Softball drops out of first place

    UCSD split a doubleheader against nonconference opponent Azusa Pacific University on Feb. 19 at Triton Softball Stadium, and dropped a pair of games against Grand Canyon on Feb. 21 in Arizona.

    The Tritons dropped the opener in a doubleheader against Azusa by a score of 11-5, with the Cougars knocking out senior starting pitcher Jodie Bland after two innings. Sophomore Desiree Franciscus pitched five innings of relief but Bland’s seven earned runs were enough for the loss, bringing her record to 3-4.

    Though UCSD was unable to pull out a victory, their offense was boosted by junior outfielder Breanne Cope, who hammered a home run and went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI. Senior third baseman Amy Mettee also provided a pair of hits and scored a run, while senior shortstop Kim Aggabao scored a run and netted an RBI, going 1-3.

    The Tritons had another strong offensive performance in the second game against Azusa, and this time, coupled with a now almost expected stellar performance by freshman starting pitcher Tina Rowe, UCSD pulled out a 7-3 victory. Rowe pitched her seventh straight complete game victory, bringing her flawless record to 7-0 on the season.

    Cope once again led the Tritons’ offense with a three-run blast in the fifth inning, her third of the season and second of the doubleheader. Sophomore outfielder Jenny Spencer smacked a home run in the second to put UCSD ahead, 1-0. The Tritons’ put together five hits in the fourth to yield three more runs. Other offensive highlights included sophomore outfielder Niki Anderson going 2-3 with two runs scored, and first baseman Bland, who scored twice and went 1-3. Junior catcher Jamie Hurst and Aggabao knocked in the other two runs for the Tritons.

    UCSD did not fare as well in its two-game set against Grand Canyon, losing the first game by a score of 8-7. Rowe finally proved herself human, being chased out of the game after only two innings of work.

    The Tritons’ bats showed up to keep the game close and they managed to knock out the Antelopes ace Kristen Swetel, who up to this point had only allowed one run this season. UCSD was able to score six runs off Swetel in four innings of work, with the offensive charge being led by Hurst, who went 3-3 and snagged three RBI.

    Game two of the doubleheader was a heartbreaker for the Tritons, who finished on the short end of a 1-0 ballgame. Bland only allowed one run and netted a pair of hits as well, but Grand Canyon scored its lone run on a passed ball that sneaked past Hurst. This loss brought Bland’s record to 3-5 on the season.

    “This was a tough weekend to be sure,” UCSD head coach Patti Gerckens said. “We had some very hard losses, but I will find out how good our team is by how fast we bounce back from them.”

    UCSD dropped to 10-6 overall, and 6-4 in the CCAA, giving up their tie for first place with rival UC Davis. The team will find itself back in action on Feb. 27 against Cal State Dominguez Hills.

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