TURLOCK, Calif. – No. 20 UC San Diego concluded day one of the Tournament of Champions with a win over No. 2 California Baptist, 4-1, and finished 2-1 after a full day of softball at Pedretti Sports Complex Friday. UCSD started the day with a victory of Chaminade, 9-5, before falling to Dominican, 5-4, in the second game.
UCSD stands at 24-7 overall. The win over CBU marked the first win over a ranked opponent of the season, as the Lancers weren’t ranked in the previous meeting in 2014.
In the opener, UCSD scored nine unanswered runs in the final 3.5 innings to comeback and beat Chaminade, 9-5.
Chaminade got to Triton starter Jennifer Manuel for five runs, three earned, after 4.5 innings to hold a 5-0 lead.
UCSD responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to cut the Silversword lead to 5-3. All three runs came with two outs on one hit. Mya Romero, Emily McQuaid and Callie Grant started the rally with three consecutive walks before Amani Proctor reached on a fielding error to score Romero. Caitlin Brown followed with a two-RBI single to make the error prove costly.
The Tritons took control of the game with five runs in the fifth on four hits and three Chaminade errors. Romero and Grant produced RBI singles before Proctor rounded the bases, with Grant and McQuaid, after singling to center that was followed by two errors.
UCSD added one last run in the sixth with a Romero double to left field to make the final 9-5.
Hannah Duarte was credited with the win after throwing three innings in relief of Manuel. She allowed three hits, no runs and struck out a pair to improve to 3-0 on the year.
Brown delivered three hits offensively and two RBI, while Grant, Proctor and Romero recorded two hits apiece. Grant scored a pair of runs and Romero produced two RBI. Grant has now recorded multiple hits in six consecutive games, while Brown has reached base in 14 straight contests.
Proctor’s perfect start to the season on the bases was ended in the first inning after being caught stealing after singling. She was 12-of-12 in stolen base attempts before being thrown out.
The second game of the afternoon proved to be a battle as Dominican plated three runs in the sixth inning to win, 5-4.
Dominican scored in the opening inning off Duarte on a bases-loaded walk. The Penguins managed two infield singles before a pair of walks put UCSD behind 1-0.
After allowing the first two Penguins to reach in the second, Alayna Brenman entered in relief. She struck out the first batter she faced before allowing a fielders choice to load the bases. The freshman followed with two straight strikeouts to escape the jam and keep the score 1-0 Dominican.
The Penguins added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth on two hits to make the score 2-0.
The Tritons refused to go down easily and tied the game in the top of the sixth, 2-2. After threatening in the first and the fifth with runners in scoring position and not coming up with the big hit, UCSD received the clutch knock in the sixth from Romero. After Saunders and Emma Schneider reached on singles, the senior shortstop delivered a two-out double down the left field line to knot the game at two.
Dominican responded, however, in the bottom half to score three runs. Back-to-back doubles put the Penguins ahead 5-2.
The Tritons went down fighting in the final frame but stranded the tying run on second to fall victim to the upset bid. Grant and Brown singled to start the rally before Bianca Devoto and McKenna Clewett brought home a pair of runs on two-out singles to cut the deficit to 5-4. A groundout to shortstop ended the threat and sealed the win for Dominican.
Grant moved her streak of multi-hit games to seven after recording bunt singles in her first two at-bats of the game. She finished 4-4 in the loss. Brown also extended her reached base streak to 15 games with her single in the seventh.
Manuel was tagged with the loss after allowing three earned runs in an inning of relief. Duarte started the game and exited after one inning with an earned run given up. Brenman kept the Tritons in the game with four strong innings of relief. She allowed one earned run and recorded five strikeouts.
The final game of the day featured a pair of ranked teams facing each other for the third time this season. After splitting a pair of games on Feb. 5 in La Jolla, the Tritons earned the 2-1 season series lead with a 4-1 win. Alexis Edwards delivered a gutsy performance inside the circle to power UCSD to the victory.
The Tritons struck first in the opening frame with a two-run home run from Schneider. The bomb to left field, that plated Brown who walked, marked her second career homer and first since Feb. 1 in the opening series against Western Oregon.
Edwards escaped a jam in the bottom of the fourth after the Lancers loaded the bases. A lineout to Schneider at first base turned into an unassisted double play before Edwards induced a groundout to end the threat unscathed.
The Lancers loaded the bases in the fifth with no outs for the second consecutive inning as the top of the order came to bat. Marshean August and Krista Mann, CBU’s two leading hitters that came in with 83 RBI combined, were forced into fielder’s choices for the first two outs. The Lancers followed with a two-out single to center field to score a run, but UCSD ended the inning as Grant nailed the would-be tying run at the plate to preserve the lead 2-1.
UCSD answered in the sixth with two runs to extend its lead to 4-1 after 5.5 frames. Devoto led off with a double and was singled home by Kirsten Willmon, who advanced to third on a Lancer error. Willmon was brought home by Romero on a suicide squeeze that was executed perfectly.
The Tritons finished off the victory by stranding another Lancer runner at third with a strikeout of August and a groundout of Mann to seal the 4-1 win.
Edwards picked up her 12th win of the season and seventh complete game. She allowed one earned run and struck out five. The sophomore lowered her team-leading ERA to 1.63 in the win.
Schneider led the offense with two RBI, while Willmon and Romero each tallied an RBI apiece in the win. Grant led the Tritons with two hits.
Grant extended her multi-hit game streak to eight games after recording hits in her first two plate appearances. In her last seven games, Grant is hitting .692 (18-26). Brown also lengthened her reached base streak to 16 games following her single. The senior is hitting .435 (10-23) with nine RBI in her last seven games.
UCSD continues play at the Tournament of Champions tomorrow against Hawaii Pacific (11:15 a.m.) and Notre Dame de Namur (1:30 p.m.).