Triton Offense Struggles Against SFSU

    Triton Offense Struggles Against SFSU

    UCSD faces tough pitching on the road in disappointing four-game series split 


    Entering the weekend as the No. 15 squad in the nation, the UCSD women’s softball team went a disappointing 2–2 this past Friday and Saturday in its California Collegiate Athletic Association series against conference bottom-dwellers San Francisco State at SFSU Softball Field. After the four-game split, the Tritons dropped to a tie with Cal State Monterey Bay for first in CCAA standings with a 19–5 record in league action.

    “It was a very disappointing weekend,” UCSD head coach Patti Gerckens said. “We definitely had planned and hoped to sweep San Francisco, but you give them credit: They played very, very well.”

    In the first matchup of the series, the Tritons fell 1–0 as the Gators served UCSD its first shutout of the season. The Tritons faced ace pitching as SFSU’s Megan Clark threw a complete game shutout and held UCSD to only a pair of hits in total. Sophomore outfielder Callie Grant recorded the Tritons’ two hits but was stranded in scoring position in both instances.

    “It’s a lot of frustration, mostly, when bats can’t be put together and when hits can’t be strung together,” Grant told the Guardian.

    Coming off of a 5–0 record in last week’s Tournament of Champions, sophomore left-handed pitcher Alexis Edwards (17–4) took the loss despite only allowing three hits and one earned run through six frames.

    Edwards surrendered the game’s lone run off of a single followed by a two-out double in the third inning.

    “The offense just didn’t perform as well as we wanted it to and as well as it usually does,” Edwards said. “It’s hard to get the loss, but we won the next game, so it made up for it.”

    After the hard-luck loss, the Tritons rebounded with a 3–1 victory in the second contest of the Friday doubleheader with SFSU.

    Senior outfielder Kirsten Willmon opened the scoring in the top of the second inning with a single run batted in, but the Gators responded with a run of their own in the bottom half, erasing the Tritons’ 1–0 advantage.

    With the game tied at one each, UCSD turned in two runs off of a bases-loaded sixth inning. A Gator error drove in the first run before sophomore outfielder Alissa Gutierrez recorded a sacrifice-fly RBI to put the Tritons up 3–1.

    The pair of runs in the sixth inning counted as enough to give senior right-handed pitcher Jennifer Manuel (6–4) a complete game win. Manuel allowed six hits and one earned run in her first complete game of the season. Senior first-baseman Caitlin Brown was the only Triton to finish with a multi-hit performance with two hits.

    On Saturday, UCSD opened the second half of the series with a 8–2 routing of the Gators. The Tritons opened the game with a three-run first inning off of three hits and one Gator error. UCSD continued to drive in runs, plating four more in the second frame. Four separate Tritons recorded RBIs in the second inning haul.

    “We felt much better to be able to actually produce those runs,” Grant said. “Everyone was hitting well, and it felt normal. The [previous] two games were quite strange.”

    The Tritons batted in one more run in the seventh inning to secure the victory. Edwards recorded the win, pitching for four innings — finishing with two earned runs and five hits allowed — before Manuel relieved the sophomore to close out the game with three scoreless frames.

    In the final contest of the series, the Tritons battled with SFSU in an extra-inning battle only to surrender a walk-off, 2–1 win to the Gators in the 13th frame.

    The Tritons took an early lead in the top of the first inning as Brown doubled in Grant for a 1–0 start. Manuel kept SFSU scoreless through five innings before allowing a one-out double to bat in the tying run during the sixth inning. Edwards was called in for relief and would remain in for the rest of the game.

    After the 1–1 tie, both squads were shut down for the next 6.5 innings, until the Tritons finally fell via a two-out Gator single to give Edwards her fourth loss of the season. The Gators’ Clark lasted the entirety of the 13 innings to earn her second complete game win of the series.

    “I really felt like we made the adjustments on Megan Clark [going into the game], but then she just shut us down,” Gerckens said. “She was in command. [At] the end of the day, someone’s got to win, and they did it.”

    Grant finished with a team-high three hits on five at bats. Brown ended with a pair of hits and UCSD’s only RBI of the marathon contest.

    With the weekend split behind them, the Tritons will hope to reclaim sole possession of the CCAA’s top spot as they travel to Humboldt State for their final road series before conference championships. The four-game series will be split up into two doubleheaders starting on Friday, April 18 and concluding on Saturday, April 19.

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