Gaito’s consistency steadies UCSD
Needham goes 5 for 5 for UAH, including two home runs
SALEM, Va. -- Another win is in the books for UC-San Diego pitcher Camille Gaito. The junior, who helped to lead the squad to a 4-2 victory on Friday in its second contest at the DII Softball Championship, has thrown every pitch for the Tritons in the NCAA tournament.
“I feel good,” Gaito said. “I mean I kind of expected to [throw every game] so that helps. It’s not so surprising to me right now that I am throwing them all. I just hope I can keep it up.”
After a dominating performance on the mound on opening day, including eight strikeouts, only two hits allowed and no runs scored, day two would not prove to be as easy. Minnesota State-Mankato went up 2-0 early and finished the game with 10 hits, four more than the victorious Tritons.
“This team was a bit more aggressive than the last,” Gaito said. “Unfortunately when they were aggressive they made contact a lot of the time. And I wasn’t hitting my spots quite as well as I was yesterday. So the aggressiveness, being a little less accurate proved to be a bit painful.”
Gaito is not the only pitcher in her family. Her father, Bill, was a collegiate pitcher at Bucknell and has been heavily involved in her softball career. As a high school and travel squad coach, he helped guide her early on in her pitching development.
“All my work is done so I just get to watch,” Bill Gaito said. “It used to be that I was her coach, and helped her with her pitching. The last couple of years she has matured into someone who can take care of that all by herself.”
And her growth on the hill even has him a little green with envy as he added, chuckling: “I feel pure pride. A little jealousy that I wasn’t as good as she is.”
Thankfully, Gaito will now have a day to rest, as the Tritons are set to hit the field again on Sunday at noon ET. With UC-San Diego the only remaining team with no losses in the NCAA tournament, hopefully the Tritons can use the streak to their advantage and keep the momentum going.
“It feels good to know that we have played good ball and now we have a day off and we’re going to make the most of that and prepare for the next games,” said coach Patti Gerckens.
Best of the Day
Friday, the bats were on fire across the board, but Whitney Toler’s consistency in her complete-game effort helped to hurl Alabama-Huntsville past North Georgia in the 14-2 ousting. Though giving up 10 hits, the Chargers only allowed two runners to score. Toler also added five strikeouts in the win.
Unquestionably the top hitter of the day was Alabama-Huntsville first baseman Stephanie Needham. She went 5 for 5 on Friday in the Chargers’ 14-2 win, sending two over the fence with three RBIs.
UC-San Diego fell behind early, trailing 2-0 against Minnesota-State Mankato. In the top of the 4th inning, Jennifer Manuel went to bat for Katrin Gabriel, sending a single to right center that forced two across the plate tying up the game. Two more scored, including Manuel, later in the fourth putting the score at 4-2, which would end up being the final runs of the game.
• Throwing for her second complete game in as many days, UC-San Diego pitcher Camille Gaito gave up five hits in the final four innings but did not allow a run.
• Minnesota-Mankato handed UC-San Diego its first deficit in Salem, before the eventual 4-2 comeback win for the Tritons.
• With Alabama-Huntsville’s victory, which was a No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup, North Georgia has lost all four contests against the Chargers this season.
• Alabama-Huntsville first baseman Stephanie Needham hit two out of the park against North Georgia, tying the finals series record for home runs in a game. Previous to Friday, Needham had only seven home runs all season.
• Needham also set new finals series individual records for runs scored with four, and for hits in a game with five.
• All but one UAH player taking an at-bat on Friday left the game with a hit against the Saints.
• Pinch hitter Sam Deep hit only her second homer of her career for Alabama-Huntsville.
• Alabama-Huntsville set the finals series record for runs scored with 14, previously held by Lock Haven at 13 set in 2006.