The UC San Diego softball team took on Utah State University in a home doubleheader for their second series of the season on March 6. The Tritons were swept by the Aggies, losing 5–1 and 5–2 in the first and second matches respectively. With the losses, UCSD’s record drops to 1–3 for the season, and after notching their first Division I win in their extra-innings season opener, they extend their losing streak to three games.
In the first matchup, the Tritons got themselves in a hole early. An infield error UCSD let Utah State score two runs in the first inning, putting down 2–0. The Aggies would add another run before UCSD got onto the scoreboard. The Tritons scored their first (and only) run of the game in the bottom of the third. Junior catcher Clarissa Reynoso doubled to right center; after she reached second, redshirt sophomore outfielder Kelly Renner was substituted in to pinch run for Reynoso. Renner advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior shortstop Danica Kazakoff, and Renner would score on the next play.
The Tritons kept the game locked up at 3–1, with the win still in sight, until the sixth inning. At the top of the sixth, senior starting pitcher Robyn Wampler gave up a double, which drove in two Utah State runners and dropped the Tritons even lower to 5–1. After that play, Wampler was substituted out for sophomore reliever Kaia Simpson. Wampler would end the game with 4 strikeouts, 2 walks, and a 5.29 ERA. Simpson kept the Tritons from sliding down further, giving up only 1 hit and no runs in the final inning. However, the UCSD offense could not keep up. In the final two innings, UCSD had 5 hits, but these only resulted in 5 runners left on base with none crossing home, and the Tritons lost the first match, 5–1.
The second game got off to a better start for UCSD defensively, but the Aggies got the advantage by scoring two runs at the top of the fourth. The Tritons were able to hold the Aggies at two runs, giving them time to respond with two runs of their own in the sixth inning. Through the seventh, both teams held firm, leaving them tied 2–2. But in the eighth inning, Utah State would go on another late-game scoring run. After two quick singles put runners in scoring position, UCSD’s starting pitcher, freshman Gabby Williams, gave up a three-run centerfield homer, and just like that, the Tritons were down 5–2. The Tritons were only able to muster a single from Kazakoff in the bottom of the eighth, but not the comeback they needed, sealing their 5–2 loss.
Next week, the Tritons are on the road. They will head up to Los Angeles on March 9 to face off against UCLA, who will be a tough opponent. The Bruins are 9–1 overall and undefeated this season at home. UCSD will hope to upset UCLA and bring an end to their early season woes, before returning to Triton Softball Field for a pair of games against crosstown rival University of San Diego on March 21.
Photo courtesy of Scott Flanders / UC San Diego Athletics