Near Flawless

    Photo by Cory Wong
    Photo by Cory Wong

    UCSD saw their eleven game win streak snapped, but still win three out of four to defeat Cal State Stanislaus.

    Photo by Cory Wong
    Photo by Cory Wong

    On the road for the first time this season, the Triton softball team added three more wins to its sterling record this weekend against conference opponent Cal State Stanislaus. Despite a disappointing 6–1 defeat in the opener that ended its 11-game winning streak, UCSD   battled back with three straight victories to clinch the series.

    “To win three out of four games against any team in our conference is respectable,” UCSD head coach Patti Gerckens told the UCSD  Guardian. “Though it wasn’t our best, we won, and that’s all that matters.”

    Cal State Stanislaus took a decisive lead early on in the first game on Friday. The Warriors were able to score six runs in the bottom of the first before junior pitcher Hannah Duarte struck out their leadoff batter to end the opening onslaught. Duarte dug in for the next five innings, giving up only one hit for the remainder of the game, but the deficit from the first frame ultimately proved too much for the Tritons to overcome.

    UCSD  made its final attempt to even the score in the seventh inning—freshman outfielder  Kendall Baker scored off a throwing error, notching one run on the scoreboard for the Tritons. However, a fly-out ended the game for the blue and gold, marking its first conference loss of the year.

    After the tough start, the team entered the second game of Friday’s doubleheader with a new mindset.

    “Our goals were to make adjustments at the plate and play the way we know how to play instead of going down to the level of the opponent,” freshman second baseman Kendall Woken said.

    UCSD stacked up three runs in the third inning to take its first lead of the series  before junior second baseman McKenna Clewett increased the lead to four with a home run to left field in the fifth inning. Senior infielder Lauren Irish scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman outfielder Kelsi Maday in the sixth inning, posting one last run on the board for UCSD to secure a 5–0 shutout over the Warriors.

    UCSD returned to Warrior Softball Field on Saturday and clinched close wins in both games, taking game one 6–5 and game two 2–1.

    The Tritons gained an early lead in the first game on Saturday. Clewett scored the first run for the team in the first inning, and Woken’s grand slam home run in the fourth inning gave UCSD a 5–0 advantage.

    “My mentality going up to bat wasn’t to try and hit one over, but to get a base hit and score the runners,” Woken said.  “Of course after I realized the ball went over, I was beyond excited, and so was the rest of the team and the coaches.”

    Stanislaus responded with five runs of its own in the bottom of the fourth inning, but the Tritons re-established their lead in the sixth inning when a walk drawn by junior outfielder Taylor Abeyta pushed freshman third baseman Rachel Phillips home. Duarte gave up only one hit in the final two innings, effectively shutting the Warrior offense down to secure a 6–5 victory.

    “We did really well with battling back and coming back to the field even stronger after our first loss,” Baker said.

    UCSD earned the first run again in the final game of the series as Baker scored on a sacrifice fly by Clewett in the third inning. Stanislaus attempted to counter in the fifth inning, but two tag outs at home plate by UCSD shut down the Warriors’ effort. The Warriors managed to tie up the score in the next inning, however, with an unearned run off of a throwing error by Duarte.

    The Tritons responded with a clutch run by Phillips in the top of the seventh, securing the victory and the series for UCSD.

    While establishing a near-flawless start to the season, the Tritons will meet their greatest challenge yet this Friday and Saturday, as they face off against CCAA leader and No. 3 Cal State Monterey Bay. Friday’s doubleheader will begin at noon, while gameplay will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

    “We’re just out to compete,” Gerckens said. “There are no easy teams in our conference and we will have to compete every game in order to win.”

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