Softball finishes Easton Tournament of Champions at 2-3; Tritons fail to make tournament finals

Coming off a frustrating spring break performance, the UCSD softball team continued to struggle at the Easton Tournament of Champions on April 2 through April 4, held in Modesto, Calif., winning only two of its five games.

UCSD started the tournament on a high note, defeating Western Oregon in its first game, 8-6. Offense was in full effect for the Tritons, who started off the first game with an RBI double by senior second baseman Kim Aggabao, scoring senior third baseman Amy Mettee. UCSD added three more in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth, jumping out to an early 6-0 lead.

Western Oregon managed to tie the game at six, but in extra innings Aggabao got a two-run single, bringing the score up to a winning 8-6 for UCSD. Aggabao was four-for-five on the day, with four RBIs. Mettee went two-for-four on the day, also adding an RBI, and crossed the plate three times. Sophomore outfielder Niki Anderson provided another RBI and scored once while going one-for-three. Junior catcher Jamie Hurst, sophomore shortstop Desiree Franciscus, sophomore outfielder Jenny Spencer and senior first baseman Jodie Bland added two hits each.

Freshman starter Tina Rowe, who had been sidelined earlier in the season due to a back injury, threw five solid innings, giving up only one run. However, the wheels fell off in the sixth, as she gave up five runs, including the game-tying run, and she existed the with a no decision [? -ea]. Junior Kelley Bryant finished the sixth for Rowe, and the game for the Tritons, pitching 2.1 innings of scoreless relief, netting her third win on the season and bringing her record to 3-2.

In its next game of the tournament, UCSD took on the University of Hawaii-Hilo. The Vulcans quickly jumped out to a 7-0 lead off starting pitcher Bland, who gave up seven runs, six earned, in 2.1 innings. This outing resulted in her ninth loss of the season and brought her record to 9-9. Bryant provided 4.2 innings of relief, giving up only one run, but Hawaii-Hilo already had enough to solidify its 8-4 victory.

Offense was spotty for the Tritons, who scored one in the third and fourth innings and two in the fifth. Spencer led the team with a three-for-four performance, two of her hits doubles, and knocking in two runs. Hurst went two-for-four and scored twice while netting her RBI. Mettee and junior outfielder Breanne Cope scored the other two runs for the Tritons, while freshman catcher Nikki Palmer knocked in the final run for UCSD.

The second day of the tournament found the Tritons much worse off, losing their first game to Hawaii Pacific 9-0 in five innings. Rowe started the game but was knocked out after only 1.2 innings of pitching, giving up five earned runs and losing her fourth game of the season, putting her record at 7-4. Bryant came in to throw 3.1 innings of relief, but gave up four more runs, two earned. She came away with a no decision.

UCSD managed to put together only three hits for the game, coming from Mettee, Aggabao and Spencer.

Unfortunately, the second game on April 4 was not much different for the Tritons, who fell to Western New Mexico 8-0 in six innings. Bryant started the game, going 2.2 innings, giving up three unearned runs. Despite this, she still took the loss, bringing her record to 3-3 on the season. Franciscus pitched three innings in relief, allowing five runs, three of them earned, and came away with a no decision.

Once again, hits were scarce for UCSD, who managed four at this game. They came from Mettee, Franciscus, Aggabao and freshman outfielder Brittni Carino.

The Tritons finally turned the tables on April 4, blanking opponent Cal State San Bernardino 8-0 in five innings. Bland pitched a masterful complete game shutout, giving her her 10th win on the season and placing her record at 10-9 on the year.

The bats woke back up for UCSD, which scored one in the second inning, four in the third and three in the fourth. Franciscus provided the most fireworks, going two-for-three with two RBIs and two runs scored. Joining her with big numbers was Hurst, who went two-for-two and crossed the plate twice and grabbed an RBI. Teammate Aggabao also scored twice and had an RBI, going two-for-three. Spencer provided both another run and RBI with a 1-3 [one-for-three? -hw] outing, while Mettee scored the remaining run off an Anderson hit.

UCSD is back in action on April 7 when it takes on Point Loma Nazarene in a two-game doubleheader held at Point Loma, Calif.