Chico, California - Another successful season for the University of California San Diego softball team came to an end Friday as it was eliminated from the NCAA Division II West 1 Regional at University Softball Field on the campus of Chico State.
The 21st-ranked and fifth-seeded Tritons defeated Northwest Nazarene, the eighth seed, by a 7-3 score in their first game. However, they suffered a 3-0 defeat to 14th-ranked and fourth-seeded California Baptist in an elimination game in the nightcap.
UC San Diego finished its 2018 campaign with a 36-19 overall record, the 16th time the team has posted at least 30 victories in its history.
The Tritons were making their 10th NCAA Division II postseason appearance. They won a national title in 2011 and finished as the national runner-up in 2012.
Playing in their final career game Friday were seniors Kendall Baker, Kelsi Maday, the 2018 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Most Valuable Player, Rachel Phillips, Lauren Sanders, and Kendall Woken.
Game 1: UC San Diego 7, Northwest Nazarene 3
Northwest Nazarene went up early when leadoff batter Anna Williams homered to left in the bottom of the first. The next batter doubled, which was followed by a walk and a wild pitch. UC San Diego worked out of the situation by getting three straight outs on a strikeout, a fly ball, and a pop up.
The next three innings were scoreless for both teams, despite UC San Diego getting its leadoff batter on base in each. The Tritons stranded two runners in the second and one in the third.
Down 1-0, UC San Diego laid down a six-spot in the top of the fifth inning.
Baker led off and reached on a error by the pitcher. She stole second, her team-leading 31st swipe of the season, and took third on a sacrifice bunt. Sherriah Harrington (Chula Vista/Eastlake HS) then doubled to the wall in left-center to plate Baker and tie the game. Harrington stole third and scored when the catcher threw the ball away on the play, giving the Tritons the lead. Three consecutive singles by Maday, Maddy Lewis, and Bobbi Aguirre loaded the bases before Sharona Mataele drew a walk and picked up an RBI, putting UC San Diego up 3-1. Pinch hitter Isabel Lavrov's single drove in what would prove to be the winning run. With two outs, UC San Diego added two more runs on an RBI single by Michele Ota and a wild pitch that allowed Mataele to score.
The Nighthawks got a run back in the bottom half of the fifth. Ivy Hommel walked to lead off. Following two consecutive outs, Hommel stole second and was driven in by a Kylie Orr single. NNU went on to load the bases, but Robyn Wampler got out of the jam when she caught Shelbie Martinez looking.
Maday wasted no time in the top of the sixth, blasting a first pitch home run to left, giving UC San Diego a 7-2 advantage. It was the senior's seventh long ball of the year. The Tritons ended up leaving two runners in scoring position.
With two outs and runners at the corners, Martinez singled up the middle to score Orr. Wampler fanned Abigail Otto for her 11th strikeout of the day to end the game.
For Wampler, the CCAA Freshman of the Year, it was the sixth time this season she struck out at least 10 batters. She walked four in the complete game effort.
The Tritons finished with 11 hits, two apiece for Harrington, Lewis, Maday, and Mataele.
Orr was 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI for the eighth-seeded Nighthawks, who ended their season at 31-23. Reliever Rae Young (5-8) took the loss, giving up six runs (three earned) in 1.1 innings.
Both teams left nine runners on base.
The win kept UC San Diego's all-time record against Northwest Nazarene perfect at 7-0.
Game Two: California Baptist 3, UC San Diego 0
After five scoreless innings, California Baptist struck for three runs in the top of the sixth, all it would need to advance in the double elimination tournament.
With one away, the Lancers put two on via a walk and a hit batter. Amanda Springstead doubled to the fence in left-center to drive in the game's first run. Caitlyn Lloyd followed with an opposite field single to left that put CBU up 2-0. With two outs and runners on the corners, Soraya Shahbazian lined a two-strike pitch off the first baseman's glove that ran down the line, allowing the runner on third to score and make it 3-0.
UC San Diego managed just three hits in the game - two singles by Harrington and a base hit by Mataele. The Tritons stranded three runners on base as Harrington was left on third in the first inning and on first in the sixth inning, while Mataele remained at first in the seventh.
The Lancers left 10 runners on base, including three in the fifth inning.
Wampler (25-10) threw her second complete game of the day, bringing her total innings pitched to 14. She gave up six hits, walked a season-high seven, and struck out nine.
California Baptist will meet Chico State, the top seed, Saturday for the NCAA West 1 Regional title. The Lancers will have to beat the Wildcats twice to keep their season alive.
The winner of the 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.