SALEM, Va. – UC-San Diego jumped on the board early and never looked back, winning the 2011 NCAA Division II Softball National Championship by a 10-3 score against Alabama Huntsville Monday afternoon.
The victory marked UC-San Diego’s first softball national title.
Camille Gaito stifled the hot-hitting Chargers while the Tritons’ bats were the hottest they had been all tournament.
Gaito got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first and her team responded by giving her more than enough run support in the bottom half of the frame.
With one out and runners on first and second, the Tritons swiped second and third. Krystal Johnson rifled the ball toward third base, but it was thrown wide of the bag and ended up in left field. That allowed Kris Lesovsky to trot home for a 1-0 UC San Diego lead.
The Tritons were far from done. After Jennifer De Fazio walked and a fly ball resulted for the second out of the frame, Tess Granath singled home Sarah Woofter, who had earned her way on base by being hit by a pitch for a 2-0 advantage.
UC-San Diego (45-13) continued to pour it on in the first. Esther Strom ripped a double down the right field line, plating De Fazio and Granath, increasing the margin to 4-0. Katrin Gabriel’s single to left center brought home Strom. A pop fly ended the stanza, but not after the Tritons amassed five runs on three hits.
UAH (48-6-1) had a chance to close out the second inning unscathed but a dropped foul ball proved costly by keeping the inning alive. De Fazio singled up the middle allowing Woofter to scamper to third. Swanberg blooped a single to right on an 0-2 pitch driving in a run. Granath then barely got the ball into the outfield but with UAH playing in, the ball dropped. That scored De Fazio for a 7-0 lead.
Strom sliced a bleeder over the shortstop’s outstretched glove for an 8-0 margin. On the throw home, runners moved to second and third. Gabriel slapped a shot into left for a 9-0 lead before UAH brought in Whitney Gilbert to pitch for Whitney Toler. Toler gave up nine runs on nine hits with just five runs earned. She struck out two and walked two.
De Fazio added to the lead in the third, ripping a single into right that allowed Lesovsky to score for the 10-0 lead. Lesovsky had led off the inning and reached on base after being hit by a pitch.
UAH plated three runs in the top of the seventh but it was not enough as Gaito completed what she started. The hurler gave up three runs on nine hits on the day. She struck out seven while walking just three.
For the game, Woofter led the team with three hits. Strom amassed three RBI while Granath and Gabriel each had two in the win.
Mary Kelley and Emily Roach each drove in a run for UAH while Kelli Long, Johnson and Kelley all crossed home in the loss.