at Division II West Regional Two
Karl Brooks Field • St. George, UT
UC San Diego was selected as one of the 64 teams that will participate in the 2014 NCAA Division II Softball Championship after receiving an at-large bid in the West Region. The region in separated into two different sites with four teams each. The Tritons, who stand at 33-16 overall, were tabbed the No. 6 seed in the West and will face No. 3 seed Humboldt State, who’s ranked No. 4 nationally at Karl Brooks Field in St. George, UT. The game is scheduled for Friday, May 9 at 12 p.m. (PT). Depending on the outcome, UCSD will face either No. 2 seed host Dixie State or No. 7 seed Central Washington on Saturday, May 10. The championship of the West Region Two will be played on Sunday at 11 a.m., with a doubleheader scheduled if necessary.
General admission tickets can be purchased for $10 dollars at the gate or by calling 435.652.7800. Seniors will be charged $7, youth/students can enter for $2 and kids two or under are admitted free of charge.
WEST REGION HISTORY
The Tritons will be making their eighth overall appearance at an NCAA regional since joining Division II in 2001. The 2014 appearance marks the fourth straight season UCSD will be competing at the West Regional, advancing into the Super Regional in two out of the three previous seasons. In 2011, the Tritons defeated Central Washington and Chico State to advance. UCSD went on to win the National Championship that season. In 2012, the Tritons defeated Montana State-Billings, Cal State Monterey Bay and Dixie State to move into the Super Regional round. UCSD completed the 2012 season as the National Runner-Up. Last season in 2013, the Tritons fell in Arcata to Humboldt State and Grand Canyon to finish the season at the West Regional.
SEVEN TRITONS AWARDED ALL-CCAA HONORS
UCSD placed a league-high seven players on the CCAA All-Conference softball team, announced at the 2014 Softball Championships brunch in Stockton on May 2. Caitlin Brown, Amani Proctor, Callie Grant and Alexis Edwards were placed on the All-CCAA First Team, while McKenna Clewett, Emily McQuaid and Katie Saunders were honored with second team distinctions. The four players on the first team was also a league high, while the seven honorees marks the second consecutive season UCSD has totaled seven award winners.
Emily McQuaid, Mya Romero, Callie Grant and Katie Saunders were named to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-District® Softball First Team for the NCAA Division II District 8, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). It marks the first time that McQuaid, Romero, Grant and Saunders have earned the distinction. All four Tritons advance to the Capital One Academic All-America® ballot, joining seven other selections from their region at the district level.
CCAA CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP
After making its fourth-straight appearance at the conference tournament and sixth overall, UCSD fell in the first two games to finish fourth at the CCAA Championships. The loss marked the first time since 2010 the Tritons weren’t present on championship Sunday at the CCAA Tournament. UCSD finished second in 2011, first in ’12 and second in ’13 before taking fourth this season. The Tritons now hold a 9-9 all-time record at the league tournament. UCSD fell in the opener to Humboldt State 2-1, before suffering a setback against Cal State Monterey Bay 10-8 on day two. The ‘Jacks went on to win the tournament for the third time in school history.
UCSD is currently receiving votes in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II poll, released on May. 7. The Tritons started the year ranked No. 21 in the NFCA preseason poll and has reached as high as No. 11. CCAA members Cal State Monterey Bay (No. 3) and Humboldt State (No. 4) are also found in the rankings. The entire poll can be found by clicking here.
2014 FINAL CCAA STANDINGS
1. Cal State Monterey Bay: 25-6, 45-9
2. Humboldt State: 27-9, 46-14
3. UC San Diego: 22-10, 33-16
4. Sonoma State: 19-17, 38-21
5. Cal State East Bay: 18-18, 27-26
6. Chico State: 17-19, 24-26
7. Cal State San Bernardino: 16-19, 29-24
8. Cal State Dominguez Hills: 11-25, 17-35
T-9. San Francisco State: 10-26, 19-36
T-9 Cal State Stanislaus: 10-26, 17-38
The Tritons rank sixth nationally in fielding percentage (.975), 10th in double plays per game (0.49), 21st in stolen bases per game (1.84) and 35th in batting average (.326). Individually, Callie Grant ranks 31st nationally in batting average (.442) and 36th in toughest to strikeout per plate appearance (30.8), while Alexis Edwards ranks 61st in ERA (1.96) and 48th in victories (18).
UCSD seniors Emily McQuaid, Caitlin Brown, Jennifer Manuel, Mya Romero and Kirsten Willmon were honored Saturday, April. 26 as they played their final home games at Triton Softball Field. The five seniors helped bring in the program’s first National Championship, a National Runner-Up finish and an NCAA Regional appearance the past three seasons. The senior class currently holds a .674 winning percentage, the highest in the Division II era.
Head coach Patti Gerckens faced her former player Kim Aggabao, the head coach at CSUDH, on April 25-26. It was the first ever meeting between the two as head coaches. In four years with the Tritons, Aggabao compiled a .312 batting average, including a .335 average over her final three years, and ranks among the all-time career leaders in several different categories, including hits, RBI, doubles, runs scored, putouts and assists.
Callie Grant named the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s (CCAA) Player of the Week for the week of Mar. 31-Apr. 6. Grant was named the Tournament of Champions Batting Champion after leading the Tritons in batting average (.542), on base percentage (.577), runs (7) and hits (13) this weekend. Grant was also named to the All-Tournament Team after helping UCSD finish 6-1 at the TOC and win the Platinum Bracket. Grant posted an impressive line in seven total games: .542, 13-for-24, 7 Runs, 2 RBI, 14 TB, .583 Slug %, 2 BB, .577 OB%, 2 SB. The sophomore helped UCSD finish the tournament with a .342 team batting average to finish only behind Sonoma State’s .372. It marked the first such honor for Grant.
