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Photo by: Brock Scott/Scott Photo
The Tritons begin the 2018 season this weekend at the Desert Stinger Tournament in Las Vegas.
Softball Opens Season This Weekend at Desert Stinger Tournament
Release: Wednesday 01/31/2018 
by UCSD

2018 DESERT STINGER SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT

THE SCHEDULE
Game 1
vs. Concordia (Ore.) (0-0, 0-0)
Friday, Feb. 2 • 2 p.m.
Majestic Park • Las Vegas, NV
Live Stats

Game 2
vs. Fort Lewis College (0-0, 0-0)
Friday, Feb. 2 • 4:30 p.m.
Majestic Park • Las Vegas, NV
Live Stats

Game 3
vs. Academy of the Art (0-0, 0-0)
Saturday, Feb. 3 • 2 p.m.
Majestic Park • Las Vegas, NV
Live Stats

Game 4
vs. Azusa Pacific (0-0, 0-0 )
Saturday, Feb. 3 • 7 p.m.
Majestic Park • Las Vegas, NV
Live Stats

Game 5 vs. Saint Martin's (0-0, 0-0 )
Sunday, Feb. 4 • 11:30 a.m.
Majestic Park • Las Vegas, NV
Live Stats

GOING LIVE
Live stats will be available for all home contests at Triton Softball Field this season. Follow the play-by-play action by clicking here.

HOME SWEET HOME
UC San Diego has 22 scheduled home games for the 2018 season, including a 10-game homestand beginning on March 9 with a doubleheader against Cal State East Bay and finishing with a doubleheader against Concordia Irvine on March 27. The Tritons begin their home schedule with a doubleheader against Sonoma State on Feb. 9, and conclude their home slate with a doubleheader against Stanislaus State on April 14. Check out UC San Diego’s complete 2018 schedule here.

2018 CCAA PRESEASON POLL
The Tritons were picked to finish sixth in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) based on a preseason poll of the league’s coaches. UC San Diego earned 54 points in the poll to finish ahead of Cal State East Bay (53 points) and behind Sonoma State (69). The Tritons finished sixth in last season’s final CCAA standings with a 30-22 overall record and 21-19 mark in conference play.

2018 CCAA SOFTBALL PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL

1. Cal State Monterey Bay, 96 points (6 first-place votes)
2. Chico State, 88 (3)
3. Humboldt State, 78 (2)
4. Cal State San Bernardino, 72
5. Sonoma State, 69
6. UC San Diego, 54
7. Cal State East Bay, 53
8. Stanislaus State, 35
9. San Francisco State, 27
10. Cal State San Marcos, 22
11. Cal State Dominguez Hills, 13

WHO’S BACK, WHO’S NOT
UC San Diego is coming off a 30-22 overall mark in 2017 and sixth-place finish in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) standings with a 21-19 record. The Tritons concluded conference play winning seven of their last eight games. UC San Diego welcomes back two all-conference selections in seniors Kelsi Maday and Kendall Baker.

Maday was a first-team All-CCAA honoree for the second-consecutive season, while also garnering All-West Region honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) as well as the Conference Commissioners Association (CCA). The senior started all 52 games in the outfield in 2017, finishing the season batting .395 with 13 doubles and 42 stolen bases. In addition, Maday led the Tritons with 44 runs scored, 37 RBI and a .468 on-base percentage. The Napa native has already set UC San Diego’s single-season record for stolen bases in a season (42) and for a career (94).

Baker was named to the All-CCAA second team in 2017 for the second-straight season, as she led UC San Diego with 66 hits and three triples. A native of Berthoud, Colo., Baker finished second on the team behind Maday with 36 stolen bases, which ranks second all-time for the program in a single season. In addition, the second baseman/outfielder led the Tritons with 43 runs scored, putting her fifth all-time for a single season. Baker was also an Academic All-District 8 selection by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) for her combined performance on the field and in the classroom.

The Tritons lost left-handed pitcher Milana Casillas and first baseman Ashley Chestnut to graduation following the 2017 season. Casillas appeared in 28 games with eight starts, compiling a record of 9-5 with three saves and a 3.08 ERA. Meanwhile, Chestnut started 48 games for the Tritons, recording a .289 batting average with 39 hits, 21 RBI, 14 runs scored and three home runs.

