Release: Sunday 05/20/2012 
Senior Nick Howe goes for his third NCAA javelin crown this weekend.
Senior Nick Howe goes for his third NCAA javelin...
Courtesy: UCSD

Thu., May 24---Track & Field---UCSD at NCAA D-II Championships---All Day

Fri., May 25---Track & Field---UCSD at NCAA D-II Championships---All Day

Sat., May 26---Track & Field---UCSD at NCAA D-II Championships---All Day

Coach Patti Gerckens' Softball team, ranked 24th nationally, came within one win of a second consecutive NCAA Division II Championship, falling to Valdosta State (GA) in Saturday's championship clash in Louisville, KY...All told, the Tritons had faced 10 elimination situations in the post-season and won every one before finally succumbing to Valdosta...Gerckens' club finished with a 45-23 mark, tying the school record for wins in a season set last spring.

Buoyed by a six-run first inning, UCSD staved off by a late comeback attempt by No. 1-ranked Valdosta State (52-5), for a 7-5 victory in its 2012 NCAA Championship debut Thursday...The Tritons used just three hits to put up those half dozen runs in the first frame but got the benefit of three walks, a wild pitch and a crucial Blazer error...The error came at 1-0 with the bases loaded and two outs as Valdosta catcher Ashley Steinhilber dropped a foul pop off the bat of junior Nicole Spangler...Spangler prompted laced a double to left field, plating two and setting the stage for freshman Monique Portugal to launch a three-run homer...UCSD's final run came in the second when center fielder Kris Lesovsky scored for the second time on an illegal pitch...It was 7-3 after six but Valdosta made it scary for Gerckens' club, scoring three runs and putting runners at second and third with one out before senior All-American Camille Gaito quelled the uprising by coaxing a fly out to short left and getting the final batter via her sixth strikeout...Gaito, despite an uncharacteristic four walks, surrendered just two earned runs while earning victory No. 30 on the year...Lesovsky and Portugal had two hits each.

Gaito was brilliant the next day, giving up eight hits, striking out 10 and walking only one batter but ended up on the losing end of a 12-inning, 1-0 thriller against No. 3 Kutztown State...Golden Bears' lefty Samantha Derr matched Gaito's sparkling effort, tossing a three-hitter, striking out eight and singling home the winning run in the bottom of the 12th...Lesovsky singled and doubled and twice found herself in scoring position but her teammates couldn't get her home.

Facing elimination for the first time in Louisville, the Tritons put in extra work again Friday afternoon, squeaking past St. Joseph's (IN), 2-1, in 11 innings...Both teams posted a run in the first and then went nine scoreless frames...In the top of the 11th, sophomore shortstop Mya Romero reached on an error, stole second and scored when freshman  Maria Sykes punched a single up the left field line, her third hit and second RBI of the game...With the sun blazing, Gaito again went the distance, scattering seven hits and stopping the Pumas with runners in scoring position in both the 10th and 11th.

Coming back roughly three hours later, UCSD handed No. 2 Central Oklahoma its first loss of the tourney, 4-3, once more taking it to extra innings (9) and once more providing a dramatic finish...The Tritons put two runs on the scoreboard in the third inning as third baseman Emily McQuaid walked and came home on a Lesovsky double...Left fielder Kirsten Willmon then singled, stole second and Lesovsky scored from third on a wild throw by the Bronchos' catcher Kacie Edwards...Gaito cruised through the first five innings but in the sixth, Edwards belted a solo home run to cut the lead in half...Then, in the seventh, with UCSD one out from victory, UCO's Nathalie Timmermans crushed a two-run homer to left that stunned Triton partisans and put UCSD three outs from elimination...But with their hopes on the line, the Tritons refused to die...Junior Nicole Spangler led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk, was replaced by pinch runner Annie Heskett, and Portugal followed with an infield single...McQuaid laid down a sacrifice putting runners at second and third...When Lesovsky flied to center, Heskett beat the throw to the plate with an acrobatic slide to make it 3-3...That held until the bottom of the ninth when Spangler led off again, singling up the middle...Portugal and McQuaid followed with sacrifices, putting Spangler at third and the outcome in the hands of Lesovsky-who, as she's done so many times before, came through with a single to left, keeping UCSD alive and setting up a Saturday rematch with Central Oklahoma for a place in the title tilt...Lesovsky finished with three of UCSD's nine hits and drove in three of  the runs.

Saturday's semi-final looked like it too was heading for extra innings but in the bottom of the sixth, sophomore Caitlin Brown sent Rachael Steverson's 2-1 delivery over the left field wall and a Portugal RBI single later in the inning provided insurance as UCSD gained a spot in the national final for the second year in a row with a 2-0 win over Central Oklahoma...In an errorless battle, Lesovsky had two of UCSD's seven hits as the indefatigable Gaito was again clutch, shutting out the Bronchos despite allowing base runners in six of the seven innings.

