The Gauchos (18-32, 5-12) fell in the series opener 6-2, as the Highlanders (36-16, 8-9) took hold of an early lead and never looked back.
Lena Mayer (6-7) had a fantastic day in the circle with a complete game victory along with tossing 2 1/3 shutout innings in game one. The freshman did not allow a single earned run through her 9 1/3 innings of work and only gave up six hits.
At the plate, Shelby Wisdom led UCSB with three hits, which included a double and a homer with an RBI. She is now the sole owner of the fifth-most doubles in program history with 36 and now sits one dinger shy of tying Tiffany Wright for the second-most in Gaucho lore.
Today was not the only time this season Moore and Wisdom hit consecutive jacks. In fact, they first did it against San Diego (3/31) to pull off the twin bill sweep with a 4-3 win.
In the first game, the Highlanders got to work early in loading up the bases through the first four batters with one out. The first run was put on the board off a sacrifice fly from Rebecca Faulkner. The utility would later earn the save in the game in bailing the Highlanders out of a bases loaded situation in the fifth.
Riverside tacked on two more runs with the help of a fielding error that gave them the 3-0 advantage.
Ludlow contained the Highlander offense for the following three innings, but back-to-back doubles in the fifth brought in three more runs and cued the pitching change that brought in Mayer. The Highlanders only managed a single for the rest of the game with Mayer in the circle.
The Gauchos had their best scoring opportunity in the fifth, as they were able to load the bases with no outs with the top of their lineup on deck. Arianna Palomares seized the opportunity with an RBI single to left field. UCR opted for a change in the circle, as they swapped Chelsea Ponce for Faulkner. The change did the trick, as she ended the inning with a pop up and a punch out.
A single plus a mishandled ball in left field allowed Cavazos to reach second base in leading off the seventh inning. The Gauchos were looking for a late game push, but they were down to one out after a groundout brought Cavazos home. After Palomares drew a walk to keep hopes alive, Faulkner forced a fly out from MeShalon Moore to end the game at 6-2.
Mayer continued her dominant display over the Highlanders in game two, as she allowed on five hits with no earned runs. While UCR was able to capture a 2-0 lead thanks to a sacrifice fly and a RBI groundout, the team never managed to put the game away.
UCSB made them pay for it with the big bats of Moore and Wisdom in the bottom of the sixth. With runners on second and third with one out, Faulkner returned to the circle for relief and faced MeShalon Moore as her first batter. The new arm did not faze Moore, as she uncorked a three-run shot to left center to leapfrog the Highlanders and take hold of a 3-2 lead. Not to be outdone, Wisdom came through with a solo blast that soared over left field in putting UCSB ahead 4-2.
To close out the game, Mayer retired three of four batters in the seventh. Taylor Wright led off with a single poked through the left side, which put the tying run at the plate. But reaching first base was as close as Riverside would get to scoring. Mayer ended the game in recording three straight infield outs.
UCSB will look to take the series tomorrow at noon at Campus Diamond. The rubber match will also be Senior Day for the Gauchos, as Jenessa Jeppesen, DeJanee Moore, and Shelby Wisdom will all be taking part in their final home games with UCSB. The three will be honored in a postgame ceremony.