ROHNERT PARK, Calif. – The 11th-ranked UC San Diego softball team split the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) doubleheader with Sonoma State Friday at Seawolf Softball Field. The Tritons came away with a 3-1 victory in the opener before falling in game two, 6-1.
UCSD now stands at 13-3 overall and 8-2 in the CCAA following the day split, while Sonoma State moves to 11-9 overall and 5-9 in conference.
The Tritons scored three runs in the opening inning and received a strong pitching performance from Alexis Edwards to power UCSD to victory in the opener.
“First, Lexi pitched a stellar game,” said head coach Patti Gerckens. “She kept them (the Sonoma State offense) off balance the entire game and I was proud of the way she got out of the jam in the sixth. She stayed relaxed and let her defense help out, which was outstanding. Mya and Emily were key to the defense and played flawlessly.”
The Tritons wasted no time jumping on the scoreboard in the top of the first. Callie Grant led off the game with a bunt single and was followed by Kirsten Willmon reaching on an error by the second baseman. Caitlin Brown sacrificed the runners into scoring position to set up a two-RBI single from McKenna Clewett and an RBI double from Emma Schneider to put UCSD ahead 3-0.
The Seawolves were held at bay until the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, SSU recorded its first hit of the game and followed with a second consecutive single to put runners on first and second. A third consecutive hit, a double, plated the lone Seawolf run of the game. Edwards was able to escape further damage after a nice play from Mya Romero at shortstop gunned a runner out at home for the second out, which was followed by a groundout to second with the bases loaded to end the threat.
The Tritons finished out the victory with a clean seventh to win, 3-1.
UCSD received a complete game from Edwards in the win. She tossed seven frames with three hits allowed and one strikeout to improve to 7-0 on the year. The offense was led by two RBI from Clewett and an RBI double from Schneider. Emily McQuaid finished with three hits and Grant recorded a pair of hits for the Tritons.
UCSD held Megan Konieczka, arguably the conference’s top offensive threats, hitless in one official at-bat to end her hitting streak at 14 games. She reached base twice with a pair of walks. The Seawolves’ Amanda Llerna was tagged with the hard-luck loss after throwing seven innings, giving up three runs (none earned) with three strikeouts.
“We started the game strong and finished off the victory strong,” remarked Gerckens. “After we scored the early runs, we just stopped offensively though. We need to work on continuing to get runners across throughout the game. Overall, I thought it was a very well played game on both sides and was proud of the way we competed. “
UCSD fell victim to a tough sixth inning in the afternoon game to fall 6-1 to settle for the day split.
Sonoma State was the first to plate a run in the bottom of the second after manufacturing a run with a leadoff single and an RBI double from Ashley Long to make the score, 1-0.
The Tritons tied the game in the fifth on two hits. McQuaid led the inning off with a single up the middle and was sacrificed to second on a bunt from Grant before Brown delivered a game-tying RBI double to left center to knot the game at one.
An inning later, the Seawolves responded with five runs to take control of the game. SSU scored the five runs on four hits and two Triton errors. Konieczka delivered the big hit in the inning, a two RBI single to center field for the Seawolves.
The loss was credited to Jennifer Manuel, who entered in the sixth to throw one inning with one earned run allowed (five total runs). Freshman Alayna Brenman made her fifth start of the year and finished with a line of five innings, with one earned run and three strikeouts.
The offense was held to four hits, one each from Brown, Clewett, Romero and McQuaid. UCSD left eight runners on base throughout the game.
Sonoma State’s Melissa Smith was awarded the win after throwing a complete game, while the offense was fueled by two hits and two RBI from Konieczka.
“We got on base, but we weren’t able to get the runners over or score them the entire game,” said Gerckens about the offense. “We had opportunities, but when the momentum changed, we didn’t play smart and we let them get to us. We need to have more sense of urgency going forward. We can’t sit back and wait.”
“I’m hoping to come out with our A game tomorrow and continue to compete.”
The Tritons and Seawolves continue the four-game set tomorrow at Seawolf Softball Field. The doubleheader is slated to begin at 11 a.m.