Tritons Pick Off Chico

    Tritons Pick Off Chico

    The Tritons take three out of four games against Chico State in their first conference series of the season

    In a commanding string of performances, the UCSD softball team claimed its first conference series win over Chico State University, Feb. 14 to Feb. 15.

    Winning three games out of the four-game series, the No. 13 nationally ranked Tritons improve to 8–2 overall and 3–1 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
    When asked about the weekend’s performance, UCSD head coach Patti Gerckens said she was pleased with the Tritons in their conference opener.

    “I think we played well overall, but we definitely weren’t at our best,” senior third-baseman Emily McQuaid said. “That being said, I think for not playing our best we still came away with a good result.”

    The series served as a coming-out party of sorts for sophomore pitcher Alexis Edwards. Edwards, who battled injury last season, pitched 13 innings for UCSD, earning two wins and was named the CCAA Pitcher of the Week for her performance. And now, 10 games into the season, Edwards (4–0) has an ERA of 0.88.

    “It’s very exciting for us,” Gerckens said of Edwards’ performance over the weekend. “Two nights for us she pretty much goes the distance, and I was very proud of her.”
    The Tritons will next face Cal State East Bay at home in a four-game series this Friday, Feb. 28.

    “East Bay’s always a tricky team, and they’re definitely capable of winning close games and taking the series,” McQuaid said. “But we’re looking forward to taking care of business this weekend.”

    Game 1, 2–0

    UCSD won the first game of the series on the mound. Going the distance, Edwards allowed just four hits in her seven innings, while the Tritons would do all of its scoring in the first inning.

    Leadoff hitter sophomore outfielder Callie Grant found herself on third after walking to get on base. Batting cleanup senior Caitlin Brown, who recorded 42 RBI last season, delivered again to score Grant. Next up redshirt freshman first-baseman Emma Schneider — UCSD’s current RBI leader — grounded out to move Brown over to second. Brown stole third and reached home on a Wildcat error.

    Although the Tritons recorded just three hits, UCSD had the chance to extend its lead in the third inning but left three men stranded on base.

    Game 2, 2–1

    In another low-scoring bout on Friday, the Tritons were just edged out by the Wildcats. Senior pitcher Jennifer Manuel — tasked to throw the first 5.1 innings — kept Chico scoreless through the first three innings. UCSD went up 1–0 in the bottom of the third off a Grant RBI that scored sophomore utility Amani Proctor.

    The Wildcats would return the favor in the top of the fourth, capitalizing on a Triton throwing error. Chico would score again in the fifth inning after loading the bases.

    Game 3, 4–0

    With Edwards back on the mound, UCSD shut out the Wildcats in the first game last Saturday.

    The Tritons took their time warming their bats, with the game remaining scoreless until the sixth inning. Grant opened up the inning with a triple to right field. Pinch hitter freshman Bianca Devoto and Brown both popped out, and so with two outs Schneider managed to walk. Pinch running for Schneider, senior Mya Romero stole second. With men on second and third, sophomore McKenna Clewett tripled to left-center to score Grant and Romero. Next up, senior outfielder Taylor Sepulveda tripled to right field to bring Clewett home before stealing home.

    Game 4, 10–4

    In the most dynamic game of the series, the Tritons came from behind, scoring six runs in the third inning to secure the series win.

    In the third inning, down 4–1, Proctor bunted to score McQuaid. Next up, Brown walked to load the bases, while pinch-hitter sophomore Alissa Gutierrez hit a sacrifice fly to bring in another runner. With two outs and men on second and third, Sepulveda came up with another big hit, singling to left field to score Proctor. The score now tied, UCSD continued to rally as sophomore catcher Katie Saunders scored another Triton off a single up the middle. Down 5–4, Chico brought in pitcher Ariel De Trinidad for damage control, but Romero would pick up another hit to put the Tritons up 6–4.

    “The six-running inning was huge for us,” Gerckens told the UCSD Athletics Department Saturday. “It really took their momentum away, and I thought they really did a great job.”

    UCSD continued to light up Chico’s pitchers, scoring four more runs, while sophomore right-hander Hannah Duarte and Manuel teamed up to shut the Wildcats out through the remainder.

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