Courtesy of UCR Athletics

UCR’s softball team started off their season with a doubleheader Friday, Feb. 8 against Marshall University and Portland State. The two games were a part of the University of San Diego (USD) Tournament that is taking place from Feb. 8-10.

The Highlanders’ first game was against Marshall University who scored four runs in the first three innings on their way to a 5-2 victory. Although Riverside was able to cut the lead in half with two runs in the bottom of the third, they were not able to fully complete the comeback as Marshall added another run in the top of the fourth.

Junior right fielder Danielle Ortega and freshman designated hitter Moana Pisia led UCR with two hits apiece, combining for four of the team’s seven total hits. Senior second baseman Brittney Garcia had the only RBI of the game for the Highlanders which came in the bottom of the third inning.

Just two and a half hours later, Riverside faced off and defeated Portland State in a high scoring 9-8 win. Both teams opened the game with huge first innings. Portland State started the top of the first by scoring five runs, but the Highlanders responded in the bottom of the inning with six. The Vikings added a run in the top of the third inning to tie the score at 6-6, but again UCR responded in the bottom of the third with two more runs thanks to a bunt single by Garcia and a sacrifice fly by junior Emma Ramelot. Portland State added runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to tie the game, but the Highlanders scored the decisive run in the bottom of the sixth to earn the 9-8 victory.

Junior pitcher Melanie Olmos pitched for five innings in her first win of the season against Portland State. Garcia and freshman catcher Jantzen Owen led UCR in RBI with two each. Senior shortstop Hannah Rodriguez, freshman outfielder Haylee Kela and Garcia led the team in hits, with all three of them totaling two each. Ortega and Garcia also led the team in runs scored, with both crossing the plate twice each.

On Saturday, Feb. 9, UCR won both games of their doubleheader against the University of San Diego and Marshall University.

In the first game against the University of San Diego, junior Jacy Boles threw a complete game and allowed only two runs in the 6-2 win. USD got on the board first, scoring two runs in the first inning, but the Highlanders were unfazed and scored six unanswered runs. Garcia once again had a big game, totaling a team-high three hits and one RBI.

The second game against Marshall University was a lot closer, but Riverside was able to pull out a 5-4 victory. Junior pitcher Haley Marschall earned her first win of the year and pitched a complete game. The Highlanders were up 5-1 after the top of the sixth inning, but Marshall bounced back by scoring three runs and cutting the deficit to only one run. However this was as close as it would get as neither team scored in the final inning. This was an impressive win for UCR considering they only had three hits in the whole game, compared to eight from Marshall University.

The Highlander softball team will next play in the Stacy Winsberg Tournament on Friday, Feb. 15-17.