Brushed Back

    After a promising start, with a preseason sweep against Western Oregon and a series win against Cal State San Bernardino, the Tritons dropped five of their six games last weekend at the NCFA Division II Leadoff Tournament in Tucson, Ariz.

    UCSD has since dropped from the No. 2 spot, out of the NCAA Division-II national rankings.

    On Friday, Feb. 15, the Tritons fell to both No. 8 Augustana 4–11 and Southeastern Oklahoma State 1–2. UCSD picked up its only win of the tournament on Saturday against No. 6 Minnesota State Mankato — a squad they faced at last season’s College World Series — after losing to 8–0 to Central Oklahoma. The Tritons lost their last pair of games on Sunday, against unranked Missouri-St. Louis 1–11 and Regis 2–7.

    UCSD returns to conference play this Friday through Saturday, Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 at home, with a four-game series against Sonoma State.

    GAME 1: No. 8 Augustana 11, No. 2 UCSD 4

    Sophomore Taylor Sepulveda went 3-for-4, with two runs scored, but the remainder of UCSD Head Coach Patti Gerckens’ squad clearly struggled at the plate. Big hitters, junior Caitlin Brown and senior Nicole Spangler both went 1-for-2, but failed to bring any one across the plate.

    Gerckens went through three pitchers on Friday, sending sophomore Kayla Hensel to start. Hensel — last week’s CCAA Pitcher of the Week — had a tough 1.5 innings, giving up eight runs on just eight hits. Hensel was relieved by freshman Alexis Edwards, who was commissioned for the next three innings, allowing just two hits and keeping Augustana off the board.

    In her first game back from injury, senior Jennifer Manuel was brought in to finish, giving up three runs on four hits.

    GAME 2: Southeastern Oklahoma State 2, No. 2 UCSD 1

    UCSD earned its only run of the game in the top of the seventh, as junior Dyanna Imoto doubled to left field to score freshman Amani Proctor. But the Tritons could not hold on to the advantage in the final frame of the game. Southeastern Oklahoma State came from behind in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the win. The Savage Storm laid down two squeeze bunts to go home with a tight 2–1 win.

    Sophomore righthander Michelle Escamilla (1–3) went the distance in UCSD’s second game on Friday, giving up just four hits for two runs.

    GAME 3: No. 16 Central Oklahoma 8, No. 2 UCSD 0

    Central Oklahoma converted eight of its nine hits, while the Tritons stranded eight men on base in their 8–0 loss.

    Central Oklahoma went up 3–0 in the first 0.2 innings, off a two run double from Nicole Workman and an RBI from Sam Cool.

    Gerckens pulled Escamillia before the first inning finished in favor of Edwards, who only pitched 3.1 innings, as the game ended early on account of the Mercy Rule.

    GAME 4: No. 2 UCSD 2, No. 6 Minnesota State Mankato 1

    A pair of Triton freshman carried the UCSD offense to their first and only win of the tournament last Saturday.

    Freshman Katie Saunders recorded her first career homerun to put UCSD up early, while freshman Callie Grant was brought home to score the game-winner off a single from Spangler.

    Against the Mavericks, Hensel returned to form, going seven straight innings and giving up just three hits.

    GAME 5: Missouri-St. Louis 11, No. 2 UCSD 1

    The Tritons committed eight errors, while only managing three hits in their 11–1 defeat by Missouri-St. Louis.

    UMSL recorded only eight hits, but capitalized on UCSD’s untimely errors.

    Missouri-St. Louis picked up five runs in the first inning, and did not let off the gas throughout.

    GAME 6: Regis 7, No. 2 UCSD 2

    The Tritons fell to the 1–10 Regis Rangers in their last game to close out the NCFA Tournament.

    The Rangers went up 3–0 in the bottom of the second and sealed the win in the third inning off a grand slam by Rachel Illias.

    Grant was the only Triton to record multiple hits against the Rangers, going 2-for-4 and recording two RBI. Hensel takes the loss, pitching all seven frames, allowing 10 hits.

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