Aztecs' Season Ends With 9-7 Defeat vs. GCU

GCU 9, SDSU 7 Opens in a new window

LOS ANGELES – After a 5-1 defeat to No. 15/17 Virginia Tech on Friday, the San Diego State softball team continued play on Saturday in the Los Angeles Regional of the NCAA Tournament. The third-seeded Aztecs looked to bounce back against the fourth-seeded Grand Canyon Lopes, who were also looking to recover after a 9-0 loss to No. 6/6 host UCLA. Grand Canyon struck first with two runs in the first and another in the third to take an early 3-0 lead. The Aztecs scored four runs over the next two innings to take the lead. The Lopes reclaimed the lead by scoring six runs between the sixth and seventh innings. Down by five runs in the bottom of the seventh, SDSU scored three times and got the tying run in scoring position with the winning run on base but the rally fell short in a 9-7 defeat.
The first batter of the game for the Lopes, Ashley Trierweiler, reached with a headfirst slide on a ground ball to first base. Makaiya Gomez singled to shortstop with Trierweiler reaching third on an error. Gomez moved to second on a groundout. Ramsay Lopez singled back up the middle as Trierweiler scored and Gomez advanced to third base. Both runners advanced on a groundout to Mac Barbara at first base as Grand Canyon took a 2-0 lead. Another groundout to Barbara ended the inning.
In the second inning, Savannah Kirk led off with a ground ball to third base. Katie Goldberg made a sensational stop and Kirk was initially ruled out at first base. After a review, the call was overturned, and Kirk was ruled safe. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tinley Lucas. Kirk moved to third on a groundout to first, but Cece Cellura induced a lineout to Bella Espinoza in left to keep the Lopes off the board.
With one out in the third inning, Kristin Fifield homered to right-center field to extend the Grand Canyon lead to 3-0. Angie Yellen and AJ Murphy both leapt at the wall, but the ball went just beyond their grasps.
The Aztec offense stepped up in the bottom of the inning. Lala Macario singled to right for the first Aztec hit of the game to lead things off. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Makena Brocki. An Espinoza single put runners on the corners for Barbara before Espinoza stole her way into scoring position. Grand Canyon intentionally walked Barbara to face Alyssa Garcia with the bases loaded. She hit one just out of reach of the center fielder, scoring Macario and Espinoza on a single as Barbara advanced to second with the Lope lead down to a run. The next two hitters were retired, stranding Barbara and Garcia.
The Aztecs kept it up in the fourth inning. Murphy led off with a solo homer to left center to tie the game at three. Grand Canyon pulled starter Meghan Golden after allowing three earned runs on four hits across 3+ innings. The pitching change did little to slow down the Aztecs. Angie Yellen followed Murphy with a homer of her own to take a 4-3 lead. The next hitter, Macario reached on a bunt single, advancing to third on a throwing error by Lope catcher Lucas. She was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice and the Aztecs were unable to score again in the fourth.
Allie Light entered the game in the circle for SDSU in the fifth to replace Cellura, who allowed three runs on six hits in four innings. The Lopes had a pair of singles sandwiched around a lineout to the pitcher. The Aztecs got the force out at third base on a grounder to shortstop for the second out. A hit by pitch loaded the bases but Light induced a grounder to second to end the inning.
The Aztecs threatened in the fifth after a walk and an error led to runners on first and second with no outs. Grand Canyon went to the bullpen again as Megan Schumacher replaced Hailey Hudson, who allowed just one run on two hits in her inning of work. Both runners tried to advance two bases on a flyout to the right field corner, but Goldberg was thrown out at home for the second out. A groundout ended the inning.
Grand Canyon struck twice more in the sixth. Kirk led off with a bunt single and reached second on a sacrifice bunt. The next hitter reached on a throwing error, putting runners on the corners. Kirk scored from third on a groundout with another run coming around to score on a Gomez single to make it 5-4. After a walk, Light struck out Lopez looking to end the inning.
Macario singled and Barbara was intentionally walked again in the bottom of the inning, but the Aztecs were unable to score.
In the seventh inning, Kayla Rodgers led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Kirk singled to short and stole second to put two runners in scoring position. Lucas walked to load the bases as Light's day came to a close. She allowed five runs, three earned, on six hits over 2 1/3 innings. Dee Dee Hernandez entered and allowed an earned run on two hits over 2/3 of an inning. Brynn-Jordan Smythe singled to left, scoring a run. Two more runners crossed the plate on a Trierweiler double. The Aztecs got the out at home on a ground ball to second, putting runners on the corners. On a double steal, Smythe scored after escaping a rundown as Trierweiler moved up to third. Hernandez induced a flyout to end the inning.
Trailing by five runs, the Aztecs had a tall task to keep their season alive. Goldberg and Decker singled to put runners on the corners. A Murphy walk loaded the bases for Yellen. She hit a ball deep to center that bounced high off the wall, allowing Goldberg to score. Decker advanced to third and Murphy rounded second but was thrown out returning to the base for the first out of the inning. The next hitter, Macario, singled through the left side to score Decker as Yellen advanced to second. Schumacher was pulled after allowing three earned runs on five hits across 2 1/3 innings. Emily Darwin entered with the tying run coming to the plate. Brocki singled back up the middle to drive in Yellen with the runners moving to second and third on a throwing error by Gomez. Espinoza grounded out to the pitcher to bring the Aztecs down to their last out. Barbara was intentionally walked for a third time to bring Alyssa Garcia to the plate with the bases loaded including the winning run on first. She grounded out to second to bring the Aztec season to a close in a 9-7 defeat.
San Diego State finishes winless in a regional for just the second time in school history, with the other time occurring in 2009.
[4] Grand Canyon 9, [3] San Diego State 7
Grand Canyon (49-12)         201 002 4 – 9 14 3
San Diego State (31-20)       002 200 3 – 7 12 3
W – Schumacher, 5-0; L – Light, 8-6; S – Darwin, 1.
HR: Fifield, GCU (14); Murphy, SDSU (4); Yellen, SDSU (2).