Patti Gerckens
NCAA Photos

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- UC San Diego head coach Patti Gerckens earned her 500th career victory as the 20th-ranked Tritons beat Cal State San Bernardino 3-2 in the opening game, but fell short 5-4 in the evening affair in California Collegiate Athletic Association play on Saturday at Coyote Park.

The Tritons took the series 3-1 and move to 15-7 overall, 11-5 in CCAA play. The Coyotes sit at 8-13, 4-8.

Gerckens is now 500-440 in 20 seasons. She holds 381 more victories than any other coach in UCSD softball history.

UCSD scored its three runs in the top of the first inning in the opening game. Camille Gaito (9-3) limited the Coyotes to four hits, struck out four and was tagged for two earned runs.

The Tritons loaded the bases in the first inning with one out on Kris Leosvsky’s single, a walk to Mya Romero and an infield single by Charly Swanberg. Nicole Spangler and Caitlin Brown then drew consecutive walks to force in UCSD’s first two runs. Dyanna Imoto followed with a ground ball up the middle and Swanberg scored when the second baseman stepped on her bag for the second out of the inning.

UCSD managed one hit the rest of the way -- Emily McQuaid’s bunt single in the fourth inning. The Coyotes scored once in the fourth and once in the sixth, but Gaito retired the side in order in the seventh to polish off her eighth complete game.

In the final game of the teams’ four-game set, CSUSB struck with two runs in the first off Triton starter Jennifer Manuel (1-1). With runners at second and third and one out, Jamie Leffingwell placed a bunt to the pitcher. The play at the plate was late and Alex Mitchell gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead. One batter later, Alyssa Flores had a sacrifice bunt to score Charlotte Galzote, who had reached on an error.

Tess Granath’s sacrifice fly to center field in the fourth scored Annie Heskett to cut the Triton deficit in half, but CSUSB’s Courtney Wilhelms lead off the bottom half of the inning with a solo home run to put the Coyotes up 3-1. CSUSB went up by four in the next inning on Flores’ two-out, two-run homer to left center off UCSD reliever Michelle Escamilla.

Down 5-1 in their final at-bat, the Tritons rallied to make a game of it. Lesovsky doubled and Kirsten Willmon singled before Swanberg doubled to plate Lesovsky and make it 5-2. After Manuel was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Brown doubled to left, bringing home Willmon and Swanberg to leave the Tritons down by one.

Monique Portugal drew a walk and once again the Tritons loaded the bases with one out. However, CSUSB’s Wilhelms, who came on in relief in the seventh, forced Granath into an infield fly before McQuaid ended the game when she stepped out of the batter's box attempting to hit.