Gauchos Sweep Friday Competition with 5-4 Comeback over Santa Clara, 6-3 Win Versus Seattle

Jessica Johnston (Photo by Scott Quintard)
Jessica Johnston (Photo by Scott Quintard)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UCSB (17-15) swept their Second Day action at the Gaucho Classic II with a 5-4 extra inning comeback thriller with Santa Clara (5-24) and a 6-3 downing of Seattle (13-9).

Jessica Johnston led the Gauchos with five total hits, including a 3-4 performance against Santa Clara. Kristen Clark made history with her two hits versus Seattle, as that moved her into second place in UCSB's all-time hits list. With 209 hits, the junior passed Tonya Dias (97-00) to take sole possession of the two-spot, and she is now 49 hits shy of Christine Ramos's (06-09) program record mark of 258.

SANTA CLARA

The Gauchos won their first game Friday in walk off fashion after battling through eight innings with Santa Clara.

Defensively, UCSB was put to the test with multiple Gauchos wowing the crowd with diving catches in the outfield. The first one came in the top of the first when Stacy Cavazos laid out in right center for the final out. Later in the seventh, Kristen Clark completed a three up, three down inning with a diving play near the left field line. 

Santa Clara was the first to find the scoreboard and picked up a 4-0 lead going into the sixth inning when UCSB's offense came to life.

The Gauchos strung together five hits to start the sixth, which would lead to three runs. With both Jessica Johnston and Sierra Altmeyer reaching base on singles, Emily Brucelas sent Johnston home and gave UCSB two runners in scoring position. The Gauchos got some help from Bronco pitcher Micaela Vierra (3-11) who threw a wild pitch that allowed Altmeyer to score. Brucelas eventually came around to score courtesy of an RBI single up the middle from Jacqueline Hinojosa.

This cut the Santa Clara lead down to one run heading into the seventh inning. Clark's lunging catch held the Broncos to just three at bats in the frame despite their lead off double from Casandra Padilla. The threat of a runner in scoring position was short lived after Arianna Palomares hauled in a lazy pop up and quickly touched second base to beat Padilla for the twin killing.

After completing the unassisted double play, Palomares came through for the Gauchos at the plate, as she led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to right center. Jessica Tetzlaff then pinch ran for her and would score in the following at bat with Jessica Johnston's triple down the right field line. On the play, Johnston attempted to stretch the play into a home run, but was tagged out after a bullet throw right fielder Amanda Delfino beat her to the plate. It was UCSB's first out of the inning, but the following two outs came quickly with a fly out and a foul out, pushing the game into extras. 

Because of tournament rules, a runner was placed on second base for each team. Santa Clara moved their runner over to third base on a sacrifice bunt, but she would never reach home. Veronika Gulvin (5-8) maintained the tie with a strikeout of Gianaetta France and later threw out Geenamarie Bonilla on her attempt to steal second in between batters.

Emily Brucelas started on second for UCSB and was bunted over to third by Hinojosa to begin the bottom of the eighth. Samantha Lujan then walked to put runners on the corners for the Gauchos, which set the table for Melanie Menor's walk off single. On the play, the freshman delivered a flare into shallow center field, easily sending Brucelas home for the 5-4 victory.

SEATTLE

After suffering a 2-0 loss to Seattle on Thursday, the Gauchos evened the weekend series with the Redhawks after downing them 6-3. UCSB recorded a combined 13 hits in the game, besting Seattle in the category by seven. 

While four Gauchos tied for the team lead of two hits, all but one UCSB batter picked up a hit in the game.

Still feeling the momentum of their comeback win over Santa Clara, the Gauchos carried over that offense to a hot start against the Redhawks with four runs through the first two innings. 

Kristen Clark led off with a single chopped to the shortstop and moved into scoring position following a sacrifice bunt from Arianna Palomares. Jessica Johnston then delivered the game's first run with a double blasted to deep left field. The sophomore would not remain on the bags too long, as Sierra Altmeyer followed her up with a single poked up the middle.

Later in the inning the Gauchos found themselves with runners on the corners, but were unable to bring them home. However, the team picked up right where they left off in the second inning, as Johnston yet again came up with the big scoring play to answer Seattle's two-run bomb from the top half of the inning.

Clark's second single of the game moved Stacy Cavazos to second, as both players moved into scoring position after a Palomares groundout. This set the stage for Johnston who came through a bases clearing single to right field. 

The Redhawks encroached on UCSB's lead with another run in the third inning, but the Gauchos' work in the bottom of the fourth would give them enough room to finish the game on top.

Cavzos led off the inning with a double blasted to left center and later moved to third after a throwing error during Clark's at bat. The left fielder later set up UCSB's next scoring play, as she stole second base taking away attention from Cavazos who dashed over to home plate on the throw down to second. Cavazos easily beat the throw from second, which also allowed Clark to move to third.

With their next run just 60 feet away, Johnston provided UCSB with another run on a groundout to second base. In total, Johnston finished the game with four of the Gauchos' five RBIs.

Not to be overlooked, Ashley Ludlow (5-5) kept Seattle's offense at bay with a complete game effort, allowing just six hits and three runs (two unearned). The senior also fanned six batters.