SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UCSB (17-16) battled San Diego (14-21) close through eight innings, but the Toreros' late game push was enough to take the 4-2 decision.
Emily Brucelas led the Gauchos with two hits, including a double, while Sierra Altmeyer delivered the team's biggest hit with a towering solo home run to center field. As a team, UCSB combined for six hits and a walk, while six runners were left on base.
In the circle, Veronika Gulvin threw the first five innings and fanned a game-high three batters, but was replaced by Ashley Ludlow (5-6) after giving up a lead off home run in the top of the sixth. Ludlow was credited the loss after tossing the final three innings and gave up three runs (two earned) off six hits.
The Gauchos tacked on their first run in the opening inning with a sac fly from Arianna Palomares. Clark led off with an infield single and found herself at third base following a stolen base and wild pitch, all during Palomares's at bat. The junior was then sent home after Palomares hit a deep fly ball to left field.
After a pair of scoreless frames, UCSB picked up a 2-0 lead after Altmeyer connected on her third home run of the year. With one out, the freshman cranked a moon shot to dead center to add to the Gaucho lead. She was followed up by Brucelas's double to right center, continuing with the big hit momentum. However, the two-base knock prompted a pitching change for San Diego, which resulted in two straight outs to end the inning.
With no runs scored in the fifth, the Toreros finally found the scoreboard in the sixth, which started with a solo home run from lead off hitter Olivia Sandusky. San Diego later put runners on the corners and scored one more run off a fielder's choice hit to second base. Samantha Lujan then ended the inning by throwing out Tatum Schultz on her attempt to steal second base.
San Diego threatened to score again in the seventh, but clutch defense from UCSB preserved the 2-2 tie. After a lead off double, the Toreros again found themselves with runners on first and third with no outs. Ludlow kept them waiting with a strikeout and later tagged out Shannon McKeon on her attempt to score from third on a sacrifice bunt. To end the inning, Ludlow forced Sandusky into a easy foul out to Lujan behind the dish.
In the bottom of the seventh, the first two Gauchos grounded out, but their hopes were kept alive as Stacy Cavazos's grounder went between the second baseman's legs and into right center, sending the speedster to third. Clark nearly came up with the walk off single after slapping the ball to second base, but the junior was called out on a close call at first.
A pair of RBI singles from San Diego made the difference in the eighth inning, as the Gauchos went three up, three down to end the game.
UCSB will be back at Campus Diamond this Tuesday to host Loyola Marymount at 2 p.m. Tickets are available now at the Intercollegiate Athletics Building, on the phone at 805.893.UCSB (8272), or online here.