Photo Courtesy of UCSD Athletics
In a home series that was moved up due to forecasts of rain, the UC San Diego softball team took three of four games from the California State University, Stanislaus Warriors to improve its record to 16–5 overall and 7–5 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. The teams split their two Thursday games, as UCSD won the first, 5–0, but lost the second 2–3. The next day, UCSD took both matches, the first 5–2, and the second a 10–1 rout.
In the first game of the series, UCSD was held hitless for the first two innings. But after a pair of hits and an error loaded the bases, the Warriors’ junior pitcher Delaney Pamplin hit junior first baseman Sherriah Harrington with a pitch, bringing home the first run of the game; in the next at-bat, junior second baseman Isabel Lavrov singled to right field, scoring 2 more runs. Lavrov, however, would get caught stealing on the next play, but not before Harrington scored to put the Tritons up 4–0 going into the fourth inning. The Tritons’ fifth run of the night would come in the sixth inning, as Lavrov walked, advanced to second on a ground out, stole third, then scored on another ground out to put UCSD up 5–0, the last run of the game. The win went to junior pitcher Robyn Wampler, who threw 7 scoreless innings, allowing only 2 hits, for her third consecutive shutout.
However, the Tritons couldn’t keep their momentum in the second half of the doubleheader. After a ground out to begin the second inning, senior pitcher Alanna Phillips walked the second batter of the inning and hit the third. The Warriors capitalized on these mistakes with 2 straight hits to score a runner each; after another ground out, a wild pitch from Phillips allowed another Stanislaus State run. Although the Tritons then secured a third ground out to finish the inning, they had already allowed the Warriors a 3–0 lead. The Tritons were able to manage a run on a sacrifice bunt from freshman utility player Graci Dragoo in the bottom of the third to get on the board. In the fourth inning, Harrington singled, advanced to second on a Lavrov lineout, stole third, and scored on an error to close the gap to one. But that would be the last UCSD score, as the three-run second inning was enough to win the game for Stanislaus State, 3–2.
On Friday, the Tritons were on the board in the first inning, as senior outfielder Mikaila Reyes scored from second on a Warrior error to take a 1–0 lead. In the third inning, with 2 on base, Stanislaus scored once with a single, then again on a sacrifice bunt to take a 2–1 lead. In the bottom of the same inning, however, Harrington tied the game up with a double to center field, and after Reyes popped out, Lavrov lined a single up the middle, scoring 2 more to take the lead back, 3–2. The fourth and fifth innings passed mostly uneventfully, but in the home half of the sixth, sophomore catcher and first baseman Clarissa Reynoso lined a single to left field, scoring Lavrov from third base. That would be the winning run, as despite 2 hits, the Warriors couldn’t manage a run in the seventh. The game was the second win of the series for Wampler, who allowed 2 runs in six innings; freshman pitcher Kaia Simpson took over in the seventh to secure the save and the 5–2 victory.
In the last game of the series, the Tritons once again scored in the first, as a Lavrov single scored freshman third baseman Sophia Real from third to give UCSD a 1–0 lead. In the second, the Tritons got 3 runs on RBI singles from Real, Harrington, and Reyes to take a 4–0 lead; UCSD added another in the third on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore catcher and outfielder Kinley Kyro. The Warriors were able to snag a run in the fourth on an RBI single, but it would be their only score of the game. In the fifth inning, Lavrov scored on a passed ball after doubling to open the inning, freshman catcher Justice Salcido singled past the shortstop to knock in another run, and senior first baseman Brittney Ross-Smith batted in another run on a ground out. With the score now 8–1, redshirt sophomore catcher and third baseman Bobbi Aguirre delivered the finishing blow with a home run to left field, scoring 2 runs and triggering the NCAA softball mercy rule — which kicks in when a team is up by 8 runs after 5 innings — as the Tritons took the game 10–1 and the series 3–1. Phillips got the win, allowing only 1 run and 4 hits after coming off a rough performance the night before.
Although they have the best overall record, the Tritons are third in the CCAA; they’ll seek to improve their standing with a four-game series on Feb. 28 and 29 against the California State University, Monterey Bay Otters, who are sixth in the conference.