STOCKTON, Calif. - Early runs led the second-seeded University of California San Diego softball team to a 4-3 win over third seed Stanislaus State Friday in first round action of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championship at Bill Simoni Field on the campus of the University of the Pacific.
UC San Diego scored three times in the bottom of the first inning and added what would prove to be the game-winning run in the second frame.
With its seventh consecutive victory, the 20th-ranked Tritons improved to 35-15 on the season. They will now play top-seeded and second-ranked Chico State (48-3) Saturday at noon.
UC San Diego started strong at the plate. Designated player Sherriah Harrington (Chula Vista/Eastlake HS) drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first to get things going. Second baseman Kendall Baker followed with a single and the runners advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt by Maddy Lewis. The Tritons took a 1-0 lead when catcher Bobbi Aguirre singled back up the middle to plate Harrington. It was Aguirre's team-leading 49th RBI. Center fielder Kelsi Maday doubled to right and Baker scored on the play. UC San Diego went up 3-0 when Aguirre scored on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Mikaila Reyes (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS).
With one out in the bottom of the second inning, shortstop Danica Kazakoff singled and scored when Harrington doubled to right field, making the score 4-0 in favor of the Tritons.
UC San Diego was held scoreless the rest of the way. The Tritons had one single in each of the next four innings.
The Warriors scored single runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, but went down in order in the seventh to end the game.
Pitcher Robyn Wampler, named the CCAA Freshman of the Year earlier in the day, tossed her 20th complete game and improved to 24-7 with the victory. She gave up two earned runs and five hits while walking three and striking out 10. It was the fifth time this season that the left-hander fanned at least 10 batters, with three of the five coming in her last four outings.
Aguirre, Baker, and first baseman Brittney Ross-Smith each had two hits for the Tritons, who totaled nine in the game.
Ruby Quiralte was 2-for-3 with an RBI for Stanislaus State. Starting pitcher Kylie Ragsdale suffered the loss, giving up all four runs in just 1.1 innings.
It was the fifth meeting of the year between UC San Diego and Stan State and the third win for the Tritons in the series.
Also on Friday, Maday was tabbed the CCAA Most Valuable Player. Harrington, Lewis, Maday, and Wampler were named First Team All-CCAA, while Aguirre was selected to the league's second team.
In Friday's early game, Chico State blasted fourth-seeded Cal State San Bernardino, 12-0. The Wildcats won three of four meetings against the Tritons earlier this season.
Stan State (32-21) and Cal State San Bernardino (28-19) will play in an elimination game Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The winner will take on the loser of the Chico State/UC San Diego game in another elimination contest at 5 p.m.
The championship game of the double elimination tournament is slated for Sunday at 10 a.m. with a second game to follow if necessary. The CCAA title winner earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Championship.