STOCKTON, Calif. - With two losses Saturday, the 20th-ranked University of California San Diego softball team was eliminated from the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championship at Bill Simoni Field on the campus of the University of the Pacific.
The second-seeded Tritons were shutout, 7-0, by second-ranked and top-seeded Chico State in the day's first game. They then fell by an 11-4 score to Cal State San Bernardino, the fourth seed in the four-team, double-elimination tournament.
With its win streak halted at seven games, UC San Diego fell to 35-17 on the season. Ranked fourth in the West Region, the Tritons will most likely land a spot in the upcoming NCAA Division II West Regional. The eight qualifiers will be announced on Monday, May 7, at 7 a.m. PT during a selection show at NCAA.com.
Chico State and Cal State San Bernardino will face off Sunday for the conference tourney title and an automatic berth in the NCAA West Regional. The Wildcats are 2-0 so far in Stockton and need to win just one game against the Coyotes, who are 1-1, to clinch the crown. CSUSB would need to win twice Sunday to win the championship.
Prior to Saturday's first game, UC San Diego sophomore Mikaila Reyes (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) won the CCAA Championship Scholar Award for holding the highest GPA of any student-athlete competing at the softball championship.
UC San Diego was playing in the CCAA Championship for the eighth time since the tournament's inception in 2007. The Tritons won titles in 2012 and 2016.
Game One: Chico State 7, UC San Diego 0
Chico State scored a single run in the top of the fourth inning and broke the game wide open by plating another six in the seventh inning.
The game featured the conference's top-two pitchers in Triton Robyn Wampler and Wildcat Haley Gilham. Friday, Wampler was named the CCAA Freshman of the Year, while Gilham was tabbed the CCAA Pitcher of the Year.
Wampler suffered her first loss since April 14 to dip to 24-8 on the year. She surrendered six earned runs and a season-high 11 hits while walking one and striking out five in 6.1 innings. Gilham improved to 25-2 with the complete game win. She scattered four hits, walked three, and struck out three.
The Tritons put their leadoff batter on base in the second, third, fourth, fifth, and six innings and had runners in scoring position in all five of those frames. They left runners at the corners in the third inning and at second and third in the fourth inning.
In the top of the fourth inning, Chico State's Kristin Worley reached base on a bunt single and took second on a sacrifice. Worley scored the eventual game-winning run on a two-out single to right field by Karli Skowrup.
Five of the Wildcats' 12 hits came in the seventh inning.
Amanda Flores finished 2-for-4 with a three-run double in the seventh. Megan Bowley, Ari Marsh, Skowrup, and Worley all had two hits apiece for the Wildcats.
It was the fifth meeting between UC San Diego and Chico State this season and the fourth victory for the Wildcats. In mid-March, CSUC shutout the Tritons in the first two games of a four-game series. In the third game, UC San Diego touched up Gilham for seven earned runs in just 2.2 innings en route to a 10-2 victory.
Game Two: Cal State San Bernardino 11, UC San Diego 4
Cal State San Bernardino led for the entire game after getting out to a strong start with four runs in the first inning. In the bottom of the fifth, UC San Diego got back within a single run, 5-4, but the Coyotes scored three runs in the sixth and another three in the seventh to seal the victory.
CSUSB held a 13-9 advantage in hits and totaled six stolen bases. The Coyotes left 10 runners on base. The Tritons stranded seven, including two in the third, fifth, and sixth innings.
Left fielder Danielle Stedman led UC San Diego at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double and a pair of runs scored. Aguirre, designated player Sherriah Harrington (Chula Vista/Eastlake HS), and pinch hitter Sharona Mataele each drove in a run. Aguirre doubled in the fifth inning to pick up her team-leading 50th RBI.
Alanna Phillips (7-8) took the loss in the circle, throwing five full innings and giving up six runs and nine hits. She walked three and struck out four.
Leadoff hitter Morgan Ratliff had a day for Cal State San Bernardino, going 4-for-5 with four runs scored. Jessica Brown was 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs, two doubles, and four RBI, while Briana Quintana was 3-for-4 with a pair of runs driven in. Sydney Kreimann scored two runs and drove in two more.
Amanda Ramirez (17-14), who pitched 1.2 innings in relief, earned the victory.
Down 4-0, UC San Diego got on the board in the bottom of the third. Stedman doubled to right-center and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Danica Kazakoff. Harrington singled to right to score Stedman.
The Coyotes scored a run in the top of the fourth to take a 5-1 lead, but the Tritons answered. With two outs, right fielder Kendall Woken knocked a base hit through the right side of the infield. Stedman then singled back up the middle, putting runners at first and second. Mataele singled through the right side with Woken and Stedman both scoring, Stedman due to a fielding error on the play.
In the bottom of the fifth, second baseman Kendall Baker singled and stole second. With two away again, Aguirre's double plated Baker to make the score 5-4 in favor of the Coyotes.
Cal State San Bernardino scored its three runs in the sixth inning on three hits and ended up leaving the bases loaded. The Coyotes had two hits, including a Kreimann double, to help them add three more runs to their total in the seventh.
UC San Diego went down in order in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.
It was the fifth time the two squads had met this season, with today's win giving the Coyotes a 3-2 edge in the series.