Saturday, April 13
Highlanders 6 – Aztecs 5
The Highlanders took on the San Diego State Aztecs April 13 at the Amy S. Harrison Field and came away with a 6-5 home victory in come-from-behind fashion. The Highlanders finally won a game after losing 10 tough matches in a row with inconsistent pitching and offense. UCR improved its record to 16-24 while the Aztecs fell to 24-16.
The game provided edge-of-your-seat action as each team notched runs from dramatic homers and battled against each other’s gutty pitching. Ashley Ercolano took the mound for the Highlanders, looking to log some quality innings. Ercolano was matched up against Aztec pitcher Danielle O’Toole, who has dominated opponents with an ERA under two this season. Both pitchers showed maturity as they escaped jams in the first inning to come out scoreless.
Alexis Pickett reached on a bunt to lead off the bottom of the second inning and was moved up to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Marissa Escalante. Brittanie Akey came up with the first clutch hit of the day and knocked Pickett in on a single just out of the reach of the Aztec middle infielders.
The Aztecs would come right back in the third and tie the game, as Monica Downey reached on an error and moved to third base after two groundouts. Tiffany Corder reached base on an infield single which scored Downey to tie the game.
Rebecca Arbino was brought in to face the Highlander bats in the third inning. A few errors allowed a seemingly harmless single by Nicolette Lujan to turn into a run. However, the Aztecs would come back the very next inning to tie the game at 2-2 as Kayla Bufardeci singled in a run with a shot down the left field line.
The Aztecs would again score in the fifth inning and take a 5-2 lead on three runs, all on a monster shot over the center field fence by Patrice Jackson, who continued her fantastic year. Sophie Slagle would come in to pitch for the Highlanders and retire three straight batters with her great changeup.
Highlander Ercolano hit a big two-run home run to left field in the fifth inning to cut the lead to just one run. Natalie Sanchez would tie the game at 5-5 with her very own home run in the sixth inning.
Ariel Shore knocked in the winning run in the sixth on a single that scored Lujan on a close play at the plate, as the Highlanders escaped with a win.
The Highlander caught up with Head Coach Linda Garza after the game. She was asked about the tough conference play and what this win meant. “It’s great go get back in the win column.,” she said. “SDSU is a quality team and that’s a big win as we head into a busy conference week.”
UCR looks for its first conference win on Wednesday at 1 p.m. versus Cal State Fullerton at Amy S. Harrison Field.