ARCATA, Calif. - A five-run second inning propelled Grand Canyon to an 8-3 win over UC San Diego Saturday, eliminating the Tritons from the NCAA Division II Softball West Regional at Lumberjack Stadium in Humboldt County.
UCSD finished its season with a 33-25 record. GCU improved to 40-18.
For the second straight game, UCSD outhit their opponent, racking up 10 hits to the Antelopes' nine. Four Tritons had two hits apiece, including Taylor Sepulveda, Caitlin Brown, Emily McQuaid and Amani Proctor. Brown and McQuaid each also scored a run and drove in a run.
Jennifer Manuel started in the circle for UCSD. She gave up five runs on five hits and two walks through two innings of work, dropping to 11-4 with the loss. Alexis Edwards threw the final four innings, surrendering three runs (one earned) on four hits. She struck out four and walked three.
For the 'Lopes, Kailey Regester was 2-for-2 with a run and two RBI, while Haley Walker scored twice and drove in two more. Claire Zampini was 2-for-3 with a run and a RBI. Stephanie Pesqueira threw a complete game, striking out three batters and walking none to improve to 21-11.
With the game scoreless, the Tritons manufactured their first run in the top of the second. With two outs, McQuaid singled to right and then used her speed to steal two straight bases. Nicole Spangler drove her in with a single that landed between two fielders in short right-center.
GCU responded with a five-spot in the bottom half, all of the runs coming with two outs. Pesqueira singled to knock in the first run and a base hit by Regester put two runners on base. Stephanie Smith had an RBI single and both runners moved up a base due to an error in the outfield. Walker then doubled to right past a diving Callie Grant, allowing Regester and Smith to cross the plate. Zampini's single to right scored Walker to put the Antelopes up by a 5-1 count.
Grand Canyon tacked on its sixth run in the third, again with two outs. With Edwards on for Manuel, Regester singled to lead off and Kelsey Barak drew a walk in the next at-bat. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt. After the second out was made, Regester came in when a ground ball was misplayed by the Triton infield.
UCSD scored single runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings. Brown led off the fourth with a double to right-center, her eighth of the season. She took third on a sac bunt by Mya Romero and scored when McQuaid singled through the right side of the infield. The Tritons had a chance to keep the rally going when a Spangler pop-up was dropped by the third baseman, but she recovered just in time to throw to second and force McQuaid.
In the bottom of the fourth, Edwards struck out the first two batters, her third straight K. The 'Lopes proceeded to load the bases on a single and a pair of walks, but McQuaid made a lunging stab on a line shot to third to retire the side.
Mckenna Clewett had a leadoff base hit in the top of the fifth and Sepulveda followed with a rolling double through the left side. The next two batters were retired before Brown singled to short, driving in Clewett. Barak made a nice stop on Brown's ball to prevent Sepulveda from scoring as well.
With the score 6-3 in favor of Grand Canyon, the Antelopes gained some more breathing room with a pair of runs in the sixth. An error and a single put two runners on with no outs. They were sacrificed over and both scored when Regester doubled to right field.
The Tritons went down in order in the seventh.
UCSD also outhit Humboldt State Friday, 10-9.
Grand Canyon was eliminated later in the day after suffering an 8-5 defeat against Saint Martin's. SMU and Humboldt State will play for the sub-regional title Sunday.
-- UCSDtritons.com --