UCSD Begins Season With Four-Game Sweep

    UCSD Begins Season With Four-Game Sweep

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    The Tritons opened their 2014 season with four wins in a four-game series against Western Oregon University Feb. 1 to Feb. 2. On the first day of the series, the Tritons took back-to-back, walk-off victories, thanks largely to a strong offensive performance. The following day, the Tritons completed its sweep as UCSD repeated its success at bat while the pitching staff kept the Wolves at bay.

    UCSD continued its 18-game homestand with a doubleheader against California Baptist University last Wednesday, Feb. 5 splitting the two-game series.

    “It was a really great start to the season,” senior outfielder Kirsten Willmon said. “We had great performances up and down the lineup.”

    Willmon was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 2. Willmon led the Triton offense against Western Oregon, racking up nine hits, a double, a triple, 12 total bases, five runs scored and a .646 batting average in the four consecutive victories over the Wolves.

    “Getting selected for Player of the Week was really exciting,” Willmon said. “I’ve never been selected before, and it’s a great honor.”

    Despite the offensively driven performances featured over the weekend, the first game started with strong pitching from both teams. The first run wasn’t recorded until the fifth inning, when Western Oregon pulled ahead by three. The end of the sixth inning had the game tied at 3–3 after the Triton offense mounted a comeback in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Alexis Edwards shutout the Wolves on the mound in the top of the seventh and an RBI triple from Willmon gave the Tritons a 4–3 walk-off win in the bottom.

    In the second game, UCSD’s 11–3 win in the afternoon was cut short in the sixth inning via the mercy rule. Again, the Tritons managed a walk-off as redshirt freshman, first base Emma Schneider sent the ball out of the park to bring in two runs.

    The Tritons came out hot in Sunday’s first game, finding success early after senior catcher Caitlin Brown hit in Willmon early in the game. The Tritons maintained their lead throughout the game and freshman pitcher Alayna Brenman threw two, scoreless frames to end the game 6–2.

    Sophomore right-handed pitcher Hannah Duarte started the fourth and final game of the series for UCSD on the mound by throwing three straight shutout innings and was credited with the win after pitching four. Triton bats racked up 14 hits in game four to win 9–4 and improved their total to 27 hits in all four games.

    Against California Baptist the following weekend, Brenman pitched all seven frames of the first game against the Lancers, allowing only one run on four hits. Schneider, sophomore outfielder Callie Grant, Willmon and Brown all landed hits off CBU, scoring four runs for the Tritons in the 3–1 win.

    CBU took the lead early in game two with four runs scored in the first inning. Sophomore catcher Katie Saunders hit a solo homer to center, putting UCSD up by one in the second frame, but the offense would only produce one more run for the remainder of the game. UCSD had 13 hits in the loss but were unable to score enough batters to come back from the early deficit.

    The Tritons continue their homestand with a four-game series against Chico State to kick off conference play. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Feb. 14 for games one and two. A doubleheader on Saturday will close out the series starting at 10 a.m.

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