RIVERSIDE, Calif. – UCSB (20-19, 3-2) dropped both games of their doubleheader with UC Riverside (25-12-1, 2-3) on Saturday.
After missing the past eight games, Samantha Stark made her return at catcher and finished with a game-high five hits through the two games.
The teams will finish the series tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. You can follow the game with live stats.
Samantha Stark made an impressive return to game action with three hits, but it was not enough as UC Riverside shutout the Gauchos 4-0 in the first game of their weekend series.
Stark's 3-3 performance at the plate was the best on the team, as she played in her first game after being sidelined for the past eight. Overall, the Gauchos came up with six hits, but left seven runners on base.
Ashley Ludlow (7-8) clocked in six innings of work and was credited with the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) off 12 hits. The senior also dealt a game-high six strikeouts.
The Highlanders got on the board in the first inning after their leadoff hitter moved into scoring position following a sacrifice bunt. This set the table for the team's third and fourth hitters who came up with consecutive RBI hits, giving UCR a 2-0 lead.
Riverside looked like it was going to tack on more runs when it loaded the bases in the second inning. Ludlow had already fanned two batters at that point, as she made sure that all three runners were left stranded thanks to a ground out to second base.
UCSB had its best chance of scoring in the top of the fourth after the team loaded the bases with two outs. After a ground out and a fly out opened the frame, Sierra Altmeyer drew one of her two walks and soon moved to second base after Emily Brucelas connected on a single to left field. Freshman Melanie Menor kept the inning going with another single and loaded the bases, but Highlander pitcher Tayler Misfeldt forced Ashley Wright into a ground out to get out of the jam.
The Highlanders went on to score two more runs and held on to take the first game.
Though UCSB gained a commanding 6-0 lead going into the fourth inning against UC Riverside, it was not enough to hold off the Highlanders who scored at least one run in the last four innings to win in comeback fashion 7-6 at Amy S Harrison Field.
The Gauchos started the game off to a good start scoring four runs in the first inning. With two outs and bases loaded off a walk, error, and hit by pitch, Samantha Stark hit a two RBI single to score Arianna Palomares and Sierra Altmeyer. Emily Brucelas came in to score next at bat after an error by first base. Jessica Tetzlaff brought in one more run during the two out rally with a single into right field.
Kristen Clark tacked onto the lead in the top of the third with a two run double. Though she was tagged out trying to advance to third, both Jacqueline Hinojosa and Melanie Menor were able to score, bringing the Gaucho lead to 6-0.
The Highlanders' offense got going during the fourth inning as they scored their first run of the game. Starting pitcher Veronika Gulvin had only allowed three hits prior to the fourth for the Gauchos.
Gulvin pitched a complete game in the circle for UCSB striking out five, and giving up fourteen hits total to Riverside.
With the score 6-2, Riverside player Haley Harris brought her team to within one run with a three run homer into left field with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.
Down one run going into the seventh, Riverside was able to hold the Gauchos on offense, though Samantha Stark led off the inning with a single to shortstop. Stark, who is recently returning from an injury was 2-4 in the game with one run scored, and two RBIs. Fellow senior Tetzlaff was also 2-4 batting.
Jenna Curtan led off for Riverside with a double down the leftfield line to start the Highlanders last chance at bat. Though Curtan was followed by two outs, Alexis Lockwood singled into right field scoring the tying run. With runners on first and second UCR shortstop Hannah Rodriquez hit a walk off single into right field, ending the game 6-7 and a come from behind win for the home team.