TRITON NOTES

  • Since 2006, UC San Diego is 9-3 in season openers and 8-4 in home openers … Last season, the Tritons raced out to a 9-0 start to the season, all at home.
  • Senior catcher/first baseman Lauren Sanders returns in 2018 after batting .285 and finishing tied for a team-high six home runs last season. In addition, Sanders was tied for third on the team in doubles (7) and tied for fifth in hits (39).
  • Junior Maddy Lewis will start at shortstop this season for UC San Diego after starting 49 games in 2017. Lewis finished with a .252 batting average, 35 hits, 22 runs scored and seven doubles. 
  • Freshman Robyn Wampler and sophomore Alanna Phillips are scheduled to start this weekend in the pitcher's circle for the Tritons, with senior Kendall Woken possibly serving as the third pitcher.
  • The Tritons welcome six newcomers to the 2018 squad … In addition to Wampler, freshman infielder Isabel Lavrov and freshman catcher Bobbi Aguirre are expected to have big roles this season ... UC San Diego has 16 California natives on its roster, with senior Kendall Baker (Berthoud, Colo.) and freshman Alanna Phillips (Utica, N.Y.) being the only players out of state … The Tritons have two local products on the roster: Sophomore Mikaila Reyes (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) and freshman Sherriah Harrington (Chula Vista/Eastlake HS).
  • Quote from head coach Patti Gerckens: "This is possibly the most talented group of athletes I've had here. If we just compete every day, we're going to get better. I'm optimistic. We'll have a lot of opportunities for our young players to step up initially. Sometimes when you throw young players out there, they have no choice but to do well."

GRIFFITH, HENNESSEY ADDED TO COACHING STAFF
UC San Diego has added Megan Griffith and Nicole Hennessey to its coaching staff, as both will enter their first season with the Tritons. Griffith comes to La Jolla after previously serving as an assistant coach at Whittier College, and was formerly the head coach of the club team Lakewood Firecrackers. A collegiate infielder at Middle Tennessee State University, Griffith earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Scholar-Athlete honors and was also named to the Dean’s List. Griffith played her first collegiate season at NcNeese State before playing one season at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Fla.

Hennessey arrives in La Jolla after spending one year as head coach of the Firecrackers travel ball team. She also interned at 108 Performance Academy in Riverside, where Hennessey worked with athlete ranging from six to 26-years-old to help improve throwing, hitting and overall performance. A collegiate outfielder, Hennessey played three seasons at California Baptist University after spending her freshman season at Azusa Pacific. She led the Lancers to a PacWest championship and earned NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete honors.

HEAD COACH PATTI GERCKENS
Patti Gerckens is currently in her 26th season at the helm of the UC San Diego softball program in 2018. Gerckens has amassed an overall record of 685-567 (.574) over her 25-year career, with 10 30-win seasons in the last 11 years. The Tritons have gone 541-403 (.573) in 17 years since Gerckens guided the team’s transition from Division III to Division II in 2001, including 328-243 (.574) as a member of the ultra-competitive California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), widely considered the best Division II conference in the country. The winningest coach in program history, Gerckens led the Tritons to four straight NCAA postseason berths from 2011-14, 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 led UCSD softball to 11 NCAA postseason appearances, with nine at the Division II level. UCSD is 22-18 (.55) in the NCAA Division II Championship. For Gerckens’ complete bio, click here.

ABOUT THE CAVALIERS
Concordia (Ore.) finished 19-28 overall in 2017, including an 11-17 mark in Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) play under first-year head coach Shelley Whitaker. The Cavaliers return junior pitcher/first baseman Mckenzie Smith, who was an All-GNAC honorable mention after batting .344 with 29 RBI, 10 doubles and two home runs. Senior Tori Muir is Concordia’s top returning pitcher after posting a 2-2 record and 4.28 ERA in 14 appearances last season. Muir struck out 18 with 12 walks in 34.1 innings pitched.

SERIES HISTORY
UC San Diego is 2-0 all-time against the Cavaliers, with their last meeting resulting in an 8-4 Tritons victory last season at the Tournament of Champions in Turlock.

ABOUT THE SKYHAWKS
Fort Lewis College concluded last season with a 6-43 overall record and 5-35 mark in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Junior catcher Angelique Elemen returns after garnering an All-RMAC first-team selection, while junior second baseman Gianna Melaragno was named All-RMAC honorable mention. Elemen led the Skyhawks in batting average .408, RBI (61) and home runs (17), while Melaragno hit .275 with a team-high 37 runs scored.

SERIES HISTORY
The Tritons have never played Fort Lewis College.

ABOUT THE URBAN KNIGHTS
Academy of Art finished 25-25 overall in 2017, including a 17-15 mark in PacWest Conference play. Five returning Urban Knights were All-PacWest selections a year ago, including second-team selections sophomore pitcher Hannah Rose-Balke and sophomore utility Dominique Seva’aetasi. Rose-Balke recorded a 3.35 ERA and 21-11 record in the pitcher's circle with 16 complete games. In addition, she tallied 133 strikeouts and 91 walks in 188 innings pitched. Meanwhile, Seva’aetasi batted .321 with 12 RBI, four doubles and 18 runs scored.

