Squaring off against UC Davis in a Saturday doubleheader, the UC Riverside softball team dropped a pair of games, 3-0 and 4-1, falling to 2-12 in conference play. The Aggie pitching team kept the Riverside bats in check as the Highlanders only tallied seven hits on the day. UC Davis doubled UCR’s production in the category. In the first game, Davis generated three runs in the second inning, which proved to be enough as the visiting team was shut out for the remainder of the game. The second contest followed a similar narrative with the Highlanders struggling to find consistent hitting. UC Riverside only had a single baserunner through four innings en route to a 4-1 defeat. On Sunday, the Highlanders redeem themselves by snapping a five-game losing streak with an 8-2 victory over the Aggies. On the day, five players recorded multiple hits.
With the opportunity to cement their status as a formidable force in the Big West Conference, the Highlanders faced UC Santa Barbara in a weekend series marked by power hitting and crafty pitching. In the first game, the pitching of both squads ran the show as UCR’s Jake Smigelski and Gaucho Justin Jacome went head-to-head, both retiring multiple batters before the Gauchos sealed the game with a three-run seventh inning, scoring six runs on only six hits, 6-2. The second game featured the Highlanders jumping out to an early lead, generating three runs in the first inning alone. The two teams went down to the wire as UCR still led 5-4 after six innings. A pitching change proved to be detrimental for Riverside as the Gauchos scored two runs in the seventh inning en route to a 6-5 win. Like softball, the Highlanders recorded a Sunday win 7-3 over the Gauchos to bring their conference record to 7-5.
The UC Riverside tennis teams competed in the Big West Conference Championships over the weekend at the prestigious Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Serving on the same courts that featured Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal just weeks earlier, the Highlanders competed admirably but both squads bowed out in the opening round of the championships. The men’s team tallied two wins on the day. Cooper Bridge and Sean Yun won their singles matches, but UC Santa Barbara was just too good, claiming the victory 6-2. The women’s squad fared no better as the season concluded with a 4-0 loss to Cal State Fullerton. The Highlanders couldn’t muscle a set off of the Titans in singles or doubles. The men’s team finished the season with a 2-22 record while the women didn’t record a win, 0-20.
Track and field
The UC Riverside track and field team travelled to San Diego over the weekend to compete in the UC San Diego Triton Invitational. Ted Hooper, one of the most decorated athletes on the team, won the long jump, clearing 7.6 meters, only inches off of his best season mark. The 4×400 meter team came in third place with a time of 3 minutes, 21.09 seconds. Caleb Stuart, the Big West Conference field player of the week, threw a top mark of 17.38m, good for fourth place in the shot put. Michael Koger sprinted his way into fourth place in the 400 hurdles, producing a time of 52.19. On the women’s side, Claudia Sepulveda’s time of 1:05.37 was eighth-best in the 400 hurdles while Tayler Fleming came in 17th place in the 100 with a time of 12.46.