Gauchos Drop 4-3 Eight-Inning Heartbreaker at UC Riverside

Kristen Clark (Photo by Scott Quintard)
Kristen Clark (Photo by Scott Quintard)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- On Sunday, for the second straight game, UCSB (20-20, 3-3) lost by just a single run to UC Riverside, closing out the second weekend of Big West play with a 4-3 road loss to the Highlanders.

The Gauchos finished the weekend 0-3 at UCR, this coming just one week after going a perfect 3-0 at home against Cal Poly in their conference-opening series.

After erasing an early 2-0 deficit, things were looking good for Santa Barbara in the top of the seventh inning when junior center fielder Kristen Clark scored on a solo home run to center field to give the Gauchos a 3-2 lead. The homer was Clark's second of the season and the 17th for the team.

Unfortunately for UCSB, Riverside answered right back in the bottom of the seventh. With the bases loaded,sophomore catcherChelsey Holley hit a single that allowed junior right fielder Madeline Richard to tie the game on an unearned run.

In the eighth and final inning, the Highlanders' Courtnie Ploesch scored off a single by freshman shortstop Hannah Rodriguez to give her team the 4-3 victory.

Senior pitcher Ashley Ludlow (7-9) finished with six strikeouts while giving up zero earned runs.

On the opposing mound, sophomore pitcher Tayler Misfeldt (17-8) improved on her impressive record while notching four strikeouts and pitching a full eight innings.

Facing freshman pitcher Veronika Gulvin to open the game, Riverside got out to a quick start thanks to a two-run homer by Natalie Sanchez in the bottom of the first. Ludlow would then replace Gulvin moving forward, keeping Riverside scoreless until the final two innin

After managing just one hit through the first three innings, UCSB got on the board in the fourth. Arianna Palomares scored the Gauchos' first run of the game off a single up the middle by Emily Brucelas with the bases loaded.

Palomares was once again involved in the UCSB offense  in the top of the fifth with a single to right field that brought Jacqueline Hinojosa home, tying the game at 2-2. 

Clark and Palomares finished with efficient hitting nights of 2-3 and 3-4, respectively, with both tallying one run and RBI each.

Brucelas also had a solid outing, finishing 2-4 with one RB

For the Highlanders, Richard finished a perfect 3-3 with two runs.