Softball Splits on the Road

    Photo by Cory Wong
    Photo by Cory Wong

    Tritons starts the series off strong by winning the first two games, but suffers two crushing defeats in Saturday’s double-header.

    Photo by Cory Wong
    Photo by Cory Wong

    The Triton softball team traveled up to Hayward, California this weekend for its final regular season road series against California Collegiate Athletic Association No. 8 team Cal State East Bay. The big blue had a strong showing in Friday’s doubleheader, mercy ruling the Pioneers 10–0 in game one and triumphing 2–1 in extra innings in game two. However, UCSD found trouble in Saturday’s games, falling 5–2 in game one and getting mercy ruled 8–0 in game two.

    The Tritons’ record fell to 24–22 overall and 14–18 in league play, good for seventh in the conference, while Cal State East Bay improves to 25–22 overall and 13–19 in the CCAA.

    The Triton team dominated on the field and at the plate in game one, crushing the Pioneers with a 10-run shutout victory. Junior lefty Alexis Edwards had a stellar performance in the circle, giving up only one hit for the duration of the game and then shutting down three of four batters in the bottom of the fifth to close the game.

    A base hit by freshman second-baseman Kendall Baker started UCSD off strong in the first inning. Sophomore first-baseman Emma Schneider then stepped up to the plate and blasted a two-run homer over the center-field fence, giving her team an early lead.

    “I try to stay relaxed by thinking of all the successes I’ve previously had,” Schneider told the UCSD Guardian. “It helps me remind myself that I know how to do what needs to be done, so I should I have no problem doing it.”

    UCSD struck again in the second inning, with junior outfielder Taylor Abeyta scoring off a throwing error by the Pioneers’ catcher and third baseman Rachel Phillips scoring when Baker reached on a fielding error by third base. The Tritons made their final offensive attack in the fifth — an RBI single by freshman outfielder Kelsi Maday and an RBI double by freshman catcher Lauren Sanders notched up two more runs on the board. Then, with the bases loaded, sophomore pinch-hitter Ashley Chestnut hit her first grand slam past center field to seal the win.

    The blue and gold found success again in extra innings in game two. The Pioneers put up the first run off an RBI single in the third, but UCSD came back to level the score in the bottom of the sixth. After Baker reached on a fielder’s choice, Schneider came up big at the plate again, hitting a double to right field to score Baker and even the score at 1–1.

    The next three innings proved to be a defensive battle — Cal State East Bay held UCSD to just three base hits until the top of the 10th inning, when sophomore designated player Bianca Devoto scored the winning run off a shot to left-center field by Sanders. Edwards then went on to shut down three of five batters in the bottom of the 10th to secure the win for the Tritons.

    In Saturday’s game one, UCSD once again got off to a strong start, earning the first run of the game when Devoto doubled to score Baker in the top of the third. The lead didn’t hold for long though — with one runner aboard after drawing a walk, Pioneer senior outfielder Jaynie MacDonald hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to pull East Bay into the lead. An RBI double in the fifth followed by runs by senior outfielder Kelsey LaVaute and seniordesignated player Brittany Enny in the sixth then increased the Tritons’ deficit to four.

    UCSD attempted to rally back in the seventh: Junior shortstop McKenna Clewett hit a solo shot over the left field fence to narrow the gap to three runs. However, Cal State East Bay’s senior pitcher Emily Perlich dug in and retired the next three batters in the order, securing a 5–2 win.

    The Pioneers took a dominating lead in the first inning in Saturday’s game two. Back-to-back singles by LaVaute and senior outfielder Alex Vela scored two for the team, and then a hard single to left field by Enny brought in two more runs. Junior pitcher Sierra Clark pitched a perfect first and second and held the Triton offense to just three hits in all five innings of play.

    East Bay then sealed the shutout in the bottom of the third. Clark scored off an error by catcher, then MacDonald hit her second homer of the day to bring in three runs for an 8–0 victory.

    “In softball, it’s really important to work together as a team,” Schneider said. “If one aspect of your game is off, it can affect the whole game — that’s why your pitching, offense and defense all have to be in sync. If one of these isn’t working, there’s a high chance that the result will be a loss.”

    The Tritons will be back at home next weekend in their final regular season series against CCAA fourth-place team Cal State San Bernardino.

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