SERIES HISTORY
UC San Diego has never faced Academy of Art.

ABOUT THE COUGARS
Azusa Pacific was picked to finish third in the PacWest Conference preseason poll. The Cougars went 32-18 in 2017 with a 23-9 mark in PacWest Conference play. Senior first baseman Kayla Jimenez and senior outfielder Illiana Jimenez both earned all-conference second-team honors. Kayla Jimenez led the Cougars in extra-base hits, including 12 doubles, four triples and five home runs while batting .337. Illiana Jimenez was second on the team in batting average (.377) and led the PacWest Conference in total hits (66).

SERIES HISTORY
The Tritons are 20-21 all-time against Azusa Pacific. The two teams split a doubleheader last season, with UC San Diego winning the first game, 4-3, before the Cougars won the second game, 4-1, in 12 innings.

ABOUT THE SAINTS
Saint Martin's has been picked to finish third in the GNAC in the Preseason Coaches Poll under new first-year head coach Jim Peterson. Sophomore outfielder Lauren Diuco was a unanimous All-GNAC first-team selection a year ago after batting .368 with 56 hits, 16 RBI and 37 runs scored. In addition, junior outfielder/pitcher Lindsay Miller was a second-team all-conference selection after hitting .363 with 57 hits, 17 RBI and 39 runs scored.

SERIES HISTORY
UC San Diego is 2-0 all-time against Saint Martin’s, with both victories coming last season.

GEAR UP
For the latest in Triton athletic gear, make sure to visit ucsdtritonsgear.com. Run by UC San Diego Athletics' online partner, Advanced-Online, the site provides an on-demand option for Triton athletic apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours.

FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
Got some young Triton fans in your family? If they are eighth grade or under, check out the Junior Triton Club. Membership includes a free t-shirt, admission to over 100 UC San Diego home athletic events, and much more!

BIG (WEST) NEWS FOR UC SAN DIEGO ATHLETICS
On Nov. 27, UC San Diego was officially invited to become a member of the NCAA Division I Big West Conference. The Tritons will begin a four-year reclassification period starting in the fall of 2020. They will play a full Big West schedule that season and will be eligible for NCAA Championships in men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo, and fencing. For the 2024-25 academic year, all sports will be eligible to compete in Big West and NCAA Division I championships. Read the full press release here.

SOCIAL MEDIA- #BigWestBound
UCSD Athletics on Facebook (UCSDtritons)
UCSD Softball on Facebook (/UCSDsoftball)
UCSD Athletics on Instagram (@UCSDtritons)
UCSD Softball on Instagram (@UCSDsoftball)
UCSD Athletics on Twitter (@UCSDtritons)
Coach Gerckens on Twitter (@UCSDCoachG)
UCSD Softball on Twitter (@ucsdsoftball)
UCSD Athletics on YouTube (UCSDAthletics)

UP NEXT
Following Sunday’s game against Saint Martin’s, the Tritons will have four days off before playing host to Sonoma State for doubleheaders on Feb. 9-10, in both teams' CCAA opener. First pitch is set for noon on Friday, Feb. 9 and 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10.

#BigWestBound

Saturday, February 17
Softball at Humboldt State
11:00 AM
Arcata
Softball at Humboldt State
1:00 PM
Arcata
Friday, February 23
Softball vs. Cal State San Marcos
3:00 PM
UC San Diego
Softball vs. Cal State San Marcos
5:00 PM
UC San Diego
Saturday, February 24
Softball vs. Cal State San Marcos
12:00 PM
UC San Diego
Softball vs. Cal State San Marcos
2:00 PM
UC San Diego
Friday, March 02
Softball at Azusa Pacific
2:30 PM
Azusa
Softball at Azusa Pacific
4:30 PM
Azusa
Friday, March 09
Softball vs. Cal State East Bay
1:00 PM
UC San Diego
Softball vs. Cal State East Bay
3:00 PM
UC San Diego
Saturday, March 10
Softball vs. Cal State East Bay
11:00 AM
UC San Diego
Softball vs. Cal State East Bay
1:00 PM
UC San Diego
Thursday, March 15
Softball vs. Chico State
4:00 PM
UC San Diego
Softball vs. Chico State
6:00 PM
UC San Diego
Friday, March 16
Softball vs. Chico State
12:00 PM
UC San Diego
Softball Seating Campaign (landscape)