CHICO, Calif. - The fifth-seeded University of California San Diego softball team dropped a 3-1 decision to California Baptist, the fourth seed, in the opening game of the NCAA West 1 Regional Thursday at Chico State's University Softball Field.
UC San Diego, which lost its third straight game and fell to 35-18, will need to win twice on Friday to advance to Saturday's West Region 1 title contest. The Tritons will next face eighth-seeded Northwest Nazarene (31-22) in an elimination contest Friday at 1:30 p.m. UC San Diego is 6-0 all-time against NNU.
California Baptist, ranked 14th nationally, struck first in the bottom of the third inning with three runs. A leadoff double to right-center by Amanda Springstead and a well-placed chopper up the middle by Brittany Galvez that was fielded cleanly but beat out put runners at first and third with one out. Soraya Shahbazian then doubled on a ball off third baseman Maddy Lewis' glove that careened deep into foul territory, scoring Springstead and advancing Galvez to third. Following an intentional walk to load the bases and a strikeout for out number two, Halle Rosario drove a line shot to the right of second base and into the outfield that scored Galvez and Shahbazian.
UC San Diego, ranked 21st nationally, got one back in the top of the fourth. Lewis led off with a single to center and took second base on a ground out. Center fielder Kelsi Maday drove her in with a single up the middle, making the score 3-1 in favor of the Lancers.
That would be the extent of the Tritons' scoring, however, as they went down in order in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings.
UC San Diego was held to just three hits in the game, which matched the team's second-lowest output of the season. The Tritons left three runners on base, two of those in scoring position.
Robyn Wampler (24-9) suffered the loss in the circle, giving up the three runs, all earned, on four hits. The California Collegiate Athletic Association Freshman of the Year walked three and struck out eight.
Ciara Stapp (18-7) walked one and fanned six in her complete game effort.
It was the first meeting between the Tritons and Lancers since 2014 and the first time they had met in the NCAA Division II postseason.
California Baptist will play top-seeded Chico State Friday at 11 a.m. Chico came from behind to defeat Northwest Nazarene, 5-2, in Thursday's late game.
The winner of the NCAA West 1 Regional moves on to the Super Regional, May 17-18, to take on the winner of the West 2 Regional. The West 2 Regional features second-seeded Concordia Irvine, No. 3 Dixie State, No. 6 Cal State San Bernardino, and No. 7 Academy of Art. The winner of the Super Regional advances to the Division II Championship, May 24-28 at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Va.