UC San Diego Falls Just Short to CSUN in Eighth Inning Loss


Image by Gauri Swarup for The UCSD Guardian

Alan Ding, Contributing Writer


Starting a three game back-to-back homestand against California State University, Northridge, the UC San Diego softball team (1829, 814 Big West) fell just short to their Big West opponents CSUN (2322, 148 Big West) in a heartbreaking loss that went to extra innings. It was a back and forth game of runs with both sides gaining and losing momentum, but the CSUN Matadors did just enough in the seventh and eighth innings to close out the game and secure the first victory of the series. 

The first two innings went scoreless and were characterized by both great fielding and pitching. For the Tritons, starting sophomore pitcher Jada Cecil struck out two straight batters to open the game. However, offensively, UCSD was unable to get anything going as three straight ground outs ended the first inning. The second inning was much of the same. Both teams stepped up defensively and recorded multiple pop outs. The Tritons were able to record their first hit of the game, though, when senior third basewoman Sophia Real reached first base on a single down center field.

The third inning brought on the first scores of the game for both teams. The Matadors singled into right field at the top of the inning followed by a sacrifice bunt to advance a runner to second. With runners on first and third base, another single, this time into left field, batted in the run for CSUN made the score 10. The Tritons were able to quickly respond, capitalizing on an impressive performance by sophomore outfielder Morgan Eng. After hitting a single, Eng was able to steal both second and third base. Then, sophomore second basewoman Marissa Hassis reached first base on a walk and stole second as senior outfielder Keila Bosinger came up to bat, setting up UCSD in excellent scoring position. Bosinger was ready for the moment as she sent the ball deep into left field, allowing both Eng and Hassis to score, allowing the Tritons to take their first lead. 

Now playing with the lead, the Tritons sat back and played defense, giving CSUN three quick outs in the fourth inning. Although UCSD wasn’t able to score, they made sure the Matadors didn’t either. At the top of the fifth, the Matadors looked primed to make a run following a couple walks that left the bases loaded. However, the Tritons clamped down and refused to give up the lead, getting a ground out at third base. In fact, missed opportunities were a recurring theme in this game for both teams. Sophomore outfielder Reilly Erickson did a great job pinch running for Hassis in the sixth inning but was barely tagged out at third. A pop out by Real ended the sixth and the Tritons’ hopes of scoring another an insurance run in the inning. 

Heading into the last inning, CSUN knew they needed some offensive firepower to give themselves a chance and they did just that, blasting a couple singles through left and right field and scoring the run they desperately needed to tie the game. The Tritons still had a chance to win it at the end as junior outfielder Mariah Melendez was able to reach third base, but she was unable to reach home and the tied game now headed into extra innings.

The CSUN faithful were electric in the top of the eighth and the Matadors fed off that energy. Senior pitcher Kaia Simpson came in to replace Cecil, but the Matadors continued to play hard offensively and get runners on base. A deep double into right center field gave CSUN two more runs and put them firmly into the lead. The Tritons weren’t done just yet. Eng had a fantastic single to third base and her hard work paid off as she scored on the next at-bat. Unfortunately, UCSD could not score again as the Matadors responded with a force out at second to end the game. 

It was a valiant effort by the Tritons, who went neck and neck with a very good CSUN team but were just unable to close it out in the final innings. Eng provided a consistent effort with two runs scored and two hits while Bossinger had three RBIs of her own. 

UCSD will look to bounce back as they continue their homestand vs CSUN and then face California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo beginning on Friday, May 12.