Softball finishes third in Big West for first time in program history

Courtesy of UCR Athletics

Game one: UCR 4 – CSUF 2

The UC Riverside softball team (33-22, 10-11) won its sixth straight game Friday night as the Highlanders downed the Big West’s top-ranked team, Cal State Fullerton (33-23, 18-3), 4-2 in the first game of a three-game series. The Highlanders shined offensively in their first night game, broadcasted on ESPNU, as the team collected two early runs and out-hit the Titans 6-3. This six-game win streak matches the season-best by the Highlanders.

Freshman Hailey Dolcini got the start on the mound for UCR, and tossed a complete game while only allowing three hits and two runs to the Titans, neither of which were earned. Dolcini made timely pitches all night, striking out eight batters and leaving six runners stranded.

UCR took an early lead by getting the first three batters on base and scoring two runs in the first inning. Senior Jenna Curtan led-off the game with a walk, and was soon moved to third off a double from junior Hannah Rodriguez. Sophomore Emma Ramelot then delivered a single to leftfield to drive in the UCR runners to give them a 2-0 lead.

Riverside would add another run in the top of the third inning as senior Chelsea Holley brought home fellow fourth-year Jenae Lockwood following Lockwood’s triple.

Fullerton would remain scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning where they added two runs off a pair of UCR errors to cut the lead 3-2.

Curtan’s crafty base-running would distract the Titan defense and brought in sophomore Danielle Ortega to touch home in the top of the seventh. This would be the final scoring effort for either team on the night as UCR held on to win 4-2.

Curtan had a perfect night, going 1-for-1 at the plate with three walks. Ramelot collected two RBI and Hannah Rodriguez continued her hit streak adding a double, an RBI and a run. UCR scattered its six hits across six different players.

Game two: UCR 0 – CSUF 8

The first game of the doubleheader saw CSUF take the early lead, jumping out to a 6-0 lead on six hits in the bottom of the first. UCR was held to just two hits throughout the game, both coming from Lockwood who went 2-for-2 at the plate.

Hopes of a late comeback would be cut short for the Highlanders as the Titans added two more runs over three innings. The 8-0 lead put the run-rule effect into play, resulting in the game ending in five innings. This loss marks an end to UCR’s six-game win streak, the longest Big West win streak in the program’s history. It also served as the clincher for the Titans, as they needed a win and a Long Beach State loss to secure first place in the conference.

Game three: UCR 1 – CSUF 2

Nevertheless, the second game of the doubleheader still needed to be played, and it took the entire eight innings to decide. Fullerton wound up on top again in a tightly contested 2-1 win.

Dolcini managed to keep the game close, holding the Titans to just a single run throughout seven innings. But timely hits in the bottom of the eighth from CSUF would ultimately be the difference-maker.

This doubleheader marks the end of a stellar regular season for the Highlanders. UCR ended with the most wins since the 2015 season, finishing with a 33-22 record overall, 10-11 in conference. This also marks the first time that the Highlanders have ended the year in the top-three of the conference standings.

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