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Photo by: Mark Cooley/Sideline Studios
Kirsten Willmon, a 2013 All-CCAA First Team selection, returns for her senior season in 2014.
No. 21 UCSD Welcomes Western Oregon to Begin 2014 Season
Release: Sunday 01/30/2014 
by UCSD

THE SCHEDULE
Games 1 & 2
vs. Western Oregon (0-0, 0-0 GNAC)
Saturday, Feb. 1 • 12:00 p.m. (DH)
Triton Softball Field • La Jolla
Live Stats

Games 3 & 4
vs. Western Oregon
Sunday, Feb. 2 • 10:00 a.m. (DH)
Triton Softball Field • La Jolla
Live Stats

GOING LIVE
Live stats will be available for all home contests at Triton Softball Field. Follow the play-by-play action by clicking here.

HOME SWEET HOME
The Tritons open the 2014 campaign with 18-straight games at Triton Softball Field. Overall, UCSD has 28 games scheduled in La Jolla with the last series listed on Apr. 25-26 against Cal State Dominguez Hills. Check out the full schedule by clicking here.

NATIONAL RANKINGS
UCSD will begin the 2014 season ranked No. 21 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II preseason poll. Defending national champion Central Oklahoma was picked as the unanimous No. 1 selection, picking up all 16 first-place votes to finish with 400 total points. Last season’s national runner-up Kutztown followed in second with 376 points. Grand Valley State was picked third (346 points) and California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) member Humboldt State, who was picked to win the conference for the second straight season, is slated in fourth (340 points), while Armstrong State rounded out the top five (338 points). Check out the entire poll by clicking here.

2014 CCAA PRESEASON POLL
1. Humboldt State (8) 80
2. UC San Diego 68
3. Sonoma State 60
4. Cal State Monterey Bay (2) 59
5. Chico State 56
6. Cal State Dominguez Hills 35
7. Cal State San Bernardino 28
8. San Francisco State 27
9. Cal State East Bay 21
10. Cal State Stanislaus 16

WHO’S BACK, WHO’S NOT SNAPSHOT
UCSD returns all but three players from a 2013 squad that went 33-25 overall and placed second in the CCAA with a 24-12 mark. The Tritons qualified for their seventh trip to the NCAA postseason, where they were defeated by host Humboldt State (7-1) and Grand Canyon (8-3) in the first round of the West Regional. Head coach Patti Gerckens, going into her 22nd season leading the Tritons, welcomes back the bulk of last year's starting lineup, including Daktronics All-West Region Second Team selection Caitlin Brown. The senior catcher/first basemen was an All-CCAA First Team member after hitting .327 with nine home runs, 42 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 2013. The Tritons also return All-CCAA selections Kirsten Willmon (First Team), Emily McQuaid (Second Team), Callie Grant (Second Team), Taylor Sepulveda (Second Team) and Mya Romero (Second Team) in 2014. The Tritons only lose one impact player in Nicole Spangler (.347 avg.) to graduation.

TRITON NOTES
UCSD hosted Western Oregon in the opening series in 2013, with the Tritons winning the series, 3-1 …  Since 2006, UCSD is 6-2 in season openers and 5-3 in home openers … Caitlin Brown currently sits in third on the UCSD career home runs list with 20. The senior also ranks fourth on the fielding percentage (.988) list and sixth on the career walks list (69) … Mya Romero, who has 439 career assists, is currently 17 assists away from becoming the UCSD all-time career leader … Emily McQuaid currently sits in third on the UCSD all-time career steals list with 50 … The Tritons have three local players on the roster: Alayna Brenman (Escondido/Poway HS), McKenna Clewett (Escondido/Orange Glen HS) and Emma Schneider (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS) … UCSD has five seniors and five freshmen on the roster.

HEAD COACH PATTI GERCKENS
Patti Gerckens is currently in her 22nd season in charge of the UC San Diego softball program in 2014. The winningest head coach in program history, Gerckens has led the Tritons to three straight NCAA postseason berths, beginning with back-to-back school-record 45-win seasons and appearances in the Division II championship game, the first of which brought UCSD its first softball title in 2011. The Tritons finished as national runners-up in her milestone 20th campaign in 2012. Gerckens has amassed an overall record of 561-481 (.538) over her 21-year career, with seven straight 30-win seasons among nine total and 14 above-.500 outputs in all. Gerckens has led UCSD softball to nine NCAA postseason appearances, with seven at the Division II level. UCSD is 21-14 (.600) in the NCAA Division II Championship. Since taking over the team in 1993, 25 of Gerckens’ players have combined for 48 All-West Region selections. Twenty-seven of her players have earned All-CCAA honors since 2001. She has also coached four All-Americans. Two of her players have earned CCAA Freshman of the Year honors and two Tritons have won CCAA Player or Pitcher of the Year during her tenure. A native of Old Tappan, N.J., Gerckens graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education. She was a four-year starter at second base for the Tar Heels and also played for the New Jersey Blue Jays of the Amateur Softball Association for nine years, winning a championship in 1992.

ABOUT THE WOLVES
Western Oregon, a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC), opens its 2014 campaign in La Jolla at Triton Softball Field. The Wolves were recently picked third in the GNAC coaches’ preseason poll after finishing 2013 with a 27-22 overall record and a 16-8 conference record. Western Oregon was eliminated from the postseason at the GNAC Championships last year after falling to Simon Fraser (3-2) and Central Washington (3-2). The Wolves return 12 players from last season’s squad, highlighted by junior outfielder Amanda Evola and junior pitcher/third-baseman Jourdan Williams. Evola was named a Daktronics NCAA Division II All-West Region First Team member and a first-team All-GNAC selection after hitting .393 with 42 runs scored, 10 home runs and 44 RBI. Williams led the Wolves in RBI with 45 and hit .321 to earn a first-team All-GNAC selection as a third-baseman. The head coach of Western Oregon is Larry Sargent, who is currently in his second year in charge at WOU.

SERIES HISTORY
UCSD holds a 10-3 advantage in the all-time series against Western Oregon. Last season, the Tritons hosted the Wolves in a four-game series at Triton Softball Field. Western Oregon grabbed a win in the opener (5-1) before UCSD won the final three games of the series (6-2, 10-8, 7-0).

GEAR HERE
UCSD Athletics has partnered with Advanced-Online to provide a web-based, on-demand option for UCSD apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours. Visit the site at UCSDTritonsGear.com.

SOCIAL SERVICES - #TritonsRising
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UCSD Softball on Instagram (@UCSDsoftball)
UCSD Athletics on Twitter (@UCSDtritons)
Head Coach Patti Gerckens on Twitter (@UCSDCoachG)
UCSD Softball on Twitter (@ucsdsoftball)
UCSD Athletics on YouTube (UCSDAthletics)

THE BIG PICTURE
We want to reward you for posting your creative photos showing Triton spirit. Tweet, Facebook or Instagram your pics and include our #TritonsRising hashtag. At the end of every month, we'll pick our favorite photos and dole out some swag to the winners!

UP NEXT
As part of their 18-game homestand to start the year, the Tritons host California Baptist on Wednesday, Feb. 5 in a doubleheader at Triton Softball Field. The non-conference match-up is slated for a 3 p.m. start.

#TritonsRising

2014 NCAA MWP Champs (mid-ad)
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