April 3 had been circled on the Merced College softball team's calendar for about a month.
Rain pushed the contest back to Friday, but it didn't diminish the She-Devils' focus.
MC's showing in a doubleheader at Fresno City had been so embarrassing, the team wouldn't even speak of it.
Having won three of their last four Central Valley Conference games and playing some of their best softball of the season, Friday afternoon was supposed to be a day of atonement for the She-Devils. It took just a half inning to derail those plans.
A pair of errors opened the door for a five-run first inning and the Rams cruised from there to an 11-0 victory.
"That first inning was brutal," center fielder Mari Valdez said. "We came in so focused and wanted it so bad, and we just fell apart.
"I don't know how a team can want it so badly and then turn in one of its worst offensive and defensive games of the season. I'm at a loss."
An infield single and a flare to left instantly put the MC dense under pressure in the first.
A fielding error on an attempted sacrifice bunt loaded the bases with no outs.
Courtney Rodgers singled in a pair of runs and Grace Combs followed with a run-scoring single of her own. A couple ground outs pushed across two more runs and just like that, MC (12-18, 5-6 CVC) was facing a five-run hole.
"Yeah, it was kind of a disastrous first inning, but like I told the girls, we still had five or six innings to put together some good at-bats and fight our way back into the game," MC coach Suzanne McGhee said. "We continued playing, but we mentally checked out after the first."
The She-Devils had opportunities to chip away at the lead.
They got runners on in six of the seven innings, but only produced five hits. None of those came in the clutch as the team went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
Fresno took advantage. The Rams (22-6, 9-1 CVC) pushed across two more runs in the third inning and then put the game away with a four-run seventh.