No. 15 UC San Diego currently stands at 30-9 overall and 19-5 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The Tritons sit in a tie for first place in league play with Cal State Monterey Bay, who also sports a 19-5 conference mark. UCSD travels to Arcata to face the ‘Jacks of Humboldt State this weekend in an important CCAA set with postseason implications on the line. HSU currently sits two games back in league play with a 21-7 mark. The four-game set will consist of two doubleheaders, with the first on Friday, Apr. 18 (1 p.m.) and the second on Saturday, Apr. 19 (11 a.m.). There will be approximate 30-minute break in between games.
UCSD is currently ranked No. 15 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II poll, released on Apr. 16. The Tritons started the year ranked No. 21 in the NFCA preseason poll. CCAA members Cal State Monterey Bay (No. 2), Humboldt State (No. 8) and Sonoma State (RV) are also found in the rankings. The entire poll can be found by clicking here.
WEST REGION RANKINGS
Rank: Overall, In-Region Records
1. Cal State Monterey Bay: 38-5, 36-5
2. Dixie State: 35-8, 35-8
3. UC San Diego: 30-9, 30-9
4. California Baptist: 33-11, 33-11
5. Humboldt State: 36-11, 36-11
6. Sonoma State: 31-15, 29-15
7. Central Washington: 23-13, 23-13
8. Cal State San Bernardino: 25-21,25-21
9. Western Washington: 21-11, 21-11
10. Hawaii Hilo: 19-17, 19-17
2014 CCAA STANDINGS
T-1. Cal State Monterey Bay: 19-5, 38-6
T-1. UC San Diego: 19-5, 30-9
3. Humboldt State: 21-7, 37-11
4. Sonoma State: 15-13, 31-15
5. Chico State: 14-14, 21-21
6. Cal State East Bay: 13-15, 20-23
7. Cal State San Bernardino: 12-16, 25-21
8. Cal State Dominguez Hills: 9-19, 15-29
9. San Francisco State: 8-20, 17-30
10. Cal State Stanislaus: 6-22, 13-34
Among all CCAA teams, UCSD ranks:
1. AVG (.342)
1. Fewest Strikeouts (69)
2. Stolen Bases (67)
2. Triples (14)
4. SLG (.455)
T-4. Runs (227)
T-4. RBI (194)
5. OBP (.393)
5. Hits (375)
6. Doubles (61)
7. Home Runs (12)
10. Walks (78)
2. Earned Runs (95)
2. Hits (237)
4. ERA (2.48)
8. Walks (130)
7. Strikeouts (127)
Tritons ranked among the top 10 players in the CCAA include:
• Callie Grant
4. AVG (.429)
T-3. Runs (40)
5. OBP (.469)
5. Hits (57)
T-8. Triples (2)
• McKenna Clewett
8. AVG (.391)
• Katie Saunders
9. AVG (.387)
• Caitlin Brown
T-8. Triples (2)
9. RBI (33)
• Emily McQuaid
T-9. Stolen Bases (13)
• Amani Proctor
T-4. Triples (3)
• Kirsten Willmon
3. Triples (4)
• Alexis Edwards
1. ERA (1.37)
T-3. Wins (17)
T-10. Complete Games (10)
• Jennifer Manuel
6. ERA (2.50)
• Alayna Brenman
8. Strikeouts Per Game (4.42)
The Tritons rank 17th nationally in batting average (.342) and 12th in fielding percentage (.973). Individually, Alexis Edwards is 24th in ERA (1.37) and 20th in victories (17).
UCSD split the CCAA series, 2-2, with San Francisco State last weekend on the road at SFSU Softball Field. The Tritons had their nine-game conference win streak snapped in the opener before earning a win in game two, 3-1. The 1-0 loss marked the first time UCSD has been shutout in 2014 as SFSU only allowed two Callie Grant hits in the win. UCSD responded in the nightcap as Jennifer Manuel threw a complete game and the offense plated three runs behind two hits from Caitlin Brown and an RBI apiece from Kirsten Willmon and Alissa Gutierrez. On day two, the Tritons recorded 15 hits in the opener to win 8-2 before falling 2-1 in the finale in a 13-inning marathon. In the win, the offense was led by three hits, two RBI and two runs from Amani Proctor. Mya Romero and Emma Schneider also knocked in a pair of runs and recorded two hits, respectively. Brown and Emily McQuaid tallied two hit in the win as well.
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.
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
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.
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 faced Sonoma State, Cal State San Bernardino and San Francisco State on the road in conference play before taking on HSU this weekend. UCSD also traveled to Turlock for the Tournament of Champions on Apr. 4-6. Postseason play will take place on the road as 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 16-4 at home and 6-1 on a neutral site … The Tritons are outscoring its opponents 34-17 in the first inning and 41-13 in the fourth inning … When scoring in the first inning, UCSD is 15-2. The Tritons are also 22-1 when leading after the fourth inning and 10-0 when they score six or more runs … 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 67-86 in stolen base attempts … Callie Grant has started all 39 games and leads the Tritons with 18 multiple-hit games. Grant had an 11 game hit streak halted in the finale against CSUEB. In her last 15 games, she’s batting .537 (29-for-54) with 10 multi-hit games … Caitlin Brown has started all 39 games and co-leads UCSD with eight 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. The senior also ranks second on the career walks list (83) … Emma Schneider is tied with Brown for the team-lead in multi-RBI games with eight. She blasted her first career home run against Western Oregon (2/1) … Mya Romero is currently UCSD’s all-time career leader in assists with 547. She has started all but three games in her four-year career at UCSD … Emily McQuaid has started all 39 games and currently sits in third on the UCSD all-time career steals list with 63, third on the all-time assists list with 415 and ninth in all-time runs scored list with 92 … Alexis Edwards is currently having a career year, setting career high’s in innings pitched (122.1), wins (17), complete games (10), shutouts (4) and strikeouts (58) … 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 591-490 (.546) 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. 8 nationally, enters with a 37-11 overall record and a mark of 21-7 in CCAA play. HSU sits in third in league play and fifth in the first West Region rankings behind UCSD. The ‘Jacks most recently coming off a 3-1 series win against Sonoma State in Rohnert Park on Apr. 11-12. HSU ranks fifth in team batting average (.317) but is atop the conference in home runs (61) and RBI (251). Tiffany Hollingsworth in the team leader in average at .400 and RBI with 42, which complements her nine home runs. Dani Randall and Julie Pena are offensive threats with 12 home runs and 11 home runs, respectively. Randall has driven in 38 runs, while Pena has plated 40 runners on the season as well. The pitching staff holds a 2.55 team ERA, good for fourth in the CCAA. Katie Obbema has started a team-high 30 games and holds a 17-7 record with a 2.55 ERA, while Liz Perez has started 20 games and sports a 12-4 record with a 1.77 ERA. The head coach of the ‘Jacks, in her first year, is Shelli Sarchett.
Humboldt State holds a 15-28 all-time series record against UC San Diego. The ‘Jacks swept the Tritons in the regular season CCAA set a year ago in Arcata, 4-0. HSU also grabbed two more postseason wins against UCSD in 2013, the first in the CCAA Championship game and the second in the West Regional opening game. HSU holds a six-game winning streak over the Tritons.
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THE BIG PICTURE
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UCSD returns to Triton Softball Field to host the final CCAA series of the year and the final regular season games of the year. The Tritons host Cal State Dominguez Hills for two doubleheaders, the first on Friday, Apr. 25 (1 p.m.) before the concluding two games on Saturday, Apr. 26 (12 p.m.). Saturday marks Senior Day for the UCSD senior class.