LA JOLLA, Calif. – No. 13 UC San Diego completed the series sweep of Cal State East Bay, 4-0, behind an offensive outburst of 29 hits and 25 runs Saturday at Triton Softball Field. Scores were 17-1 and 8-3, with the first concluding after the fifth inning.
The Tritons improve to 12-2 overall and 7-1 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) following the pair of wins. UCSD sits alone in first place following the first two conference four-game sets. Cal State East Bay falls to 4-8 overall and 3-5 in league play.
The offense was fueled up and down the lineup, highlighted by McKenna Clewett’s four hits, six RBI and six runs. The pitching staff, led by Alexis Edwards and Alayna Brenman, kept the Pioneer offense at bay on the afternoon to earn the pair of victories.
The Tritons scored in every frame in the opener and pounded out 18 hits for 17 runs. The 18 knocks are the most recorded in a game since 2007, while the 17 runs is the most a UCSD team has scored in the Division II era (since 2000-01). The Tritons scored 15 runs twice in 2004.
UCSD recorded three in the first to grab a quick 3-1 lead. The Pioneers led the game off with a homer to left from Jaynie MacDonald, but the Tritons responded in the bottom half. Following Callie Grant reaching on a single and Caitlin Brown and Clewett earning walks, Emma Schneider blasted a three-RBI double to right center.
The offensive continued to stay hot in the second inning, highlighted by a two-RBI triple down the right field line by Kirsten Willmon. The four-run frame was finished off by a Clewett RBI double to put the score at 7-1.
The third inning was even more impressive, as the Tritons plated seven runs on eight hits. Willmon recorded two more RBI following a double and Schneider lined an RBI double to highlight the third.
Up 14-1, the Tritons tacked on three more runs in the fourth on a Clewett three-run bomb to left field. It was her second career home run and first of the season.
Hannah Duarte, who came on in relief for Edwards, finished off the victory with a hitless fifth. Edwards earned her sixth win of the year after throwing four innings with four strikeouts, one earned run and five hits allowed.
UCSD received four RBI apiece from Willmon, Clewett and Schneider in the win. Willmon and Clewett also scored three runs each, while Grant also finished with three runs scored on three hits.
Runs continued to cross the plate in the final game of the series, as Cal State East Bay opened the game with another home run in the first inning. Chelsie Kakela recorded the homer to center field with one runner on to put CSUEB ahead 2-0 early.
The Tritons bounced right back in the bottom half, not allowing the Pioneers a shutout inning. After back-to-back singles from Brown and Schneider, Clewett continued her hot hitting with a two-run double off the left field fence. Katie Saunders followed with an RBI single to put UCSD ahead 3-2 after one.
UCSD added another run in the third behind the combination of Clewett, who doubled, and Saunders, who added another RBI with a single, once again.
In the fifth, Saunders blasted her team-leading second home run of the season with a runner on. The Tritons added the final two tallies of the game in the sixth on an RBI double from Chestnut and an RBI single from Brown to make the final 8-3.
Alayna Brenman earned her second win of the season after throwing six full frames with one strikeout. She allowed three earned runs and retired 13 straight Pioneer batters at one point. Jennifer Manuel added a perfect seventh in relief.
Saunders, who finished 3-3 with four RBI, and Clewett, who ended the game 2-2 with two RBI and two runs scored, led the Triton offense.
The loss was tagged to Kelsey Carins, who threw six innings and allowed eight runs. The Pioneer offense was led by two hits and three RBI from Kakela.
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.