The Sonoma State University softball team headed to sin city this past weekend for the annual MSUB Desert Stinger to open their season. The No. 19 Seawolves left the desert of Las Vegas with a disappointing 2-3 record to start their season after being voted conference preseason number one and earning a national ranking.
In their season opener against California Baptist, the Seawolves fell 13-2. Emma Ryan and Leanna Georges were the only Seawolves to cross the plate in the blowout loss.
In the second game of day one, the Seawolves faced Montana State Billings but couldn't come back from the Yellow Jacket's four-run first inning and five runs in the second, putting them up 9-1. The Seawolves rallied late with an eight run comeback, but it was not enough as the Seawolves fell short in a 9-8 loss, dropping their record to 0-2 to start the season.
The Seawolves had an opportunity to turn their early season struggles around in day two of the tournament when they faced off against No. 20 Augustana University and Western Washington.
The first game of the day against Augustana was a battle. In the top of the third inning, Augustana got the first lead of the game, making it 1-0. After that, both pitchers took over on the mound and there was no scoring until Sonoma State was able to finally get their offense going when Alex Flores started the bottom of the sixth off with a double. Aubrie Tolliver’s base knock was able to send Flores home and just like that the game was tied.
The game was still notted 1-1 going into the bottom of the ninth inning. Leanna Georges stepped to the plate with one out and a runner on second and was able to put the team on her back and drive in the game winning run to give the Seawolves their first win of 2016.
Georges ninth inning heroics was the highlight of the trip to Las Vegas for catcher Aubrie Tolliver.
"My favorite moment of the weekend would have to be our extra inning win. Leanna really came in clutch to give us our first win of the season," said Tolliver.
However, the success for the Seawolves didn't stop there. The momentum from their first win helped them beat Western Washington 3-1 in their second game of the day.
Again, the opposing team took the lead first, putting the team down 1-0 but they fought back and tied the game in the fifth inning when Lindsay Calcany Blair hit a solo shot over the outfield wall to make the score 1-1. From there, the Seawolves scored a pair of runs in the sixth, putting them up 3-1 and giving them their second win of the season.
On the final day of the MSUB Desert Stinger, the Seawolves played their last game of the tournament against Colorado Mesa. Jena Kaser led Sonoma State to a massive 7-0 lead in the first two innings after she went 4 for 4 with a home run and five RBI’s, but it wasn't enough to keep the Seawolves on top. Colorado Mesa had a furious offensive showcase of their own when they scored thirteen runs in the next three innings. The Seawolves werent able to get their offense back into groove, making a comeback improbable. Colorado Mesa handed the Seawolves their third loss of the early season, 13-7, dropping the Seawolves to a sub .500 record at 2-3.
Even though the weekend didn't go completely as planned the Seawolves are not losing their confidence. Instead, they are focusing on improving the things that went wrong.
"There were many things that went right this weekend and many that we can definitely improve on. Leaving Vegas we are eager to get back to the practice field and focus on those things," said Tolliver. "We are going to work on strengthening our defense."
The Seawolves next opportunity for victory comes on February 12th at home against Chico State at 12 P.M.
"We are excited just to get a game in at home and it's a bonus that is gets to be against Chico. They're going to be a tough competitor but I know we will come out strong," said Tolliver. The start of CCAA play will bring on a familiar foe in the Chico State Wildcats but the Seawolves are excited to be back on the Sonoma State dirt.