First-place UCSD splits against Asuza Pacific

In a rare weeknight doubleheader, the UCSD softball team split with the Cougars of Azusa Pacific University. The Tritons lost a pitchers duel 1-0 in the opener, but came back to win the nightcap 8-2.

Anna MacMurdo

The Cougars’ Cassie Lakey and Jamie Norman opened the game with back-to-back doubles, and before the Tritons could record an out, Azusa Pacific led 1-0.

UCSD pitcher Leea Harlan struggled through the rest of the inning, surrendering two more hits, but eventually got a third strike to strand Cougar runners on second and third and prevent further scoring.

The Triton bats were rendered harmless by Megan Alkire when she pitched a solid outing, allowing only five hits and no walks. UCSD mounted its only serious threat of the game in the bottom of the third inning when Breanne Cope and Amy Mettee led off with back-to-back singles.

After Kim Aggabao laid down a sacrifice bunt, the Tritons had runners at second and third with only one out. However, Alkire was up to the challenge and she induced a shallow fly to left field and a groundball back to the mound to end the threat.

Harlan was also strong after the first inning, allowing only three hits the rest of the way, but she picked up the loss, dropping her record to 6-2 on the year.

Game two started the same way, with the Cougars picking up a single run in the top of the first inning.

The Tritons atoned for their early mistake in the bottom of the second inning when Kristin Hunstad and Jamie Hurst got on base for Mettee, who ripped a two-run triple to right field.

“”In the second game, we knew what we were up against,”” Mettee said. “”We had to come back and show them how we play softball.””

The Triton brand of softball picked up another run in the third inning by capitalizing on two Cougar errors to take a 3-1 lead. However, Azusa Pacific’s bad defensive inning in the third paled in comparison to the trouble it had in the fifth. Kristina Anderson opened the inning by hitting a ball to the shortstop that the Cougar Rachel Alkire could not handle.

With one out, Christi Martinelli drove another ball at Alkire; this one went through the shortstop’s legs and all the way to the wall for a three-base error.

After Cope walked, Mettee came up with her second two-run hit of the day, this one a double into the right-center gap. Two batters later, Mettee scored on yet another Cougar error. In all, the Tritons scored five runs on only two hits with the help of three errors by APU.

The Cougars added a run in the top of the sixth on a long home run by Lorna Lyttle to close the scoring at 8-2 in favor of UCSD.

“”We made the adjustments we needed to make,”” Mettee said about the difference between the two games. “”We played as a team and played our game.””

The Tritons look to maintain their excellent level of play on the road against Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State Bakersfield.