Gauchos Sweep Second Day Action at Arizona Hillenbrand Invitational

Kristen Clark (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Kristen Clark (Photo by Tony Mastres)

TUCSON, Ariz. – UCSB (2-2) swept its competition on the second day of the Arizona Hillenbrand Invitational with a 10-1 win over Southern Utah and a 6-3 victory against North Texas.

The Gauchos offense continued to click after scoring 25 runs on Friday, as they mercy-ruled the Thunderbirds in five innings and managed a comeback effort in their contest with the Mean Green.

While the team picked up a combined 22 hits in both games, each Gaucho batter recorded at least two hits. Kristen Clark led the way with four hits – going 4-8 overall – while Jacqueline Hinojosa and Melanie Menor had three hits apiece.

Veronika Gulvin (1-2) had an outstanding day in circle. First, the freshman came up with her first collegiate victory in a complete game effort against Southern Utah, while she latter closed out UCSB's win over North Texas by retiring four of the five batters she faced.

SOUTHERN UTAH

With six runs in the first inning, the Gauchos picked up its first win of the year after pounding Southern Utah 10-1 in a mercy rule victory.

Continuing with the offensive firepower from Friday, UCSB recorded its second double-digit scoring game of the tournament after collecting 11 hits, 10 RBIs, and two home runs. It was a true team effort, as every Gaucho who made a plate appearance came up with a hit.

Kristen Clark paced the Gauchos with three hits (3-4) and also scored a run. Supplying the big hits for Santa Barbara were Stacy Cavazos and Samantha Stark with their respective two-run homers.

In the circle, Veronika Gulvin (1-2) earned her first win as a Gaucho after striking out six Thunderbirds and allowing only one earned run in a complete game effort.

Despite the early start time, the UCSB offense was wide-awake from the first pitch. Playing as the visiting team, Clark opened the game with a single to the pitcher and later stole second. This set a trend for the Gauchos, as the team dominated the inning with small ball tactics. Together, the team tallied five hits (all singles) in the inning and also picked up a pair of steals.

After Jessica Johnston provided UCSB's first run with an RBI single to right field, the Gauchos received some help from Southern Utah pitcher Kirsten Hostetler who gave UCSB their second and third runs of the game after walking Emily Brucelas with the bases loaded and following that with a hit by pitch on Stark.

Those mistakes were enough for the Thunderbirds to make a change in the circle, as they sent in Cheyenne Cudahy with the bases loaded. But again, Southern Utah surrendered another walk and left the bases juiced for Melanie Menor.

The freshman then put the finishing touches on superb inning with a two-RBI single to left field, giving the Gauchos an early commanding lead at 6-0.

Southern Utah was unable to respond, as Gulvin went three-up, three-down through the first two innings.

Meanwhile, UCSB's kept pouring on the runs with Caavazos's two-run shot. It was the junior's second home run of the season. The inning opened with Jacqueline Hinojosa reaching base with an infield single and was later moved into scoring position with Menor's sacrifice bunt.

Later in the fourth, Stark made it a nine-run game with a two-run blast of her own, giving UCSB a mercy rule advantage.

Through the rest of the way, Gulvin continued to stifle the Thunderbirds in allowing only two more hits and only saw one runner reach scoring position.

NORTH TEXAS

The Gauchos earned their second win of the day in a 6-3 victory over North Texas at the Arizona Hillenbrand Invitational.

Though the Mean Green took an early 1-0 lead in the first, and added one more run in the third inning, three runs in the top of the fourth inning got the Gauchos started on offense, and they never looked back, as all nine players contributed at least one hit in the game. 

Sierra Altmeyer scored the first run for the Gauchos in the fourth after an RBI double to centerfield by Emily Brucelas. The junior then scored on an RBI single to right field by Samantha Stark.  Jacqueline Hinojosa beat out a throw on a bunt to first, advancing to second on a passed ball allowing Stark to end up standing on third. Stark would then score on an RBI single to left field by freshman Melanie Menor, who was tagged out heading to second on the play.

The hitting continued into the fifth as Stacy Cavazos started out the inning with a single up the middle. Kristen Clark followed with a single down the left field line, and both players advanced to third and second off a wild pitch. Arianna Palomares brought both Cavazos and Clark home with an RBI double into left field, causing pitcher Stacey Underwood to be replaced by Jessica Elder for North Texas. 

The Gauchos tacked on one more run in the top of the sixth after a single by Hinojosa was followed up by an RBI single down the right field line by Menor – her second hit and RBI of the game – to give UCSB a 6-2 lead.

North Texas scored one run in the bottom of the sixth with a sacrifice fly into right field, but Veronika Gulvin ended their scoring with a strike out to end the inning.

Not only was it a productive day at the plate for the Gauchos, but in the pitching circle as well. Four pitchers made an appearance allowing only three runs on five hits, with Lena Mayer (1-0) pitching three innings and picking up the win.

UCSB will close out their tournament schedule tomorrow with a 12 p.m. game versus Arizona. The Wildcats are so far undefeated this weekend at 3-0. To follow the game, you can access the video stream or the live stats.