LA JOLLA, Calif. - The No. 2 UC San Diego softball team split its season-opening doubleheader with Western Oregon Friday afternoon, falling 5-1 before recovering to record a 6-2 win in the nightcap at Triton Softball Field.
"We couldn't wait for today to be here and were excited," said UCSD head coach Patti Gerckens. "We definitely would have liked two wins, but we learned a lot from the first game and then got stronger for the second."
Western Oregon's Amanda Evola opened the afternoon with a homerun straight to center field to give the Wolves an early 2-0 lead.
UCSD scored its single run of the first game in the bottom of the second as Nicole Spangler batted in Mya Romero off a single through the middle, cutting the Wolves lead in half at 2-1.
The squads battled back and forth through the middle innings as Michelle Escamilla began to find a groove at the mound, stricking out four batters through the middle innings.
WOU put the game away in the sixth inning. The Wolves loaded the bases early, and Lexi Orteza scored off a sacrifice fly. Williams and Evola scored later off a double to left-center field to boost Western Oregon's lead another three runs.
Despite hits by Callie Grant, Monique Portugal and Nicole Spangler in the final two innings, the Tritons where unable to get another run on the board.
Escamilla took the loss for the Tritons, after pitching 5.2 innings and allowing five runs.
The Tritons returned with a surge of energy, scoring four runs in the opening inning, beginning with Spanglers double to left field running in Grant. Just two batters later, Romero homered to left field to put three more runs on the board for the Tritons to bring the score to 4-0 at the end of the first.
"We settled down from the first game. There were some gitters and Mya (Romero) definitely took the lead with the shot, it was a great way to start the game," said Gerckens.
The two teams played through some quick field play through the second and until the bottom of the third as the Tritons began its second run with a double by Caitlin Brown. Brown and Sepulveda would score off Dyanna Imoto's single to left field to extend UCSD's lead to 6-0.
Western Oregon's two runs came late in the top of the fifth inning from a double to left field.
Neither team would post runs in the final two innings as UCSD took the 6-2 win.
Kayla Hensel finished six innings with four strikeouts earning her first win of the season.
The series will continue Saturday, Feb. 2 with doubleheader action against the Wolves beginning at 12:00 p.m. at Triton Softball Field.
-- UCSDtritons.com --