Softball Sweeps Stanislaus and Overtakes Second Place in CCAA

     

    The UCSD softball team slated its second series sweep of the season last week against bottom-of-the-conference Cal State Stanislaus. With the four conference wins, UCSD has leapfrogged Sonoma State — when the Seawolves lost three games to Humboldt State — to take second place in the California Collegiate Athletics Association conference standings. The Tritons are now 21–7 in the CCAA, two games behind first-place Humboldt State (23–5 in the CCAA, 36–12 overall) with two series left to play in the regular season.

    In their first game on Friday, the Tritons won by their largest margin of the season in an 11–1 victory over the Warriors to take the second leg of the doubleheader 11–3. Saturday’s games were closer, but not by much. The Tritons won 9–3 and then 6–3 in the final game of the series. Four of UCSD’s pitchers — junior pitcher Jennifer Manuel, freshman Hannah Duarte, senior Michelle Escamilla and sophomore Kayla Hensel — earned a win in the conference series.

    “I think everyone played strong and we came out as a team against Stanislaus,” Manuel said. “We just counted on each other, and everything just sort of came together.”

    Next up, the Tritons will have their hands full when they face last week’s Worth/CCAA Pitcher of the Week, Humboldt freshman Katie Obbema. Offensively, the Lumberjacks seem to be firing on all cylinders, recording six home runs in their last four games, one hit by Chrissy Stalf, leading the conference with 20 home runs on the season.

    But the Tritons seem to be peaking at the right point in their season. After a rocky start, UCSD has now strung together two series sweeps, punctuated by a silver-bracket win at the Mizuno Tournament of Champions. Furthermore, the Tritons now have recovered all of their players from the disabled list, as freshman ace Alexis Edwards, leading the league in ERA, returns to the roster. Redshirt sophomore Taylor Sepulveda went 7-for-16 at the plate, while junior Caitlin Brown and senior Nicole Spangler both went 6-for-14. Brown also recorded seven runs batted in over the course of the four games.

    The top of the table will face off this weekend as UCSD takes on Humboldt State this Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20 in Arcata, Calif. The Tritons then have one final regular season series against Chico State on the road before the four-team conference tournament. UCSD — the reigning conference champions — will then take part in the conference tournament May 3 to May 5 at Arnaiz Stadium in Stockton, Calif.

    When asked about UCSD’s prospects at the CCAA Tournament, Manuel said that the Tritons have a shot at defending their title.

    “I think we have a very strong chance — we just have to keep playing our game.” Manuel said.

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