Tritons Ready to Return to Postseason

The Tritons had a tough finish to last season, falling out of contention for the conference tournament on the penultimate day of the regular season. UCSD came into a four-game series in fourth place in the standings, but a split of the games with Cal State San Bernardino eliminated both squads.

UCSD finished the year with a 30-20 record and in sixth place in the conference, a disappointment after making the NCAA West Regional Tournament every year since 2007. Head coach Patti Gerckens and her squad will look to get back on track this spring.

“Last year, I think we put ourselves in a must-win position at the end of the year and we didn’t get the w’s,” senior shortstop Sarah Woofter said. “This year, I think we are going to win a ton more games and be in a position where we can be relaxed at the end. I do believe strongly that we will make the postseason and we will go far this year.”

The Tritons return six field starters and two pitchers, giving the team a line-up card very similar to last season’s. All-American center fielder Kris Lesovsky — the program’s all-time batting average leader at .446 — returns for her senior season. Lesovsky led the Tritons in every major offensive category last season, when she hit .413 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI.

All-American Camille Gaito and junior Tess Granath will lead the Tritons from the rubber this year, as Gaito looks to continue her form from last season, when she went 18-10 with a .96 ERA. Granath, a junior, is the only other Triton pitcher that has started a game for UCSD, and will try to build on the 2010 season that saw her go 4-4 with a 2.82 ERA.

UCSD will have to fill the hole left by graduated catcher Nicole Saari, who made two All-West region squads and the All-CCAA first team last year.

On their opening weekend, the Tritons went 5-1 thanks to some strong pitching by Gaito and Granath. The Tritons played a doubleheader against Notre Dame de Namur on Friday, followed by a pair of doubleheaders against Colorado School of Mines on Saturday and Sunday.

“Tess [Granath] and Camille [Gaito] have been very strong on the mound,” Gerckens said. “Their pitches are working, they have great composure and that’s been a highlight for us.”

Against NDNU, the Tritons took the first game of the season easily with an 8-0 win. Granath tossed a one-hit shutout and freshman Mya Romero went 3-3 with two doubles and a triple in her first game as a Triton. The second game was a much closer affair, with Lesovsky getting a walk-off single in the ninth inning to seal the win.

The Tritons only allowed three runs in four games against CSM, but came out ahead in three of the four games. Gaito led the Tritons in the first game, throwing six scoreless innings to get a 5-1 win. Granath threw a gem of her own in the second game, but couldn’t get any run support until freshman Esther Storm brought home the winning run in the eighth inning to end the game 1-0.

UCSD suffered its first loss of the season in the first game on Sunday, despite Granath surrendering just one run in the 1-0 game. The Tritons bounced back in the second game of the day as Gaito threw a complete game four-hitter.

“We made a statement as a team for this year without even performing at our highest potential,” Woofter said. “Our pitchers did an extremely good job on the mound. As for our hitting, it wasn’t as strong as it will be in the future. But it just goes to show you that this is going to be a great year.”

The Tritons kick off their conference schedule with a game against San Francisco State on Friday. First pitch will be at 1 p.m. at Triton Softball Field.

Readers can contact Liam Rose at [email protected]


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