at Cal State San Bernardino (16-9, 10-7 CCAA)
Friday, Mar. 14 • 1:00 p.m. (DH)
Softball Park • San Bernardino
Saturday, Mar. 15 • 12:00 p.m. (DH)
Softball Park • San Bernardino
UCSD stays on the road for the second straight series to continue California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play this week against Cal State San Bernardino. The Tritons earned a series split with Sonoma State last weekend in Rohnert Park with wins in games one (3-1) and four (4-1). The four-game set with CSUSB will consist of two doubleheaders, the first on Friday, Mar. 14, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. The series will conclude with a doubleheader at 12 p.m. the following day on Saturday, Mar. 15. There will be an approximate 30-minute break in between games.
HOME SWEET HOME – SCHEDULE OUTLOOK
The Tritons opened the 2014 campaign with 14-straight games at Triton Softball Field. Overall, UCSD has 24 games scheduled in La Jolla with the last series listed on Apr. 25-26 against Cal State Dominguez Hills. The Tritons will face Sonoma State, Cal State San Bernardino, San Francisco State and Humboldt State on the road in conference play. UCSD will also travel to Turlock for the Tournament of Champions on Apr. 4-6. The CCAA has partnered with the Stockton Convention & Visitors Bureau to host the 2014 conference softball championships in the city of Stockton. The 2014 CCAA softball championship will be held May 2-4 at Arnaiz Stadium. Check out the full schedule by clicking here.
UCSD is currently ranked No. 20 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II poll, released on Mar. 12. The Tritons started the year ranked No. 21 in the NFCA preseason poll. Humboldt State, a member of the CCAA, is currently ranked No. 6 and Cal State Monterey Bay is ranked No. 16. The entire poll can be found by clicking here.
2014 CCAA STANDINGS
1. UC San Diego: 7-1, 12-2
2. Cal State Dominguez Hills: 7-3, 13-7
3. Humboldt State: 8-4, 18-5
4. Cal State Monterey Bay: 5-3, 9-4
5. Cal State San Bernardino: 5-5, 11-8
T-6. Chico State: 5-7, 7-10
T-6. Cal State East Bay: 5-7, 6-10
8. Cal State Stanislaus: 4-6, 8-11
9. Sonoma State: 4-8, 8-6
10. San Francisco State: 2-8, 6-11
Among all CCAA teams, UCSD ranks:
1. AVG (.347)
1. Fewest Strikeouts (27)
1. OBP (.405)
2. Stolen Bases (38)
2. Triples (8)
4. SLG (.477)
5. Runs (106)
6. RBI (90)
7. Hits (165)
8. Home Runs (6)
9. Walks (38)
9. Doubles (28)
1. Walks (45)
2. ERA (2.43)
2. Earned Runs (42)
2. Hits (112)
10. Strikeouts (51)
Tritons ranked among the top 10 players in the CCAA include:
• McKenna Clewett
5. AVG (.407)
• Emma Schneider
T-10. Doubles (6)
• Emily McQuaid
T-7. Stolen Bases (7)
• Callie Grant
T-7. Stolen Bases (7)
• Alayna Brenman
5. ERA (2.25)
• Alexis Edwards
1. ERA (1.72)
T-6. Wins (7)
• Jennifer Manuel
4. ERA (2.40)
The Tritons rank 15th nationally in batting average (.347), 15th in triples per game (.44) and 19th in stolen bases per game (2.11). Individually, Emily McQuaid ranks 31st in sacrifices per game (.39), Caitlin Brown and Kirsten Willmon rank 28th in triples (4), Alexis Edwards ranks 41st in victories (7) and Alayna Brenman ranks 35th in walks allowed per game (.75).
