Seniors Dani Foster, Catherine Schorn, Kassandra Winger and Nikki Freiberg helped the Pioneers upset No. 10 UCSD on Senior Day.
After honoring its four seniors before the doubleheader, the Cal State East Bay softball team earned an eight-run rule upset of No. 10 UC San Diego in game one before falling in extra innings in game two of its final twinbill of the 2011 season. The Pioneers (24-27, 14-22 CCAA) hit four homeruns in an 11-3 victory in six innings in game one before a pitcher's duel in game two saw UCSD win it in nine innings, 4-1.
Seniors Kassandra Winger, Nikki Freiberg, Catherine Schorn and Dani Foster were superb on their final day in the Pioneer uniform. Both Winger and Freiberg belted homeruns, while the four combined to drive in seven runs and score six in the two games to cap their Cal State East Bay careers.
The Pioneers opened scoring in the bottom of the first inning with a two-run homer from Jamie Yaller. After Winger worked a leadoff walk, Yaller stepped in and parked the first pitch from UCSD starter Jennifer Manuel over the fence in straightaway center to take a 2-0 lead.
Though the Tritons got a run back on an RBI single in the top of the second, Cal State East Bay responded with another pair in the bottom of second. With two outs, Schorn legged out a single to shortstop to put a runner on for Winger. The second baseman sent a high fly ball to left field that Triton leftfielder Katrin Gabriel nearly made a running catch but instead helped the ball over the fence for a two-run homer.
Trailing 4-1, UCSD answered in the top of the third, getting RBI singles from Mya Romero and Charly Swanberg to cut the Pioneer lead to one and knock starter Talia Ferrari from the game in favor of Kelly Lowe.
After a quiet bottom of the third, the Pioneers blew the game wide open in their half of the fourth, scoring six runs on three hits, two walks and an error. With one out, Schorn continued her hot hitting with a single through the left side and Winger followed with her second straight single to put two on for Yaller. The shortstop hit into a fielder's choice, with Schorn being tagged out at third to put runners on first and second with two outs. Emily Montanez worked a walk on a full count and Taylor Neumann followed with another walk to bring in the Pioneers' first run of the inning and extend their lead to 5-3.
With the bases loaded and two outs, designated player Foster hit a groundball to short that was misplayed to bring in Yaller on the error. With the bases still loaded, Freiberg stepped in and sent a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left field for her second homerun of the season and East Bay's fifth grand slam of the year.
Pitching with a 10-3 lead, Lowe no-hit the Tritons and struck out one in the final three innings. Meanwhile, Cal State East Bay used its fourth homerun of the game, this time off the bat of Neumann, to secure the eight-run rule victory in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Lowe picked up her team-leading 10th victory of the season in the win, tossing 3.2 innings of one-hit softball in relief. Ferrari got the no decision, allowing three runs on four hits in 2.1 innings of work. Manuel took the loss, her fourth of the year, after allowing 11 runs on 11 hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
Four Pioneers drove in multiple runs in game one, led by Freiberg's four RBI. The seniors were impressive in their penultimate game in the East Bay uniform, the four combined to go 6-for-11 with six runs and six RBI, led by Winger, who went 2-for-3 with three runs, two RBI and a walk in the leadoff spot. Yaller and Neumann also got in on the fun as well, with Yaller going 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI and Neumann scoring two and driving in two and hitting the game-ending homer in the sixth. East Bay's four homeruns set a new season high and tied the program record.
Game two saw Lowe duke it out with one of the CCAA's top pitchers in Camille Gaito, who entered Saturday with a 0.51 earned run average. The two pitchers held their opponents scoreless through the first three innings, with Lowe tossing a perfect game through four innings.
The Pioneers finally broke through the stalemate in the bottom of the fourth inning. After Montanez led off with a ground-rule double to right, Schorn stepped in with two outs and pinch runner Renaye Gamson on second. The left fielder roped the first pitch she saw into right center to bring around Gamson with an RBI double to give East Bay the 1-0 lead.
Lowe continued to stifle the Triton offense in the top of the fifth, holding onto the no-hitter until the top of the sixth. One swing of the bat from Kris Lesovsky with two outs ended Lowe's no-no bid and tied the game, as Lesovsky parked a 1-2 pitch over the fence in centerfield to even the score at 1-1.
Gaito and Lowe continued to battle it out in the sixth and seventh, with the Pioneers threatening to score in both innings. In the bottom of the sixth, a fielder's choice from Foster and a single from Schorn put two on before Gaito got the final out to end the threat. East Bay had another scoring chance with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, as Winger doubled to deep right center, but Gaito was able to get out of the inning again, sending the game into extras tied 1-1.
UC San Diego got to Lowe in the top of the ninth inning. With two outs, Lowe hit a batter before a Yaller overthrew first on a groundball from Mya Romero to bring around the runner and put Romero on third. A bad throw to third on a pickoff attempt by Neumann brought in Romero to put the Tritons up 3-1 before Swanberg sent a 1-2 pitch over the fence in left field to give UCSD its final 4-1 advantage.
Gaito picked up her 25th victory of the season after allowing just one run on eights hits and striking out 12 in nine innings of work. Lowe took the loss despite tossing a two-hitter and allowing just one earned run while striking out eight.
Winger once again led the Pioneers at the plate, going 3-for-4 to finish the day 5-for-7 with three runs and two RBI. Schorn also continued to have the hot bat getting two hits in four at-bats and driving in East Bay's only run in game two. Schorn finished the day with five hits, one run and an RBI.
Though it loses the four seniors to graduation, Cal State East Bay will return 15 players from this year's squad, including Neumann, who leads the team in RBI, Yaller, who shares the team lead in homeruns with seven, and both Ferrari and Lowe, who each tallied 10 victories in the circle in 2011.