Softball jumps out to 3-1 start in 2004

    The UCSD softball team opened its season on Jan. 31, sweeping a doubleheader against Cal Baptist, and finished the weekend by splitting a pair of games with crosstown rival University of San Diego.

    In the early game Jan. 31, the Tritons jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, which Triton sophomore first baseman Desiree Franciscus started off with a double. Senior shortstop Kim Aggabao followed with a single, and after successive walks to junior catcher Jamie Hurst and senior Jodie Bland, Franciscus scored.

    The Lancers regained the lead in the sixth, scoring two runs, but UCSD rallied back in the bottom half of the sixth by scoring three runs, topped off by junior left fielder Breanne Cope’s run-scoring double.

    “”We’ve really been working on our hitting, and it showed today,”” head coach Patti Gerckens said. “”It’s fun to watch an offensive game when it’s going your way; even our outs were solid hits.””

    Bland pitched a two-run complete game, allowing only four hits, giving her her first victory of the season.

    “”It was exciting to see the girls come back from being down in the sixth,”” Gerckens said.

    The Tritons were once again forced to come back from behind in the second game, when the Lancers roughed up freshman starting pitcher Tina Rowe for two quick runs in the third inning; but their lead was short-lived.

    The Tritons quickly answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the third, which started with a single by freshman Melanie Meurer. Senior third baseman Amy Mettee netted a walk, and Meurer and Mettee performed a double steal, setting up Aggabao for a two-RBI double.

    The Tritons put two more runs on the board when Franciscus started the fifth inning off with a single, which was followed by Aggabao’s first career home run, making the score 4-2.

    Cal Baptist started a comeback in the sixth inning but could only score one run, which was negated in the bottom of the sixth by sophomore rightfielder Niki Anderson’s own first career home run, putting the final score at 5-3.

    Rowe gained a victory in her first career appearance, giving up three runs and six hits in seven full innings.

    “”Both Jodie and Tina pitched great games. They had great control, and both showed confidence, and really got better as the game went on,”” Gerckens sad. “”And Jamie [Hurst] called two wonderful games behind the plate. These were two great wins to start off the season with.””

    The early game on Feb. 1 was one UCSD wishes it could forget, falling 11-0 at the hands of USD. The Toreros started the assault in the first inning, and continued into the fifth, when the game ended due to the eight-run rule. Bland suffered her first loss of the season, bringing her record to 1-1 on the year.

    “”It’s not good enough to just win one of the games in the series anymore,”” Gerckens said. “”We mentally broke down in the first game, and we can’t do well if our mental game breaks down, because physically we have the skills.””

    In a complete role reversal, UCSD steamrolled over USD in the second game by a score of 9-0, again ending the game in the fifth inning.

    “”There is nothing that wasn’t positive about the second game,”” Gerckens said. “”But if you beat a team that bad in the second game, you know you should have beaten them in the first.””

    Rowe pitched her second complete game, scored her first career shutout, and improved her record on the season to 2-0.

    “”Our team has the most heart out of any team in the league, and I think that’s what gets us our wins,”” Rowe said.

    The offensive sparks kept lighting for the Tritons, with nearly every starter getting at least one hit in the second game against USD.

    “”Offense showed up and did what it is expected to do,”” Gerckens said.

    Mettee and Aggabao once again led in offensive numbers, with Mettee going 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs, and Aggabao going 1-for-1 and adding both one run and one RBI.

    “”We would’ve liked to have gone 4-0 this weekend, but 3-1 is a great start. The competition will only get better, but this was a good way for us to learn what we need to work on,”” Gerckens said.

    The Tritons take the field once again this weekend, when they take on Cal State Bakersfield at Triton Softball Stadium for two games on Feb. 6, with one at 1 p.m. and another at 3 p.m. UCSD will play another doubleheader on Feb. 7 at home against Cal State Stanislaus, with games scheduled to start at noon and 2 p.m.

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