2014 CCAA PRESEASON POLL
1. Humboldt State (8) 80
2. UC San Diego 68
3. Sonoma State 60
4. Cal State Monterey Bay (2) 59
5. Chico State 56
6. Cal State Dominguez Hills 35
7. Cal State San Bernardino 28
8. San Francisco State 27
9. Cal State East Bay 21
10. Cal State Stanislaus 16
UCSD split action with Sonoma State last weekend at Seawolf Softball Field to finish the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) series with a 2-2 split. On day one, the Tritons came away with a 3-1 victory in the opener before falling in game two, 6-1. UCSD scored three runs in the opening inning and received a strong pitching performance from Alexis Edwards to power UCSD to victory in the opener. The offense was led by two RBI from Clewett and an RBI double from Schneider. Emily McQuaid finished with three hits and Grant recorded a pair of hits for the Tritons. UCSD fell victim to a tough sixth inning in the afternoon game to fall 6-1 to settle for the day split. After dropping game one 7-4, the Tritons responded in game two to salvage the series split with SSU behind a strong pitching performance from Alayna Brenman on Saturday. UCSD was led by Caitlin Brown on the day offensively, who finished with two hits and a homer, two RBI and a run scored. Brenman highlighted the pitching staff on the afternoon after earning her third win of the season in game two.
Alexis Edwards was named the CCAA Pitcher of the Week for the week of Feb. 15. Edwards helped the Tritons to a 3-1 series win over Chico State by picking up a pair of victories inside the circle on Feb. 14-15. In game one of the series, Edwards finished with a complete-game win after throwing seven innings of shutout ball to power UCSD to a 2-0 victory. It was her first complete game of the year. She allowed four hits, two walks and struck out one for her third win of the year. The following day, the sophomore lefty took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before finishing with 6.1 innings pitched in the 4-0 win. She allowed four hits, two walks and recorded a strikeout for her team-leading fourth win of the season. For the weekend, Edwards led the Tritons in ERA (0.00), innings pitched (13.1), wins (2) and batting average against (.178) in the pair of starts. The Oxnard native is currently 4-0 on the year with a 0.88 ERA in 24 innings pitched.
Kirsten Willmon was named the CCAA Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 2. Willmon helped lead UCSD to a four-game sweep of Western Oregon at home on Feb. 1-2. She led the Tritons in hits (9), doubles (1), total bases (12), triples (1) and runs scored (5) in the four wins. The two-hole sparkplug finished the weekend with a .646 batting average, .857 slugging percentage, .646 on-base percentage, two RBI and one stolen base in 14 at-bats. Her weekend was highlighted by a three-hit performance in the opener. The senior started the sixth inning with a single and scored a few batters later to get the Tritons on the scoreboard. She capped off the game with an RBI walk-off triple to the right-center gap to give UCSD the 4-3 comeback win.
WHO’S BACK, WHO’S NOT SNAPSHOT
UCSD returns all but three players from a 2013 squad that went 33-25 overall and placed second in the CCAA with a 24-12 mark. The Tritons qualified for their seventh trip to the NCAA postseason, where they were defeated by host Humboldt State (7-1) and Grand Canyon (8-3) in the first round of the West Regional. Head coach Patti Gerckens, going into her 22nd season leading the Tritons, welcomes back the bulk of last year's starting lineup, including Daktronics All-West Region Second Team selection Caitlin Brown. The senior catcher/first basemen was an All-CCAA First Team member after hitting .327 with nine home runs, 42 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 2013. The Tritons also return All-CCAA selections Kirsten Willmon (First Team), Emily McQuaid (Second Team), Callie Grant (Second Team), Taylor Sepulveda (Second Team) and Mya Romero (Second Team) in 2014. The Tritons only lose one impact player in Nicole Spangler (.347 avg.) to graduation.
