SEASIDE, Calif. -
A three-run fourth inning and a stellar pitching performance by Camille Gaito
lifted the sixth-seeded UC San Diego softball team in its elimination game against seventh-seeded Montana State-Billings in the NCAA West Regional at Otter Sports Complex.
UCSD (36-20) advances to play No. 2-seed Cal State Monterey Bay at 4:00 p.m. with the winner advancing to face No. 3-seed Dixie State in the West Regional final on Sunday. The loser will be eliminated.
Gaito (24-9) scattered four hits while striking out seven Yellowjackets in the game. The senior right-hander improved to 4-2 this postseason.
Caitlin Brown gave UCSD a 1-0 lead in UCSD's opening at-bat, lifting a sacrifice fly to left field to score Kris Lesovsky. After the Tritons left a runner on third in the second and the bags full in the third, UCSD finally opened up the game in the fourth.
Monique Portugal bunted for a single and Emily McQuaid reached via a bunt after MSUB third baseman Nicole Colpron threw her attempt to first over Emily Osborn's head. McQuaid and Portugal moved to second and third, respectively, before Lesovsky cracked a single to center to drive in Portugal and make it 2-0.
The RBI was Lesovsky's 124th of her career- a new school record.
Charly Swanberg added an RBI single to put the Tritons up by three and MSUB shortstop Becca Frank gifted UCSD another when she mishandled Nicole Spangler's chopper to the left side.
MSUB came knocking in the bottom half of the fourth, tagging Gaito with back-to-back singles to centerfield. However, UCSD escaped the inning when shortstop Mya Romero fielded Annaleisha Parsley's groundball, tagged the lead runner and threw over to first to beat Parsley for the inning-ending doubleplay. Romero led all players with five assists in the game.
Cal State Monterey Bay fell to Dixie State 2-0 on Saturday morning to send CSUMB to this evening's elimination game.
MSUB ends the year 32-18 overall.