Softball team nearly sweeps in San Diego

Over the past weekend the Sonoma State University softball team headed down to the UC San Diego to play a four-game series and walked away with three wins and one loss. 

“We haven’t won a series against UCSD in a few years, we typically end up splitting,” said Assistant Coach Kaelene Curry. 

With these three wins, the Sonoma State Seawolves now have a conference record of 9-2 and an overall record of 17-4, ranking them as No. 1 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

Amanda Llerena pitched all seven innings in game one, tallying eight strikeouts as the Seawolves were able to maintain a strong defense and keep the Tritons from scoring throughout the game. With Ancia Purdy starting the Seawolves off strong with a single to left field as well as stealing second, the team seemed to have brought their best to San Diego right off the bat, and looked for a sweeping weekend.

In game one, on Friday, the Seawolves brought in all of their runs during the top of the fourth inning, thanks to Olivia Lucchese and Leanna Georges for the first two runs, while Purdy stole home for the final run. From then on the Seawolves and Titans would show strong defense and the score would remain the same, therefore ending the game with a score of 3-0, Seawolves.

As for game two, on Friday, the Seawolves had a strong start with Purdy hitting a double, stealing third and making it home in the first inning for their first run on the board. Except, their lead would be short lived, as the Tritons were capable of executing their at-bats, putting up two runs of their own on their next at-bat giving them a 2-1 lead at the end of the second inning.

After this back-and-forth exchange of runs, the Seawolves found the gaps they were looking for, giving them their chance to seize the win. In the top of the sixth with only one out, Allison Stycula was the first to make it home, but it wasn’t long until she was followed by fellow teammates Kristine Ricossa, Ashley Long, Olivia Lucchese and Amanda Rossetta. 

When the Tritons were back at-bat in the bottom of the sixth, they would only be able to score one more time before the final score was called at 6-3, Seawolves.

On Saturday, the Seawolves faced the Tritons again in game three and were met with another tough challenge. 

“I faced the same batters 12-15 times in one weekend and had to get creative and mix it up because they began to catch on and adjust,” said pitcher Amanda Llerena. 

There is not better portrayal of their adjustments than in Saturday’s games. With a close game in the morning (game three) and a win in the afternoon (game four) the Tritons seemed to be getting their heads back in the game to hopefully finish out strong.

Thanks to a couple of walks and a hit-by-pitch taken by catcher Aubrie Tolliver, the Seawolves were able to start the game off with a score in the top of the first inning. Yet, the Tritons responded in the bottom of the second inning with four runs in from Lauren Sanders, Rachel Phillips, Emma Schneider and Kelsi Maday.

Just like the Tritons the Seawolves were able to respond immediately. In the top of the third inning, the Seawolves found the gaps and executed their offense to bring in six runs, resulting in seven total runs. One of the big plays was a double to left-center from Leanna Georges, which scored three runs by  Lucchese, Tolliver and Holli Brown. The Tritons, in their attempt at a comeback, would soon follow with two more runs, one in the bottom of the third by Kendall Baker and the last run would be made in the bottom of the fifth by Emma Schneider, making the final score 7-6, Seawolves.

Although the Seawolves battled hard, they could not keep up the winning streak for the entire weekend. 

In game four on Saturday the Tritons would be the one to take home the win with a score of 3-2. It would be the Tritons who started the game off strong with a two-run lead in the bottom of the third. While both teams would play strong defense, it would not be enough for the Seawolves attempt at a comeback in game four against UC San Diego, instead they would come up short, only scoring in the top of the fifth, as well as the seventh.

The Tritons were able to find the “hitting gaps and holes in our defense,” said Curry. 

The Tritons walked away with their lone win of the weekend after game four.

“Our biggest challenge in the fourth game was leaving runners in scoring positions and letting their offense execute and we could have been sharper on defense,” said Curry. 

Yet, she was not the only one who had something to say about the way the Seawolves played over the weekend. 

“Overall I think we played really well as a team, we came out with lots of energy and fight knowing that this weekend was going to be a challenge,” said outfielder Keeley Ray. 

A challenge it was, although they swept them the majority of the weekend, the Tritons refused to give up.

As for next weekend, catch the Sonoma State Seawolves at home on Friday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 2 p.m. against CSU East Bay.