UCSD continues California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play this week against Cal State East Bay. The Tritons are coming off a 3-1 series win over Chico State last week at home. The four-game series will consist of two doubleheaders, the first on Friday, Feb. 21, with first pitch at Triton Softball Field scheduled for 1 p.m. The set will conclude with a doubleheader at 11 a.m. the following day on Saturday, Feb. 22. There will be an approximate 30-minute break in between games.
Live stats will be available for all home contests at Triton Softball Field. Follow the action by clicking here. Saturday’s game will have a live video stream and play-by-play commentary from Bill Cohn. To access the video feed, click here.
THE CANNED FOOD DRIVE IS ON
The CCAA is holding its annual canned food drive competition during the month of February and all league schools will be collecting canned goods to donate to local service organizations. UC San Diego will once again be participating on behalf of the San Diego Food Bank. Donation bins are currently located in the lobby of the Intercollegiate Athletics suite through Feb. 24. In addition, bins will be present at the following home events:
• Friday, Feb. 21 - women's/men's basketball vs. San Francisco State
• Saturday, Feb. 22 - baseball vs. Cal Poly Pomona
• Saturday, Feb. 22 - softball vs. Cal State East Bay
• Saturday, Feb. 22 - women's/men's basketball vs. Sonoma State
HOME SWEET HOME – SCHEDULE OUTLOOK
The Tritons open the 2014 campaign with 18-straight games at Triton Softball Field. Overall, UCSD has 28 games scheduled in La Jolla with the last series listed on Apr. 25-26 against Cal State Dominguez Hills. The Tritons will face Sonoma State, Cal State San Bernardino, San Francisco State and Humboldt State on the road in conference play. UCSD will also travel to Turlock for the Tournament of Champions on Apr. 4-6. 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 ranked No. 13 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II poll, released on Feb. 19. The Tritons started the year ranked No. 21 in the NFCA preseason poll. Humboldt State, a member of the CCAA, is currently ranked No. 1 after a 12-1 start to the year. The only other conference member mentioned in the poll is Cal State Monterey Bay, who is currently receiving votes. The entire poll can be found by clicking here.
2014 CCAA STANDINGS
T-1. Humboldt State: 3-1, 12-1
T-1. UC San Diego: 3-1, 8-2
T-1. Cal State Monterey Bay: 3-1, 7-2
T-1. Cal State East Bay: 3-1, 4-4
T-5. Cal State Dominguez Hills: 2-2, 8-6
T-5. Cal State Stanislaus: 2-2, 5-6
T-7. Sonoma State: 1-3, 6-3
T-7. Cal State San Bernardino: 1-3, 7-6
T-7. San Francisco State: 1-3, 5-6
T-7. Chico State: 1-3, 3-6
Among all CCAA teams, UCSD ranks:
1. Stolen Bases (26)
2. Triples (6)
3. AVG. (.346)
5. Hits (89)
6. RBI (42)
6. OBP. (.406)
6. SLG. (.451)
T-6. Runs (53)
T-6. Home Runs (2)
T-9. Doubles (9)
10. Walks (20)
1. ERA (2.13)
2. Earned Runs (21)
T-3. Strikeouts (34)
4. Walks (26)
5. Hits (64)
Tritons ranked among the top 10 players in the CCAA include:
• Kirsten Willmon
T-8. Stolen Bases (4)
• Caitlin Brown
T-1. Triples (2)
T-8. Stolen Bases (4)
• Emily McQuaid
T-8. Stolen Bases (4)
• Amani Proctor
T-8. Stolen Bases (4)
• Alayna Brenman
1. ERA (0.79)
6. Strikeouts per game (5.55)
• Alexis Edwards
T-4. Wins (4)
2. ERA (0.88)
• Jennifer Manuel
T-10. Wins (2)
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
UCSD won the season-opening CCAA series, 3-1, over Chico State last week. On Friday, the Tritons won game one, 2-0, behind a complete game from Alexis Edwards before falling in the nightcap, 2-1, at Triton Softball Field. UCSD was held to nine hits in the two games combined, led by two from Callie Grant. She also recorded a run, an RBI and a stolen base in the split for the Tritons. The UCSD pitching staff was effective, throwing 14 innings with 10 hits allowed and two earned runs given up. On Saturday, the Tritons swept the Wildcats to earn the series win. Scores were 4-0 and 10-4, both of the seven inning variety. Edwards continued her hot start to the year in the circle and proved to be a difference maker in the opener before the offense collected 11 hits in the second game to power the Tritons to a sweep.
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. The Oxnard native is currently 4-0 on the year with a 0.88 ERA in 24 innings pitched.
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 opened the season 4-0 with the sweep of Western Oregon, which marks the first time the Tritons have started the year 4-0 since 2012 … UCSD currently is 8-2 at home in 2014 … The Tritons have recorded two walk-off wins this season (2/1, 2/1) … UCSD is 26-29 in stolen base attempts … UCSD is outscoring its opponents 14-2 in the third inning and 15-3 in the sixth inning … Caitlin Brown currently sits in third on the UCSD career home runs list with 20. The senior also ranks tied for fourth on the career walks list (73) … Mya Romero is currently UCSD’s all-time career leader in assists with 465 … Emily McQuaid currently sits in third on the UCSD all-time career steals list with 54 … Emma Schneider blasted her first-career homerun against Western Oregon (2/1) … Chandler Geary recorded her first collegiate hit, a double against Chico State (2/15) … Alexiss Rivas recorded her first collegiate hit this year and is currently 2-5 in pinch-hitting situations … Ashley Chestnut also has her first collegiate hit and is 1-2 in pinch-hitting situations … 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 561-481 (.538) 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 PIONEERS
Cal State East Bay enters with a 4-4 overall record and a 3-1 mark in CCAA play. The Pioneers are coming off a non-conference midweek split with Notre Dame de Namur on Tuesday, falling in game one, 1-0, before salvaging a split with a win in game two, 7-4. Last weekend, CSUEB hosted San Francisco State for a four-game conference series and won the set, 3-1. On Friday, the Pioneers swept the Gators with scores 10-1 and 5-2. The following day, CSUEB opened with a 13-5 win before falling 12-7 in the finale. The Pioneers rank eighth in the CCAA with a .291 batting average and third in the conference in team ERA at 2.50. Chelsie Kakela leads the team in batting average at .375, while Lauren Vestal has recorded a team-high 10 RBI. Kelsey Cairns heads the pitching staff with 20 innings pitched and holds a 1-1 record with a 2.10 ERA. Emily Perlich is slated in the second spot for Pioneer rotation and holds a 1-2 record with a 3.44 ERA. Barbara Pierce is currently in her eighth year as head coach of the Pioneers.
UCSD holds an 11-4 all-time series record against Cal State East Bay. The Tritons won the 2013 series in Hayward, 3-1. UCSD opened the set with a doubleheader sweep with scores of 1-0 and 12-0. After the Pioneers grabbed a 2-1 win in the first game on day two, UCSD closed the series with a 11-2 win.
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THE BIG PICTURE
We want to reward you for posting your creative photos showing Triton spirit. Tweet, Facebook or Instagram your pics and include our #TritonsRising hashtag. At the end of every month, we'll pick our favorite photos and dole out some swag to the winners!
The Tritons continue league play next week against Cal State Monterey Bay at Triton Softball Stadium. The Otters are currently receiving votes in the national poll. The series will start on Friday, Feb. 28, with a doubleheader starting 1 p.m. The set will conclude with a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 29, with a start time of 11 a.m.