CHICO, Calif. – The UC San Diego softball team secured the second seed in the upcoming California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championship Tournament after earning a pair of one-run victories over Chico State Friday afternoon at University Softball Field.
"We did what we needed to do to, clinch a spot in the tournament and then didn't let down in the second game," said head coach Patti Gerckens. "The team knew what was on the line and showed how much they wanted the season to continue. They did a great job today."
UCSD, which won by scores of 5-4 and 1-0, moved to 30-20 overall and 23-11 in CCAA play, while CSUC sits at 23-23 on the season and 21-14 in conference competition.
Kayla Hensel dominated in the circle in the day's second game, tossing a one-hit, complete game shutout to improve to 10-6. The sophomore had a perfect game going through 5.2 innings before walking a batter and hitting the next. Hensel's no-hit bid ended when she ceded a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh and final inning.
Six different Tritons posted hits in the game, with Mckenna Clewett going 2-for-3 at the plate.
UCSD scored the game's only run in the top of the third inning. Taylor Sepulveda led off with a single through the right side and was sacrificed to second by Callie Grant. She stole second and came in to score on a sac fly to left by Kirsten Willmon.
Sepulveda also scored the game-winning run in the series opener. With the score tied 4-4 in the top of the seventh, the center fielder led off and reached base on a catcher's interference call. A sac bunt by Grant and an infield error by the Wildcats allowed Sepulveda to cross for the eventual winner.
Amani Proctor and Clewett led the Tritons offensively, each going 2-for-3 while hitting in the eight and nine spots, respectively. Mya Romero had a double, a run and two RBI, while Grant scored a pair of runs. Willmon tripled, scored a run, drove in another and walked twice.
Jennifer Manuel (11-2) tossed a complete game for UCSD, allowing four runs (two earned) on nine hits.
The Tritons were down 4-2 after four full innings. However, they tied it up with a pair of runs in the fifth on Romero's two-out double.
The win clinched UCSD the second seed in next week's CCAA Tournament, which will run May 3-5 in Stockton.
The Tritons and Wildcats return to the field Saturday for an 11 a.m. doubleheader that will close out the regular season. Fans unable to attend can follow live stats here.
-- UCSDtritons.com --