Tritons’ Cecil Shuts Out Hawaii in Series-Opening Win

The UC San Diego softball team took the field against the Rainbow Wahine of Hawaii in a home matchup on Friday, April 1, marking the start of a three-game back-to-back day series versus Hawaii. The Tritons began this Big West conference series strong following their 2–0 victory over Hawaii on Friday, and with that win, improved their overall record to 18–14 and their Big West conference record to 6–1. Following their impressive performances in their previous conference matchup series against California State University Bakersfield and UC Santa Barbara, in which the Tritons won both series 2–1 and 3–0 respectively, the Tritons continued their good form with this first series matchup win against Hawaii. 

The start of this Game 1 matchup between the Tritons and Hawaii was rather quiet, with neither team scoring a run in the first two innings. It wasn’t until the bottom of the third inning when the Tritons took a 1–0 lead, with a run scored by sophomore third basewoman Zoe Richards. Richards was able to initially reach first base following a Hawaii error committed by Hawaii starting pitcher Brianna Lopez. Richards was then able to advance to second base following a single down the left-field line from senior centerfielder Keila Bosinger. 

Richards and Bosinger impressively were able to then steal their respective bases, placing them on third and second base, with senior first basewoman Bobbi Aguirre at bat. With a groundout to second base, Aguirre was able to bring Richards across home plate, giving the Tritons their first run of the night and a 1–0 lead following three innings.

Both starting pitchers proceeded to perform highly in the fourth and fifth innings, with only one single in the fourth inning from UCSD freshman infielder Alexa Demarse. Entering the sixth inning, the score stood at 1–0, and the Rainbow Wahine aimed to come back from their deficit and potentially take a lead on the Tritons. However, Triton’s star freshman starting pitcher, Jada Cecil, would halt Hawaii’s hope to come back in the game, allowing no hits and only one walk in the sixth inning. 

The Tritons would then score their insurance run at the bottom of the sixth inning, with a statement solo home run over the left-field fence from senior second basewoman Isabel Lavrov. Coming into the game, Lavrov was averaging a team-leading .379 average, with 33 hits and 3 home runs on the season, and with this commanding fourth home run of the season, she was able to give the Tritons a more comfortable 2-0 lead.

The Tritons turned to Cecil entering the seventh inning to close out the game, and close out she did, ending the inning and the game on a season-high 16th strikeout, breaking her own UCSD single-game strikeout record of 15, which she achieved earlier this season. The Tritons took the win with a 2–0 victory and opened their series matchup against Hawaii with a 1–0 series lead.

After the game, Cecil spoke to The UCSD Guardian about her thoughts on her dominating performances this season, as well as the overall performance of the team.

“It’s exciting to push myself, I can only keep going up from here and I have a really great team behind me… we’re working on our hitting, and this series is really important against Hawaii, so we’re just going to focus [on] one game at a time,” said Cecil.

“I was really proud of our team. It was a really good win against a very good Hawaii team, and to shut them out with Jada pitching a gem, she really kept them off balance and we came through with some really clutch hits helping us secure the win,” said Triton head coach Patti Gerckens after the game. “We still need to play a little more error-less and improve more at the plate, but overall it was a really good win… the team is motivated, they love to be playing at home, and overall I think they will come out tomorrow ready and aggressive to play.” 

The Tritons continue their series against Hawaii on Saturday, April 2, with a doubleheader that starts at 1 p.m. The Tritons hope to put a stamp on this series on Saturday and win their third conference series matchup of the season. 

Image courtesy of Erik Jepsen / UC San Diego Athletics