SAN DIEGO — Usually, it’s the pitching circle where Highland and UCLA grad Rachel Garcia does her best work.
But, in Monday’s Athletes Unlimited AUX Softball Series Two finale, it was her play in the batter’s box that helped her team to a victory.
Garcia accrued 216 leaderboard points after going 1-for-2 with two runs batted in and a run scored along with earning MVP 1 honors as Team Mulipola handed Team Gibson its second straight shutout of the day with a 5-0 verdict at San Diego State University.
Garcia also preserved the shutout by pitching the final two frames, allowing just a walk in the bottom of the seventh inning and striking out two batters.
Georgina Corrick, who earned MVP 2 honors, pitched the first three frames allowing just one hit. Carrie Eberle picked up the win after allowing one walk and striking out two in two innings of relief.
The win allowed Team Mulipola to split its four games in the series, while Team Gibson dropped to 0-4, also losing 3-0 to Team Fischer on Monday.
Team Gibson becomes the first team in AUX Softball history to lose all four of its games in a single series.
Garcia was one of seven Team Mulipola starters to record at least one hit.
Middle infielder Sierra Romero went 2-for-4, while fellow middle infielder Caleigh Clifton added a 2-for-3 effort with a run scored and an RBI to earn MVP 3 honors.
Outfielder Jazmyn Jackson registered the lone hit for Team Gibson in the loss. Pitcher Aleshia Ocasio (0-2) suffered the loss after conceding four runs on four hits over 3.2 innings with two strikeouts.
Team Mulipola used a four-run outburst in the fourth inning to build a 4-0 lead it did not relinquish.
The squad sent nine batters to the plate and used a two-run single by Garcia, an RBI double from Clifton and a run-scoring single by outfielder Haylie McCleney to surge ahead. A double by corner infielder Tori Vidales upped the lead to 5-0 one inning later.
Despite scoring 130 points in the victory, team captain Dejah Mulipola just missed being a team captain for the second straight week and holds fourth place on the league standings heading into the final series.
Garcia earned MVP 1 honors for the second straight day and seems to be finding her stride with one series left.
She earned a team-high 432 points in the four-game series and jumped up 11 spots to No. 16 overall on the leaderboard with 720 total points.
Infielder Sam Fischer, who was the Team Blue captain, is atop the leaderboard with 988 points and will now be the captain of Team Gold for Series Three, which begins on Thursday.
Left-handed pitcher Danielle O’Toole is second with 978 points and will captain Team Orange, while outfielder Morgan Zerkle has 950 points and will captain Team Blue.
The new captains will draft their teams today.