Sofball Team Sputters Against Humboldt

SOFTBALL — With only three series remaining in the California Collegiate Athletic Association regular season, UCSD entered its final four-game series against Humboldt State University last week. The Tritons were looking to solidify their spot at the conference playoffs — only possible if they could hold onto a No. 3 or No. 4 conference ranking. However, after a series split at Humboldt, the Tritons’ seat in the playoffs remains a questions mark.

“The pressure is on now with each game,” senior captain Nicole Saari said. “We need to bring our A-game every time.”

Game One of the first doubleheader took place on Friday. The Tritons jumped out to an early lead: In the second inning, junior outfielder Rhiannon Ousley scored on junior infielder Jennifer De Fazio’s double to make UCSD first on the board. Buoyed by junior centerfielder Kris Lesovsky, who went three-for-four with two scores and two runs batted in, the Tritons tacked on four more runs.

Triton defense was tight as well, only allowing the Lumberjacks one run throughout the entire game — despite the fact that sophomore pitcher Camille Gaito’s allowed eight hits.

In the second game, after four scoreless innings, the Tritons took the lead thanks to junior outfielder Katrin Gabriel, who stole home.

Unfortunately, Gabriel was the only Triton to cross home plate: Lumberjack freshman pitcher Vaneza Hoover held strong over seven innings, allowing only the one run. The Lumberjacks then managed two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning against Triton sophomore pitcher Tess Granath, and evened the series with a 2-1 win.

Saari said the Tritons’ offense was fatally shaky heading into the second doubleheader.

“We need to be consistent offensively and continue to score,” Saari said. “Our defense is solid.”

Game One of Saturday’s doubleheader was largely uneventful through the early innings, but exploded with life later on. At the top of the fifth inning, with the score tied 1-1, junior infielder Sarah Woofter scored a game-changing run thanks to Spangler’s RBI single — putting the Tritons in the lead. The Tritons pushed two more runs to the plate while the Lumberjacks only squeezed one out.

In the sixth inning, UCSD extended its lead with three more runs. Gabriel scored off Ousley’s single, and Saari and Woofter were batted in by Spangler, who went three-for-four from the plate.

On the defensive side, Gaito posted an 1.83 earned run average and struck out 13 Lumberjack hitters, shutting down Humboldt for the last two innings and securing the 7-2 Triton win.

However, the team was unable to stay on top in the fourth game and had already allowed a two-run Humboldt lead by the end of the first inning. The Tritons lacked the stamina they showed in the game before, and — coming through for only one late run in the sixth inning — they lost 5-1.

Head coach Patti Gerckens noted the team’s inability to score in the latter halves of both doubleheaders.

“Our bats came alive in the first game of each day,” Gerckens said. “But they were quiet in the second game.”

The Tritons’ series split against Humboldt makes their upcoming games even more important. Their series against Cal State Monterey Bay — from April 16 to April 17 — and Cal State San Bernardino — from April 23 to April 24 — will determine whether or not UCSD plays in the CCAA Championship Tournament, which takes place in Stockton, Calif., from April 30 to May 2.

“We just need to keep focusing on the little things,” Gerckens said. “Do routine plays, stay calm and have composure during pressure situations.”

UCSD currently stands in third place in the CCAA with a 27-15 overall record and 17-11 in conference. The upcoming series against Cal State Monterey Bay on April 16 and April 17 will be UCSD’s last home play of the regular season.

Readers can contact Yvonne Chow at [email protected].