman pitcher Brooke Perez was then subbed in for Heinlin. After a couple of pitches, UC Davis found themselves with the bases loaded with infielder Rylie Costa on third, Kisling on second, and catcher Anna Dethlefson on first. Utility player Leah Polson stepped up to the plate and hit the softball downfield for a sacrifice flyout to send Costa home for another run, which brought the score to 2-0. A lineout and a ground out concluded the bottom of the third but a two-run inning from the Aggies gave them the lead.
Brown continued to control the game but let up the first hit of the game from graduate student outfielder Nadia Witt. However, the Highlander offense continued to be at a standstill as senior shortstop Marissa Burk was grounded out and Witt was tagged out as she tried to steal third base. Perez started to get into a rhythm as she got a strikeout and ground out as well as tagging outfielder Sarah Nakahara out as she tried to steal bases. In the top of the fifth inning, Brown was able to get junior utility player Kate Montuya out with a fly out. Brito was then walked by Brown but a great double play from the Aggies retired the inning and still kept the score 2-0.
Perez was able to make quick work of UC Davis in the bottom of the fifth inning as she was able to get a flyout, popout, and ground out although she gave up a hit to Kisling, her second hit of the game. Brown continued her splendid afternoon in the top of the sixth inning with another three up three down inning as she retired junior catcher Gigi Araki, freshman catcher Jackie Alday, and sophomore midfielder Taylor Burdette. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Perez continued to stifle the Aggie offense with her pitching as she let up only one hit in the inning once again.
The Highlanders found themselves with one last inning to get back into the game as they faced a 2-0 deficit. Senior midfielder Lauryn Garewal was up first to bat but her swing resulted in a pop-out for out number one. Witt was up next but took in four balls from Brown to walk her into first base. With the game-tying run on the plate, Burk had a chance to advance Witt but her swing resulted in another pop-out. With one out remaining, Montuya’s swing was lined out to the shortstop and ended the game 2-0 in favor of UC Davis.
Witt was the only player on the Highlander team to record a hit in the game. Heinlin picked up the loss in this game as in two innings pitched, she allowed one hit, one run, and had two strikeouts. Perez in four innings pitched allowed three hits, no runs, and a strikeout.
The Highlanders drop to 15-20 (2-8) in the year and will have their series against Hawaii on Friday and Saturday, April 14-15, at 9:00 P.M.