Softball takes three of four over weekend

    UCSD won three of its four games this past weekend, splitting a doubleheader on March 5 with San Francisco State and sweeping Sonoma State for two on March 6 at Triton Softball Field.

    The Tritons started off the doubleheader against San Francisco State with a heartbreaking loss in the first game on March 5, a 1-0 defeat. Senior starter Jodie Bland once again suffered a difficult loss, bringing her season record to 5-6, despite a complete game performance and the fact that the only run of the game was unearned.

    Unfortunately for Bland, UCSD offered her little run support, scrapping out only two hits for the game, which came from sophomore first baseman Desiree Franciscus and freshman centerfielder Brittni Carino.

    “Jodie pitched awesome, she pitched as well as Kelley Bryant [junior starting pitcher], but this is something that we’re working on — the mental part of the first game,” head coach Patti Gerckens said. “We just don’t score any runs, and then come back in the second game and rack up the runs. It’s just not fair.”

    For all the offensive difficulty the Tritons had in the first game, their bats exploded in the second game, as they easily handed the Gators an 8-1 loss. Senior third baseman Amy Mettee started off the game in style with a leadoff home run, her third overall on the season. The Tritons scored two more in the first inning, as freshman designated player Melanie Muerer was knocked in on a double by junior catcher Jamie Hurst, who scored later in the inning herself.

    The floodgates opened in the fifth inning as junior leftfielder Breanne Cope, Muerer, senior shortstop Kim Aggabao, Hurst and Franciscus all provided insurance runs to give the Tritons their eight total.

    “In the second game, Amy started it off with a home run, and we just went from there,” Gerckens said. “Kelley pitched an incredible game, and I’m proud of her; she’s doing a great job. It’s our offense that is having problems; we either don’t score any runs, or we score a lot. We need to learn to continually perform in pressure situations. In that first game, we should have scored at least one run.”

    Bryant earned her first victory of the season, throwing a complete game and only giving up one unearned run. The victory improved her record on the year to 1-1.

    “We had strong defense. I had a lot of confidence with my teammates behind me,” Bryant said. “I feel like I can let the batters hit it and my defense will take care of the rest.”

    UCSD’s bats didn’t cool off overnight, as they immediately sprung back into action for the first game on March 6 against Sonoma State, winning 9-1 in six innings.

    Bryant once again threw a complete game and earned another victory, bringing her record to 2-1 on the season.

    “Our pitching staff is doing their job. It’s great to see Kelley step up; she pitched two completely great games this weekend,” Gerckens said.

    The Tritons’ offensive charge was led by Hurst, who went two-for-four and scored twice, once on her two-run home run, evoking the mercy rule in the sixth inning. Her two-run bomb was her third of the season. She was joined by Cope, who provided a three-run home run in the fifth inning, her fourth of the season.

    UCSD scored six in the fifth inning, including Cope, Aggabao, Franciscus, Hurst, sophomore rightfielder Niki Anderson and Bland. Aggabao went 2-for-3, and scored twice, while sophomore rightfielder Niki Anderson went 1-for-2 and scored once, while knocking in two runs.

    “We’re playing really strong as a team,” Cope said. “We can’t win with individuals, it’s a team effort … that’s what I attribute our success to. We’re playing really well together,”

    The Tritons once again bested the Seawolves in the nightcap on March 6, with a score of 6-3.

    Bland got her due, throwing a complete game, and only giving up one earned run. She improved her record to 6-6 on the season, and was helped by some much needed run support.

    Mettee again started the game with a leadoff home run, her fourth of the year. Sonoma State jumped out to a short-lived lead in the third, making it 3-1, but UCSD responded with two runs of its own in the third. Hurst doubled to score Aggabao, who singled, and then Bland hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Hurst from third base.

    Cope doubled to start the fourth, and scored on a Muerer single. Hurst provided a single that scored Mettee, who singled earlier to get on. In the sixth, Cope came through again, netting a single that scored Bland. For the day, Cope was 3-for-3, with a run and an RBI, while Hurst went 2-for-3 and scored one while bringing in two. Mettee also went 2-for-3, scoring twice and knocking in one.

    “We worked a lot on hitting in the fall, and it’s paid off,” Gerckens said. “But I still think we win or lose with defense. Our offense is working, but they shouldn’t have scored as many runs as they did, even if it’s only four runs. However, for now, as long as we score a lot of runs, we can get away with it.”

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