UCSD Softball Falls in Title Game

    Even with the regular season title under their belt, the conference tournament was never going to be easy for the No. 8 Tritons, and two duels between the aces narrowly tipped in favor of the Seawolves as the Tritons finished as runner-ups in the CCAA Championships.

    UCSD 2, CSU Dominguez Hills 0

    The top-seeded Tritons faced fourth-seeded Cal State Dominguez Hills in their first game of the CCAA championships.

    Senior Kris Lesovsky put the Tritons up in their first at bat, with a leadoff solo home run to left field.

    Leading 1-0, the Tritons held Dominguez Hills, ending the first inning with a double play started by senior third baseman Sarah Woofter. Woofter caught the Toro runner at second, where senior second baseman Jennifer De Fazio threw to first to make the out.

    Gaito (26-2) — recently named conference pitcher of the week for the fourth time this season, while also garnering All-CCAA top pitcher honors — retired the next six batters. Gaito allowed the Toros only two hits in the game.

    Mya Romero — the CCAA Freshman of the Year — hit a triple in the third and was brought home by a single by freshman Caitlin Brown, putting the Tritons up 2-0.

    With the win, the Tritons advanced to the winner’s bracket of the CCAA tournament.

    Sonoma State 5, UCSD 2

    The Tritons’ second game of the CCAA tournament pitted the conference’s top two pitchers against each other: Gaito (26-3) and Sonoma’s Lippard (24-8).

    In just her third loss of the season, Gaito went the distance but allowed 14 hits.  Conversely, Lippard allowed only three hits while also striking out four Tritons.

    The two pitchers kept the game scoreless until the fourth inning when Ali Palermo homered to left field to put the Seawolves up 1-0.

    UCSD responded in their next at bat. With two outs, senior Rhiannon Ousley doubled to right field to bring Brown in to score. Ousley advanced to third on a wild pitch, and was brought home by a single from Taylor Sepulveda.

    The Tritons would only record one hit in their remaining at bats, while Sonoma would tack on four more runs to take the win.

    UCSD 6, CSU Dominguez Hills 2

    After dropping the game against Sonoma State, the Tritons fell into the elimination game for a rematch against Cal State Dominguez Hills.

    The Tritons took the early lead against the Toros. In the second inning, UCSD took advantage of a pair of Toro errors to go up 4-0. With Lyndsay Gaylord — pinch-running for Brown — on third and Woofter on first, Taylor Sepulveda bunted.  All three Tritons made their way home off throwing errors made by the Toro catcher and second baseman.

    Dominguez was able to recover two runs to put the game at 5-2 in the fifth inning. But UCSD wrapped up the game with a solo home run from Woofter in the seventh.

    Freshman pitcher Jennifer Manuel (3-4) allowed only four hits in her 4.2 innings.

    “We scored early and did what we needed to on the field,” assistant coach Jessica Millsap said.  [Manuel] gave us a strong start and Gaito closed it down. It was a great game, the team looked great against Dominguez. We had a rough loss against Sonoma, but the girls really showed their character and heart in the elimination game.”

    Sonoma State 1, UCSD 0

    In a rematch between aces Gaito and Lippard, one swing of the bat decided the conference champion as the Seawolves’ Rochelle Vanyi launched a second-inning home run that proved to be decisive.

    Both pitchers went the distance, and both turned in sparkling performances. Lippard pitched a complete-game no-hitter, although she did allow six walks and hit two batters. Gaito allowed five hits, but it was the deep ball that counted and gave Sonoma the title.

    With a 22-10 conference record–the best in the program’s history — the Tritons captured the regular season title. UCSD also had four Tritons named to the All-Conference team — Gaito, Romero, Lesovsky and Woofter.

    The Tritons are ranked first in the West Region, and are likely to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Sonoma receives an automatic bid for winning the CCAA title.

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