Tritons Swing Through Three Wins Over the Weekend

    Going into last weekend, the UCSD softball team had yet to be tested in California Collegiate Athletic Association action, with their only previous two games against Biola, a nonconference opponent. But with four scheduled games in two days, the Tritons figured they would quickly have a good idea of where they stood after the weekend was over.

    Lyon Liew
    Guardian

    After splitting games against Sonoma State University Friday and then sweeping San Francisco State at home Saturday, the blue and gold passed their test with flying colors and gained a stranglehold on second place in the CCAA with a 3-1 conference record. UCSD, with an overall record of 5-1, is behind only California State University San Bernardino, which occupies the first-place slot with a 2-0 league record.

    “”We’re three and one,”” said head coach Patti Gerckens. “”That’s a great start. I think the team now knows what the CCAA teams are about and that they aren’t going to die out there.””

    In its first game against Sonoma State, UCSD started off on the wrong foot, giving the Cossacks the lead with an unearned run in the first inning. However, that would be the last run SSU would get until the sixth inning. Junior pitcher Leea Harlan was dominant all afternoon, giving up only four hits and striking out seven while going the distance to pick up the victory.

    Lyon Liew
    Guardian

    The Tritons evened up the score in the second, when senior right fielder Michelle Wilson singled and later scored on freshman shortstop Amy Mettee’s triple. In the fourth inning it was Wilson again triggering the Triton offense with another single. After advancing to third, she then scored on pinch hitter Erin Sinclair’s single to right.

    Pinch runner Angie Carr replaced Sinclair and later scored on a single by junior center fielder Samantha Hayes. UCSD struck again in the sixth, taking advantage of two SSU errors, a single by senior Jeanine Cordero and a double by junior Kristina Anderson to push three more runs across the plate and extend their lead to 6-2 and seal the victory.

    Unfortunately for the Tritons, the second game was a different story and resulted in a heartbreaker of a loss to the Cossacks. In a closely knotted game, the teams went back and forth, refusing to let the other pull away.

    Sonoma State again started off by scoring in the first. UCSD tied the game at one in the second half of the inning. Then the two teams neutralized each other defensively until the fifth, in which the Cossacks put up two runs in the top half of the inning, only to give them back to UCSD in the bottom half.

    In the crucial last inning, UCSD had SSU down to two outs with nobody on, but everything fell apart. A single, error, double, single and another double later, Sonoma State had a four-run cushion and the eventual win.

    Junior pitcher Christi Martinelli was tagged with the loss, despite only allowing two earned runs. Hayes, Anderson and Kim Aggabao each had two hits in the effort for the Tritons.

    Saturday against San Francisco State, Gator Lisa Delsman was throwing goose eggs until the bottom of the fourth, when the Triton offense exploded to the tune of four runs on five hits. That would be more than enough for UCSD hurler Harlan, as she again went the distance giving up only four hits and two runs while striking out seven Gators.

    Offensively for the Tritons, Mettee was 3-3 while Harlan, Anderson and second baseman Christina Searing each had two hits.

    In the second game, San Francisco quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first, taking advantage of two UCSD errors. However, even the rain wasn’t enough to cool off the red-hot Triton offense, as they responded by scoring seven runs in the bottom of the first, the big blows coming on a double by Wilson and a two-run single by Anderson.

    Martinelli then coasted for UCSD until the fifth, when she gave up a home run to Gator Natalie Batista on the first pitch of the inning. After an RBI double brought the Gators within two at a score of 7-5, Harlan came in as relief and ended the threat. Harlan proceeded to shut down the Gators for the rest of the game to secure the victory.

    Offensively, the Tritons were particularly impressive over the weekend, scoring a total of 20 runs in the four games.

    “”Offensively we did a great job,”” Gerckens said. “”We hit the ball hard; we battled back a couple times. We have been working on our offense a lot since the fall. I think the team really focused on it, and it showed.””

    Pitching also performed well for UCSD, as Harlan picked up two victories and a save over the weekend to bump her record to a perfect 3-0.

    “”Leea did a great job on the mound for us,”” Gerckens said.

    With the offense and the pitching in sync, the scary thought is that the Tritons aren’t even hitting on all cylinders yet.

    “”Defensively, we made a couple mental mistakes we need to make sure don’t happen again,”” Gerckens said. “”We have to limit our mental mistakes and our defense has to become more consistent.””

    The Tritons must work to strengthen these weaknesses, especially considering the fact that powerhouses Chico State and UC Davis are coming to town next weekend.

    “”Obviously, they’re going to score runs,”” Gerckens said. “”We have to be able to chase down balls and know where to go with them because they are going to be hitting them out there.””

    The fireworks are set to begin Friday at 1:30 p.m. when UCSD takes on Chico and continues Saturday at 12 p.m. when the Tritons square off against the Davis Aggies.

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