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.
HOME SWEET HOME
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. Check out the full schedule by clicking 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. 14 - men's volleyball vs. USC
• 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
CCAA PLAY BEGINS
The 21st-ranked UC San Diego softball program begins conference play this weekend against Chico State at Triton Softball Field. The Tritons finished in second place in the regular season with a 24-12 mark in league play in 2013 behind Humboldt State’s record of 31-5. UCSD also finished behind the ‘Jacks at the conference tournament, falling to HSU in the championship game, 5-2. The Tritons first won the regular season title in 2011 with a 22-9 record in league play before falling in the conference tournament. The following year in 2012, UCSD made a run in the league tournament to win as the No. 4 seed for its first tournament crown.
UCSD is currently ranked No. 21 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II preseason poll. Defending national champion Central Oklahoma was picked as the unanimous No. 1 selection, picking up all 16 first-place votes to finish with 400 total points. Last season’s national runner-up Kutztown followed in second with 376 points. Grand Valley State was picked third (346 points) and California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) member Humboldt State, who was picked to win the conference for the second straight season, is slated in fourth (340 points), while Armstrong State rounded out the top five (338 points). Check out the entire poll by clicking here.
Among all CCAA teams, UCSD ranks:
1. AVG. (.390)
1. Stolen Bases (19)
2. OBP. (.439)
T-2. Triples (2)
T-3. Hits (64)
4. ERA (2.56)
4. Runs (36)
T-4. Home Runs (2)
T-4. RBI (31)
5. Strikeouts Recorded (28)
6. SLG. (.488)
7. Doubles (6)
8. Walks (11)
Tritons ranked among the top 10 players in the CCAA include:
• Kirsten Willmon
T-2. AVG. (.524)
T-2. Triples (1)
T-5. Stolen Bases (3)
10. OBP. (524)
• Emma Schneider
5. AVG. (476)
T-4. RBI (10)
T-8. SLG. (714)
• Caitlin Brown
4. OBP. (.550)
T-2. Triples (1)
T-5. Stolen Bases (3)
T-10. Walks (3)
• Emily McQuaid
T-3. Stolen Bases (4)
• McKenna Clewett
T-9. Stolen Bases (2)
• Callie Grant
T-9. Stolen Bases (2)
• Amani Proctor
T-9. Stolen Bases (2)
• Katie Saunders
T-9. Stolen Bases (2)
• Alayna Brenman
3. ERA (0.79)
T-7. Complete Games (1)
• Alexis Edwards
T-6. Wins (2)
8. ERA (1.97)
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
Freshman Alayna Brenman fired a complete-game win, 2-1, in game one to propel UCSD to a mid-week split with California Baptist last Wednesday. The Tritons dropped game two at Triton Softball Field, 7-4, despite recording 13 hits as a team. Down 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth of a tight pitchers dual in game one, redshirt-freshman Emma Schneider (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS) delivered a two-RBI double to right center to score senior Kirsten Willmon and Amani Proctor, who was pinch-running for senior Caitlin Brown at first base. Brenman handled the rest and nailed down the Lancers in order to earn her first collegiate- and complete-game win, 2-1. She finished with a full-seven frames and allowed four hits and recorded seven strikeouts. The only blemish came in the sixth on a solo home run from Marshean August. In final game of the doubleheader, UCSD couldn’t overcome four runs from the Lancers in the opening frame and lost their first game of the year, 7-4.
SEASON OPENER SUCCESS
The Tritons opened 2014 with two walk-off wins at Triton Softball Field against Western Oregon on Feb. 1. In game one, Willmon tripled into the right-center gap to propel UCSD to a 4-3 comeback win before Emma Schneider blasted a two-run home run, the first of her collegiate career, to end the second game after six innings, 11-3. Willmon did it all on the afternoon, finishing with five hits in seven at-bats, seven total bases, two runs, a pair of RBI and one stolen base in the two games combined. Schneider was nearly as impressive after concluding the day with four hits in seven at-bats, three RBI and the homer. The pitching staff, spearheaded by Alayna Brenman and Jennifer Manuel, finished the day with nine strikeouts to a pair of walks and only allowed two earned runs in the pair of wins. The Tritons completed the four-game sweep of Western Oregon the following day after earning a 6-2 win in the opening game behind a quality start from Alexis Edwards, and drilled 14 hits in the second game to win 9-5. Schneider collected three hits in seven at-bats and recorded four RBI between the two games. Willmon also kept the offense rolling with four hits in seven at-bats. She also scored three runs on the afternoon. The pitching staff was sharp in the pair of wins and totaled 11 strikeouts in 14 innings.
WILLMON EARNS WEEKLY HONOR
Kirsten Willmon was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s (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 last week. 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 5-1 at home in 2014 … The Tritons have recorded two walk-off wins this season (2/1, 2/1) … Caitlin Brown currently sits in third on the UCSD career home runs list with 20. The senior also ranks fifth on the career walks list (72) … Mya Romero is currently UCSD’s all-time career leader in assists with 462 … 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) … 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 ... Chico State’s catcher, Brynn Lesovsky, is the sister of former player and current UCSD assistant coach Kris Lesovsky.
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 WILDCATS
Chico State enters the weekend with a 2-3 overall record and has won two-straight games. The Wildcats opened the season with three-consecutive losses to Cal State San Marcos (8-0), Cal State Monterey Bay (2-1) and San Francisco State (5-0) at the Best of the West Tournament, before closing out the tourney with wins over Holy Names (3-0) and Dominican (9-1). Chico State currently is hitting .257 as a team, which ranks eighth in the CCAA. The Wildcats average 2.6 runs and 5.6 hits per contest. The pitching staff sports a 2.80 ERA, good for sixth in the CCAA, and has recorded 26 strikeouts for fourth in the league. The Wildcats are led offensively by Tori Zimmerman, who is hitting .500 on the year with two RBI and five total bases, and Amanda Cordeiro, who is also hitting .500 with four total bases and two runs scored. Courtney Brown has produced three RBI on the year, while Alli Cook leads the team in stolen bases with five. Alexandria Molina leads the Wildcats in the circle with 16.2 innings pitched with 17 strikeouts, a 0.42 ERA and a 1-1 record. The head coach of Chico State is Angel Shamblin, who is currently in her fifth season.
UCSD currently holds a 34-20 all-time series record against Chico State since the 1983 season. Last year in 2012-13, the Tritons took three of four in the regular season series in Chico at Wildcat Softball Field. UCSD eliminated the Wildcats from postseason contention on the final day of the regular season to keep Chico State out of the conference tournament.
UCSD Athletics has partnered with Advanced-Online to provide a web-based, on-demand option for UCSD apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours. Visit the site at UCSDTritonsGear.com.
SOCIAL SERVICES - #TritonsRising
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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!
As part of the 18-game homestand to start the year, the Tritons continue CCAA play next weekend against Cal State East Bay. UCSD hosts the Pioneers at Triton Softball Field on Friday, Feb. 14 in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. before finishing out the series on Saturday, Feb. 15 in another doubleheader with the first-pitch start time of 11 a.m.