Swept Down the Stretch

     

    The UCSD softball team failed to clinch a place in the California Collegiate Athletics Association Championships after losing four straight games to No. 6 nationally ranked Humboldt State Friday and Saturday, April 19 and April 20 on the road.

    Humboldt State took an 11–5 win in the first game of the series on the back of left-fielder Dani Randall, who recorded three home runs in her four at-bats for six runs batted in. Randall’s unheard-of performance cut the game short after six innings by way of the mercy rule.

    UCSD deployed junior right-hander Jennifer Manuel (10–2) in the second game of the series, but the Lumberjacks still hit the junior ace up for two home runs, both from designated player Hannah Williams. With the score 4–2 up until the fourth inning, Humboldt State broke the game open in its next turn at the plate, recording four runs and securing the win.

    On account of the mercy rule, the third game also ended prematurely. The Tritons went ahead early on a three-run home run by freshman McKenna Clewett in the top of the second, but the lead was short-lived, as a home run from Williams and a triple from Randall put the Lumberjacks up 5–3. Humboldt ended the game in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four runs on five hits to take the 11–3 win.

    In the lowest-scoring bout of the series, the game remained tied 2–2 going into the bottom of the sixth until sophomore pitcher Michelle Escamilla loaded the bases. With two outs, Randall singled for two RBI and was brought home off a double from catcher Courtney Hiatt. UCSD head coach Patti Gerckens brought Manuel in to end the inning, but the Tritons were unable to recover from there.

    “I think our team worked very hard, and learned a lot from both them and ourselves this weekend and we’re going to keep working hard,” Manuel said in a phone interview.

    The Tritons — currently ranked second in the conference behind Humboldt State — will now look to face third-ranked Chico State. UCSD (21–11 in the CCAA) is just one game in front of the Wildcats (20–12 in the CCAA) and will need at least two wins to maintain its second-place seed heading into the four-team conference tournament.

    “It’s an important [series], but I feel like we’re ready and motivated to push harder and finish strong,” Manuel said.

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