Softball loses its league-leading form

    The UCSD softball team dropped seven consecutive games between March 15 and March 31.

    Guardian file photo

    The Triton squad, which once held the top spot in California Collegiate Athletic Association standings, has fallen back to fourth place with a 12-10 conference record and a 20-14 record overall.

    This year, head coach Patti Gerckens’ team boasts an impressive 10-2 record at home during CCAA play, but has struggled on the road, going 2-8. Those road woes were never more painful than during a pair of shutout losses March 16 at UC Davis.

    The wins helped the Aggies pass the Tritons in the standings and the two teams headed in different directions. UC Davis is currently riding a seven-game winning streak to the top of the CCAA, while UCSD has dropped seven and hopes to regain its footing in the standings.

    Despite tough times, the Tritons remain optimistic.

    “”Right now, I think that we’re at the greatest place a losing team could be,”” said senior left-fielder Kristina Anderson. “”Everyone is trying so hard. Things just aren’t clicking for us.””

    The statistics would seem to suggest the effort is there, since the Tritons lead the CCAA with a .969 fielding percentage. They are also fourth in earned run average and second in batting average.

    Sophomore third baseman Amy Mettee suggested the wins will come with time, but admitted the losses take a toll.

    “”Every time you lose, it’s frustrating,”” she said. “”Losing is never easy, but we haven’t lost confidence. Every great team goes through difficulties and challenges, but that makes you better.””

    Despite current struggles as a team, a few UCSD players are posting outstanding seasons. Mettee is among the CCAA’s top five in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs scored, stolen bases, total bases, doubles and hits. She was selected CCAA Player of the Week for March 10.

    Anderson benefitted from Mettee being on base because she ranks in the CCAA top five for RBIs.

    Senior pitcher Christi Martinelli has also had a stellar year, going 12-6 thus far with an earned run average below two while she also leads the CCAA in strikeouts. She was named CCAA’s pitcher of the week for March 10.

    As they struggle through the middle of their season, the Tritons look to regain the form that led them to a 13-1 start.

    The Tritons still have two tournaments, the West Region Champions Tourney and the Mt. Dew Classic, as well as 10 conference games left (four at home) against Cal State Stanislaus, CSU Bakersfield, CSU Dominguez Hills, Sonoma State and San Francisco State universities, the Tritons will have plenty of opportunities to put their season back in the right direction.

    They also will host rival University of San Diego in exciting inter-San Diego action. The team still remains a confident bunch.

    “”We still don’t doubt that we’ll make it to the top,”” Mettee said.

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