Softball arrests losing ways with two wins

    The UCSD softball team ended a long losing streak at the Tournament of Champions in Modesto, Calif., last weekend, but lost some close games en route to a 2-3 finish.

    The Tritons had a seven-game losing streak into their first game of the tournament against conference foe Chico State University. After each team scored a first-inning run, the score remained knotted until the fifth inning when Chico State broke through with two runs off UCSD pitcher Christi Martinelli. The Tritons could muster only seven hits against Chico State hurler Erin McCulloch and dropped the game 1-3.

    UCSD came back later that day to play Chaminade University of Honolulu in its second tournament game. The Tritons finally found relief from their losing streak, taking a 4-1 victory from the Silverswords. Leea Harlan got the win for the Tritons while Martinelli picked up the save. Despite previous tough times, shortstop Kim Aggabao maintains that the team stayed confident.

    “”We’re a very good team with a lot of talent,”” she said. “”We just had to tighten things up a little bit.””

    The Tritons took that confidence from their win into a game against Humboldt State University the next day. Harlan allowed only one run and five hits in four innings while she battled in a pitcher’s duel with Chico State’s Shona Guevara.

    UCSD didn’t score until the bottom of the seventh inning. After catcher Kristin Hunstad got the hitting started, Martinelli followed with a single of her own. Aggabao played the hero when her two-out, two-run hit gave the Tritons the 2-1 win.

    “”It felt good to finally play like we had been playing at the beginning of the season,”” Hunstad said.

    The Tritons next faced the Western Washington University Vikings — one of the stronger teams in the West Region. The game was close throughout, and after seven innings the game was tied 1-1.

    With one out in the top of the eighth and a runner on third, the Vikings attempted a squeeze play. Triton third baseman Amy Mettee sprang forward, grabbed the ball and appeared to put a tag on the WWU runner. However, the home plate umpire ruled that she hadn’t tagged the runner and UCSD lost 2-1.

    In UCSD’s final game of the tournament, the UC Davis Aggies came back from a three-run deficit to beat UCSD 5-3. The Triton runs were scored by tournament MVP Amy Rosson, who picked up a no-decision in the game after being knocked out in three innings. Joining Rosson on the All-Tournament Team was UCSD left fielder Kristina Anderson.

    Despite the 2-3 record for the tournament, which fell short of what the team had hoped for, Triton head coach Patti Gerckens remained optimistic.

    “”We had some good things happen,”” she said. “”We lost against Davis, and they’re a really great team, but we learned some things and we’re not done yet.””

    Looking forward, the Tritons are in the middle of a pileup in the California Collegiate Athletic Association standings. UCSD is tied for fourth with Cal State Bakersfield and Chico State, but is only two games behind Cal State San Bernardino and Cal State Dominguez Hills, which are tied for second place.

    With 10 conference games left for the Tritons, the race is definitely heating up. Position in the conference will help decide which teams will advance to the regional playoffs.

    “”We’re right there for the race,”” Hunstad said. “”We need to win coming down the stretch.””

    The Tritons return to CCAA action April 13 in a doubleheader at Cal State Stanislaus.

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