In an ironic bit of symmetry, the Tritons found themselves matched up against Valdosta State one more time in Saturday afternoon's battle for all the marbles...This time, it was the Blazers starting quickly as Courtney Albritton roped a home run over the left field fence off Gaito in the first inning...In the end, Valdosta tagged the Tritons' ace for four runs (three earned)  and came away with a 4-1 victory behind tourney MVP Alanna Hadley...UCSD mustered just three hits but still had its chances as Hadley walked three, hit three batters and was guilty of three illegal pitches (balks)...The Tritons stranded nine runners, including two in their final at bat  when Gerckens had her three and four hitters---Brown and Swanberg---at the dish representing the potential tying runs...Gaito, who finished 33-12 on the season, was selected to the all-tournament squad along with Lesovsky and Romero.

Listen to Saturday's post-game interview with Head Coach Patti Gerckens.
Listen to Friday's post-game interview with Head Coach Patti Gerckens.
Watch Friday post-game interview with senior Kris Lesovsky.
Watch Friday post-game interview with senior Camille Gaito.
See NCAA Softball Championship Photo Gallery.



A smashing debut season under Head Coach Eric Newman came to an end Saturday in Keizer, OR as the Baseblal team fell for the second time in three days to Dixie State and was eliminated from the NCAA West Regional Tournament...The Tritons finished the campaign 33-24, were co-champions of the CCAA and won the CCAA Championship Tournament..

Despite out-hitting Dixie State, 8-7, UCSD came out on the short end of a 7-3 decision in last Thursday's NCAA West Regional opener...A pair of untimely errors led to two early runs for the Red Storm off Triton freshman starter Trevor Scott...Still leading, 2-0, Dixie State packaged three of its hits, the third a grand slam by clean-up hitter Tyson Littlewood, to blow it open in the fifth...Triton all-conference middle infielders Garrett Tuck and Spencer Frazier produced two hits apiece and catcher Nick LaFace blasted a solo homer...Scott took the loss, dropping his record to 5-6.

Newman's club got its mojo back in a hurry, clubbing No. 11 host Western Oregon, 11-1, and knocking the Wolves out of the Regional...The Tritons unleashed a 15-hit attack, scoring five runs in the second and another five in the seventh behind behind starter Ryan Goodbrand who dazzled WOU with a complete game five-hitter, fanning six along the way...The junior right hander picked up his 11th win without a defeat...Five different players had multi-hit afternoons, led by junior leadoff man Danny Susdorf...The Triton center fielder rapped three singles, scored twice and drove in four...Tuck, who had a pair of  hits, also knocked in four.

The win earned the Tritons a second shot at Dixie State and, unfortunately, the outcome was the same as the first with the Red Storm holding off a late UCSD rally for a 6-4 triumph...Again, the Tritons out-hit Dixie, this time, 13-9, but found themselves down, 6-0, headed into the eighth inning after the Red Storm had plated three two-out runs against reliever Elias Tuma in the seventh...UCSD responded with four runs of its own in the eighth but could not finish the comeback...Susdorf, Frazier and first baseman Richard Seigel all had three hits with Susdorf scoring once and driving in a pair...The Tritons had numerous chances but left seven men on base over the course of the contest...Starter Greg Selarz took the loss.

Coaches Tony Salerno and Darcy Ahner will send seven qualifiers to Pueblo, CO this weekend for the 2012 NCAA Division II Track & Field Championships at the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl...Leading the way will be two-time NCAA javelin champion Nick Howe...The senior school record holder will be aiming at becoming UCSD's first-ever three-time track & field individual champion...Joining Howe on the men's side will be fellow senior Ka Wai Ng, who set a school record in the triple jump earlier this season...Ng is the first Triton to break the 50-ft. barrier in his specialty.

Heading up the women's contingent will be senior Jacqueline Rose...The school standard bearer in the 400 m., where she will be seeded third, Rose is also a potential finalist in the 200 m. and will run the anchor leg on a 4x400 squad that also includes Sabrina Pimentel, Lauren Irish and Deyna Roberson.

Coach Denny Harper's Men's Water Polo team racked up an impressive, 9-6, win over UC Irvine in Sunday action at the Fisher Cup Tournament hosted at Canyonview Pool...The Tritons, who had dropped Saturday outings against USC and UCLA, closed up with a 6-5 loss to UC Santa Barbara.

In other men's polo news, junior Brian Donohoe, who won the prestigious NCAA Elite 89 Award at last fall's NCAA Championship, was named to the Capital One CoSIDA All-Academic Team for District Eight...One of 10 student-athletes honored, Donohoe sports a 3.96 GPA in history.

The UCSD Athletic Dept. hosts a variety of sports camps and clinics throughout the year...For more information on available options, click here.

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