Softball sweeps Slugs, split with Toros

    After losing in extra innings to open a four-game weekend road trip, the UCSD softball squad bounced back and won three in a row. They split the two-game series with Cal State Dominguez Hills on Feb. 28 (2-3, 6-0) and swept Cal State San Bernardino on Feb. 29 (12-7, 10-9).

    Carina Weber
    Guardian file

    In the opener, the Tritons found themselves locked in a pitcher’s duel spearheaded by undefeated freshman Tina Rowe. Rowe seemed to get all of the support she would need in the top of the sixth inning as sophomore Jenny Spencer and sophomore Desiree Franciscus each had RBI singles to score the game’s first two runs. The score remained 2-0 into the bottom of the seventh, with UCSD coming one out from victory. But two hits and an error proved to be the Tritons’ undoing, as Cal State Dominguez Hills tied the score at two and forced the game into extra innings.

    Franciscus was then given the thankless task of relief in a game the Tritons thought they had won. She walked three in the first extra frame, including walking in the winning run with the bases loaded, and Cal State Dominguez Hills finished their emotional comeback.

    UCSD exacted revenge in the nightcap, exploding for six runs to back the four-hit shutout performance of senior pitcher Jodie Bland. Freshman Melanie Meurer broke through first for the Tritons with a towering home run to center in the top of the fifth. The game remained tight until the seventh, when UCSD scored five runs on three hits, with sophomore outfielder Niki Anderson and junior outfielder Breanne Cope each collecting a pair of RBI in the inning. Franciscus led the way with four total hits in the two game series, with Cope contributing three in the final game.

    The next days’ contests saw the Tritons put up 22 total runs in two games and still barely outdistance Cal State San Bernardino, which scored 16 runs.

    The first game saw senior third baseman Amy Mettee hit a three-run homer in a four-run third inning. The round-tripper was the highlight of Mettee’s five-RBI day, and was her first of the year. Senior Kim Aggabao and junior Jamie Hurst had three hits apiece. UCSD’s only hit for extra bases was courtesy of the Mettee blast, but the lack of power was made up for in stolen bases and sketchy defense by Cal State San Bernardino. Bland was on the mound for the long haul, working through seven tough innings for her fifth win of the year.

    The back half of the doubleheader was a see-saw battle with plenty of big innings and runs. Meurer and Mettee each collected their second homers in as many days and Anderson, Aggabao, Cope and Franciscus rapped two hits apiece to lead the offense. UCSD jumped on the scoreboard in the top half of the first inning with two runs, but Cal State San Bernardino countered with two of their own in the bottom of the second. Then both teams broke out the big sticks, with Cal State San Bernardino scoring five in the bottom of the fourth only to give up four in the top of the sixth. UCSD was up two entering the bottom of the seventh and barely escaped after the Coyotes rallied to cut the lead to the final 10-9 score.

    By the end of the weekend, the Tritons had bumped their record to 13-7 overall, and 9-5 in California Collegiate Athletic Conference play, good enough for third place in the conference.

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