UCSD opened the season 4-0 with the sweep of Western Oregon, which marks the first time the Tritons have started the year 4-0 since 2012 … The Tritons have recorded two four-game sweeps (WOU, CSUEB) … UCSD currently is 12-2 at home in 2014 … UCSD scored 17 runs against Cal State East Bay on Feb. 22, the most runs in a game during the Division II era … UCSD is outscoring its opponents 26-9 in the third inning and 21-11 in the sixth inning … The Tritons have recorded two walk-off wins this season (2/1, 2/1) … UCSD is 38-46 in stolen base attempts … McKenna Clewett leads the Tritons with seven multiple hit games … Emma Schneider and Clewett lead UCSD with five multiple RBI games. Schneider also blasted her first career home run against Western Oregon (2/1) … Callie Grant’s 11 game hit streak was halted in the finale against CSUEB … Caitlin Brown currently sits in third on the UCSD career home runs list with 21. The senior also ranks tied for third on the career walks list (76) … Mya Romero is currently UCSD’s all-time career leader in assists with 492… Emily McQuaid currently sits in third on the UCSD all-time career steals list with 57 … Chandler Geary recorded her first collegiate hit, a double against Chico State (2/15) … Alexiss Rivas recorded her first collegiate hit (2/1) in 2014, while Ashley Chestnut also has her first collegiate hit (2/1) … The Tritons have three local players on the roster: Alayna Brenman (Escondido/Poway HS), McKenna Clewett (Escondido/Orange Glen HS) and Schneider (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS) … UCSD has five seniors and five freshmen on the roster.
HEAD COACH PATTI GERCKENS
Patti Gerckens is currently in her 22nd season in charge of the UC San Diego softball program in 2014. The winningest head coach in program history, Gerckens has led the Tritons to three straight NCAA postseason berths, beginning with back-to-back school-record 45-win seasons and appearances in the Division II championship game, the first of which brought UCSD its first softball title in 2011. The Tritons finished as national runners-up in her milestone 20th campaign in 2012. Gerckens has amassed an overall record of 575-485 (.542) over her 21-year career, with seven straight 30-win seasons among nine total and 14 above-.500 outputs in all. Gerckens has led UCSD softball to nine NCAA postseason appearances, with seven at the Division II level. UCSD is 21-14 (.600) in the NCAA Division II Championship. Since taking over the team in 1993, 25 of Gerckens’ players have combined for 48 All-West Region selections. Twenty-seven of her players have earned All-CCAA honors since 2001. She has also coached four All-Americans. Two of her players have earned CCAA Freshman of the Year honors and two Tritons have won CCAA Player or Pitcher of the Year during her tenure. A native of Old Tappan, N.J., Gerckens graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education. She was a four-year starter at second base for the Tar Heels and also played for the New Jersey Blue Jays of the Amateur Softball Association for nine years, winning a championship in 1992.
ABOUT THE COYOTES
Cal State San Bernardino enters with a 16-9 overall record and a 10-7 mark in CCAA play. The Coyotes are coming off a conference two-game sweep of Cal State Dominguez Hills on Tuesday. The games were rescheduled from the weekend of Mar. 1. The series with CSUDH was won by the Coyotes, 3-1. CSUSB also faced Cal State Stanislaus last weekend, Mar. 7-8, and earned a 3-1 series win. The Coyotes swept action on day one with a 6-5 win in game one and a 12-3 victory in the second contest. The set concluded with the Warriors taking the first game, 4-0, before the Coyotes claimed the finale 5-0. Cal State San Bernardino ranks third in the conference with a .327 team batting average and second in the league with 22 homeruns. Offensively, the Coyotes are led by Nicole Nobbe. She currently ranks first in the CCAA with a .521 batting average to go along with 18 runs scored and 16 RBI. Tiffany McIntosh also is a key piece to the offense and leads the conference in homeruns with 10. She holds a .386 batting average to complement her team-leading 27 RBI. The pitching staff is spearheaded by Cassandra Williams, who sports a 9-5 record with a 2.83 ERA. The head coach of Cal State San Bernardino, in her eighth season, is Tacy Duncan.
UCSD holds a 52-42 all-time series record against Cal State San Bernardino. The Tritons won the season series a year ago in La Jolla at Triton Softball Stadium. UCSD earned two wins by the eight-run rule in five innings by a score of 8-0 in the opener and in the finale.
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THE BIG PICTURE
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UCSD is back at home on Tuesday, Mar. 25 after taking off next week. The Tritons host Hawaii Hilo in a non-conference doubleheader, with first pitch slated for 4 p.m.