Moraga, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara's four-game road trip was met with a rocky start as the Gauchos were shut out by St. Mary's 2-0 on Wednesday. This is the second straight loss for UCSB.
Against the Gaels, only two Gauchos hit safely to get on base. This marks the second game in a row that UCSB was held scoreless while being limited to three or fewer hits.
Jessica Reichner made the first Gaucho hit of the game when she dropped a single into right field. The junior went on to steal second base successfully for the fourth time this season.
The Gauchos may have had their best chance to score in the top of the third inning. Jessica Soria hit a leadoff single to centerfield, but she was later called out for leaving first base too early in her attempt to steal second. Following her, Arianna Palomares and Kathryn Pilpil both drew walks, putting runners on first and second. Now with one out, Shelby Wisdom grounded out to second base, but moved both Palomares and Pipil into scoring position. Keilani Jennings next came up to the plate, but the Gauchos' top power hitter went down swinging to end the inning.
In the team's first Wednesday game of the season, Alex Pingree was given the start in the circle. The freshman pitched well early on, only allowing two hits through the first three innings. She even showed poise beyond her years during the bottom of the third.
Pingree gave up a triple to the Gaels' leadoff batter, Loralie Fitzpatrick, to start the inning. With the score still tied at zero, St. Mary's were threatening to score with no outs. But the young pitcher wasn't rattled by the situation, as she successfully retired the next three batters, leaving Fitzpatrick stranded at third and keeping the Gaels scoreless.
The fourth inning, though, would tell a different story.
With the game still tied 0-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the Gauchos started the inning by recording two quick outs. The third batter of the inning, Shannon Low, connected for her first hit of the day with a double down the right field line. Christine Torrise would finish the job for St. Mary's as she crushed a ball over the center field wall for a two-run homer, putting the Gaels on top 2-0.
Andriana Collins was called in for relief during the following inning after Pingree hit a batter and gave up a single down the left field line. The junior was able to get the Gauchos out of the fifth unscathed, but UCSB's offense needed to capitalize.
St. Mary's was leading 2-0, but the Gauchos simply couldn't respond. UCSB went hitless for the duration of the game, which sealed the home victory for the Gaels.
Alex Pingree was credited with the loss as she gave up two earned runs off five hits. Coming out of the bullpen, Collins recorded one strikeout and allowed no hits in 1.2 innings of work.
UCSB continues its road trip in Stockton to take on the Pacific Tigers in a three-game series beginning with a doubleheader on Friday. It will be the last time the Gauchos visit the Tigers as conference opponents as Pacific will be moving to the West Coast Conference next season.