Gauchos Drop Two Close Games to Rutgers, Pitt

Gauchos Drop Two Close Games to Rutgers, Pitt

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. –UCSB (3-6) fell in consecutive one-run games to Rutgers and Pittsburgh in the second day of the Gaucho Classic. 

Behind her clutch two-run home run, Samantha Stark led UCSB with three RBI, while Kristen Clark, Jenessa Jeppesen, and Arianna Palmores all collected three hits each. 

The Gauchos will close out tournament play tomorrow with St. Mary's starting at 11:15 a.m. at Campus Diamond.

RUTGERS

Samantha Stark's game-tying two-run blast forced extra innings, but Rutgers was able to edge the Gauchos 6-5 in the second day of the Gaucho Classic.

With UCSB facing two outs and a 5-3 Rutgers lead, Stark represented the game-tying run when she approached the plate. Following some patient batting and a deep ball pulled left of the foul pole, the junior was facing a full count and down to the Gauchos' final strike. But despite the pressure, Stark rose to the occasion with the clutch homer, which she blasted over left field and pushed the game into extras.

Including her that homer, she led the Gauchos with three RBI with her 2-4 hitting performance at the plate. Jenessa Jeppesen topped the game with three hits, while Kristen Clark recorded a pair of singles.

In the circle, Ashley Ludlow pitched the majority of the game (7.2 innings) in allowing two earned runs and dealing three strikeouts.

Rutgers got going early in loading the bases with its first three batters. Rebecca Hall drove in the game's opening run with a sacrifice fly hit to left field, while Melanie Slowinksi singled to shallow center field to reload the bases.

To get out of the jam, UCSB brought in junior pitcher Ashley Ludlow who kept the ball in the infield and also threw a punch out. The first at bat was a fielder's choice that produced the Scarlet Knights' final run of the inning, but Ludlow breezed through the following two batters to limit Rutger's rally.

In the bottom half of the inning, MeShalon Moore sent Clark home off a two-out double that carried into left center, putting UCSB within a run.

The Gauchos would not tie the score until the following inning on a wild play. With one out Stacy Cavazos at second, Jessica Johnston blooped a single to center field, but found herself at third base after Jackie Bates had the ball roll between her legs. The error sent Cavazos home for the game-tying run, but the Gauchos would leave Johnston stranded at third following a strike out and a fly out.

After a pair of quiet innings, the Gauchos took the lead for the first time with Stark's first RBI of the day. Setting the stage for the play, Emily Brucelas patiently drew a walk, while MeShalon Moore took a pitch to the back to put runners on first and second.

Rutgers then made a quick response in scoring three runs over the following two innings, but Stark's two-run shot would momentarily save the Gauchos as the game moved into the eighth inning. Rutgers sealed the win in scoring off an error while UCSB was unable to drive DeJanee Moore in from third base.

PITTSBURGH 

After an extra inning loss to Rutgers, UC Santa Barbara (3-6) came back to Campus Diamond against an undefeated Pittsburgh Panthers squad (9-0). Losing to Pitt in day one of the Gaucho Classic, 6-0, Santa Barbara nearly avenged its previous loss to the Panthers. Allowing 14 hits to Pitt, the Gaucho offense kept the game tight, before falling 5-4.

Being designated as the visitors, the Gauchos faced freshman pitcher Kayla Harris in the top of the first. After a one hit frame, junior pitcher Alex Pingree started off in the mound for UCSB. Allowing the lead-off hitter on base with a single, Pingree relied on the infield to play solid defense in the opening moments of the match. With two outs and a runner on second, third baseman Jenna Modic singled up the middle to bring home the game's first run.

Down 1-0, UCSB was unable to record a runner on base in the top of the second. The Panthers kept things rolling as infield freshman McKayla Taylor blasted a leadoff homer. Up 2-0, Pitt kept working Pingree with a two out double. Despite the double and the possible third run home, left fielder Kristen Clark delivered a beautiful throw to home to force the end of the inning.

Jessica Johnston started the top of the third with a single, and with two fielder's choice plays in the inning, the Gauchos settled into a bases loaded, one out situation. Shortstop Emily Brucelas delivered a single to left field, bringing in home Jaqueline Hinojosa and Johnston to tie the match.

The match scored at 2-2, the Panthers were on the cusp of taking back the lead in the bottom of the third. After a double and a stolen base, sophomore Kaitlin Manuel scored after an unfortunate error on a short hop in the infield.

The Gauchos answered right back in the top of the fourth frame. With runners on first and second with two outs, Kristen Clark singled to left field to load the bases. Facing replacement pitcher Savannah King, UCSB took the lead off a two RBI single by Arianna Palomares.

Leading 4-3, UCSB could not hold onto the lead as Kaitlin Manuel an RBI single to tie the match, 4-4. Going back and forth, the pitching of both teams displayed dominance in the next two innings.

In the final frame of the match, UCSB could not find any offense as King retired the Gaucho side for a quick one, two, three outing.

After a ground out and a single to right field, Pitt looked to seal the deal in the final inning. With a runner on first and second and one out, senior outfielder Jordan Fannin singled up the middle to bring home the winning run of the match.

Despite two RBI's apiece by Palomares and Brucelas, the Gauchos fell just short of getting the win, losing 5-4 to the Panthers.