Softball dominates home opener with a shut-out win over San Diego State

UC Riverside women’s softball earned their first shut-out win of the season in a 5-0 victory over San Diego State University (4-3) on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at Amy Harrison Field. The home opener improves the Highlanders record to 3-3 after they opened their season at the California State, Fullerton Titan Classic Tournament from Feb. 7 to 9. 

The Highlanders defended against the Aztecs from the start. In the top of the first, San Diego State junior first baseman Taylor Adams reached base safely on a two-out single and her teammate junior third baseman Kelsey Munoz followed with a four-pitch walk. The Highlanders scored first after the ninth batter in the lineup, sophomore center fielder Haylee Kela, hit a triple, moving freshman infielder Lauryn Garewal up a base after she had previously reached base on a fielder’s choice. Starting pitcher senior Melanie Olmos ended the inning by getting Aztec sophomore utility player Summer Hargett to fly out to left field to end the inning.

Freshman pitcher Briza Blanco came in to relieve Olmos in the top of the second inning and allowed four hits.

In the fourth inning, the Highlander bats caught fire. UCR scored four runs while still holding the Aztecs off of the scoreboard. The inning was highlighted by Olmos who hit a 1-0 pitch far over the center-field fence to give UCR a 2-0 advantage. Later in the fourth, senior third baseman Emma Ramelot delivered a run batted in before senior first baseman Sarah Parten struck a two-run single to close out the scoring.

In the sixth, senior pitcher Jacy Boles shut down the Aztecs over the final two halves to preserve the 5-0 lead. Boles hit San Diego State junior first basewoman Taylor Adams with a pitch and Munoz hit a single to centerfield looking to chase Riverside freshman pitcher Briza Blanco from the game. Hargett successfully moved both runners up a base after a long hit to center field, but the Aztecs still could not get a run across the plate against the Highlander pitching. Boles pitched to San Diego State junior outfielder Alexa Schultz who hit a fly ball to right-center field that wasn’t deep enough to score. Boles struck out San Diego State sophomore centerfielder Sara Lillie to end the inning and the game. Parten finished the game with a team-high two RBI and Blanco earned her first collegiate win against SDSU.

This game was a stand-alone, outside of the Highlander Classic that was held Feb. 14 to 16. During the tournament Riverside (5-3) went undefeated in their two games. On day one, the Highlanders defeated Idaho State University (3-7) in a close 2-1 game. Riverside kept the winning momentum as they went on to defeat Santa Clara University (4-4) 6-4. 

Next, the Highlanders will compete in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The tournament will take place in Cathedral City, California from Feb. 20 until Feb. 23. There, the Highlanders will face University of New Mexico, Brigham Young University, Mississippi State University, University of Utah and Oregon State University.