No. 23 Tritons Split to Start the Season at Desert Stinger Tournament
LAS VEGAS – The No. 23 University of California San Diego softball team split its pair of opening day games at the Desert Stinger Softball Tournament. The Tritons began the evening with an 11-2 win over Concordia (Ore.), but fell to Hawaii Pacific in their second game, 1-3.
The Tritons quickly grabbed the lead in the first inning of game one, capitalizing off of early control issues by the Concordia starting pitcher. Sherriah Harrington started things off by sending a single up the middle. After Danica Kazakoff drew a walk and Maddy Lewis was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded for Mikaila Reyes. With a full count, Reyes was hit by a pitch to send Harrington home. With the bases loaded and still no outs, Brittney Ross-Smith singled up the middle to drive in two more runs for the Tritons.
Later in the inning, with runners on first and second for Kinley Kyro, the freshman came up big in her collegiate debut. Kyro stroked a double to center field to add two more runs to the scoreboard. Danielle Stedman followed with a double of her own for the Tritons’ sixth and final run of the inning.
UC San Diego added onto its lead in the second inning. With Kazakoff on base, Lewis smacked a home run to left to give the Tritons an 8-0 advantage. Reyes came around to score on the final play of the inning, making it 9-0.
The Tritons continued to pile on the runs in the third. Alyssa Wing led off with a single, stole second, and then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Stedman. On the first pitch of the next at bat, Harrington singled to send Wing home.
With Keila Bosinger pinch running for Harrington, Kazakoff drew a walk to move Bosinger into scoring position. Lewis then came up with another big hit, rocketing a double down the left field line to score Bosinger.
On the mound, Alanna Phillips allowed just two earned runs and five hits over five innings pitched. Concordia’s lone runs came on a two-run homer.
“Our hitting was on point,” said Head Coach Patti Gerckens about the win. “We were hitting the ball often and hard, getting people on base, and really doing a good job of executing. Whenever you can put up 11 runs, everyone seems to play better. Alanna also pitched a fabulous game. She really hit her spots and worked counts. Overall, she was very composed.”
The Tritons struck first again in their second game of the evening. Harrington again led off with a single to start the game, and later came around to score on a sacrifice fly to left field by Ross-Smith. Despite the hot start, the UC San Diego batters were unable to get another run off of the Hawaii Pacific starting pitcher for the remainder of the game. The Tritons outhit the Sharks, 7-5, but ultimately fell 3-1.
Freshman Grace Garcia pitched the first four innings for the Tritons, surrendering only two earned runs in her collegiate debut. Robyn Wampler came in in relief for the final two innings, giving up just one hit and no runs.
“We knew what we needed to do, but didn’t execute in the box,” Gerckens said about the Tritons’ performance against the Sharks. “We watched too many strikes and had too many missed opportunities, but I thought our pitchers did a great job.”
Across both games, Gerckens was impressed by the performances of the Triton newcomers.
“I thought Kinley did a fabulous job behind the plate and at the plate,” Gerckens remarked. “Grace had an outstanding outing as well. Clarissa got a little action at first and played well defensively. I think that there were a lot of good things that we did, and we have to learn from today.”
Tomorrow, the Desert Stinger action will resume when UC San Diego faces Western Washington at 2 p.m. Afterwards, the Tritons will face Western Oregon at 4:30 p.m.
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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