Katie Saunders was named the CCAA Player of the Week for the week of Mar. 10 after leading UCSD to a four-game sweep of Cal State San Bernardino on the road. She led the Tritons in slugging percentage (.722), hits (8), RBI (9), doubles (2), home runs (1) and total bases (13) in the CCAA set. In the opener, Saunders finished with two RBI, a pair of runs and two hits. She followed with a two-run home run to open the second game and finished with three hits and four RBI. On Saturday, Saunders totaled three RBI to help the Tritons finish off the four-game sweep of Cal State San Bernardino. Overall on the weekend, the Manhattan Beach native finished eight-for-18. It marked the first such career honor for Saunders.
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.
WILLMON EARNS WEEKLY HONOR
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 is currently 6-3 on a neutral site … The Tritons are outscoring its opponents 37-20 in the first inning and 47-19 in the fourth inning … When scoring in the first inning, UCSD is 16-4. The Tritons are also 24-2 when leading after the fourth inning … UCSD scored 17 runs against Cal State East Bay on Feb. 22, the most runs in a game during the Division II era … The Tritons have recorded four walk-off wins this season (2/1, 2/1, 3/28, 3/29) … UCSD has recorded four, four-game sweeps (WOU, CSUEB, CSUSB, CSUS) … The Tritons held a seven-game winning streak before losing to Sonoma State on Mar. 7 … UCSD is 90-115 in stolen base attempts … Callie Grant leads the team with 22 multiple-hit games. Grant had an 11-game hit streak halted in the finale against CSUEB. In her last 25 games, she’s batting .533 (40-for-75) with 14 multi-hit games and has scored 22 runs … Caitlin Brown has started 48 of 49 games and leads UCSD with nine multiple-RBI games. Brown had a 16-game reached base streak end against HPU (4/5). She currently sits in third on the UCSD career home runs list with 23 and second on the career RBI list with 124. The senior also ranks second on the career walks list (84) … Emma Schneider blasted her first career home run against Western Oregon (2/1) … Mya Romero is currently UCSD’s all-time career leader in assists with 578. She has started all but three games in her four-year career at UCSD … Emily McQuaid has started all 49 games and currently sits in third on the UCSD all-time career steals list with 65, third on the all-time assists list with 442 and ninth in all-time runs scored list with 95 … Alexis Edwards is currently having a career year, setting career high’s in innings pitched (157.1), wins (18), complete games (13), shutouts (4) and strikeouts (74) … 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 594-497 (.544) 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 'JACKS
Humboldt State, ranked No. 4 nationally, enters with a 46-14 overall record and finished a mark of 27-9 in CCAA play. HSU is led by Tiffany Hollingsworth offensively. She is the team leader in average at .402, which complements her 10 home runs and 50 RBI. Dani Randall and Julie Pena are offensive threats with 15 and 13 home runs, respectively. Randall has driven in 47 runs, while Pena has plated 52 runners on the season as well. The pitching staff holds a 2.58 team ERA and is led by Katie Obbema. She has started a team-high 28 games and holds a 23-8 record with a 2.34 ERA, while Liz Perez has started 22 games and sports a 14-5 record with a 2.31 ERA. The head coach of the ‘Jacks, in her first year, is Shelli Sarchett.
Humboldt State holds a 33-15 all-time series record against UC San Diego. The ‘Jacks swept the Tritons in the regular season CCAA set in Arcata, 4-0, this season. HSU also beat the Tritons in the CCAA Tournament last week, 2-1. The ‘Jacks also grabbed two postseason wins against UCSD in 2013, the first in the CCAA Championship game and the second in the West Regional opening game. HSU holds an 11-game winning streak over the Tritons.
ABOUT THE RED STORM
Dixie State, ranked No. 15 nationally, enters with a 44-8 overall record. Dixie State qualified by winning the PacWest regular season title with a 27-5 record. The Red Storm has won 21-straight games and 27 of their last 28. Dixie State is led offensively by Courtney Sherwin, who enters with a .441 batting average, seven home runs and 44 RBI. The pitching staff is led by Aryn Feickert’s 20-6 record and holds a 1.91 ERA with 13 complete games. The head coach of the Red Storm, in his sixth season, is Randy Simkins.
UCSD holds a 7-4 all-time series record against Dixie State.
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
Central Washington, who is currently receiving votes in the national poll, enters with a 30-18 overall record. The Wildcats received an at-large bid into the West Regional after falling in the GNAC Championship game to Western Oregon and finishing second in the regular season in conference play. CWU is led offensively by Jill McDaniels’ .359 batting average, 11 home runs and 43 RBI. The pitching staff is led by Maria Gau, who has thrown 161.1 innings and holds a 19-8 record. She has made 15 starts and sports a 2.95 ERA. The head coach of Central Washington, in her fourth season, is Mallory Holtman-Fletcher.
UCSD holds a perfect 6-0 all-time series record against Central Washington.
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The winner will advance to the West Region Super Regional, set for May 18-19 at a site to be determined. The opponent will be the winner of the West Region One, which features Cal State Monterey Bay, California Baptist, Sonoma State and Western Oregon.