ST. GEORGE, Utah – UCSB (8-10) outhit both of its opponents on day two of the St. George Red Desert Classic, earning wins over Nevada (11-6), 5-1, and Southern Utah (2-10), 5-3. The Gauchos have now won four straight games on their trip to Utah.
Facing the Thunderbirds in their second and final game of the day, the Gauchos found themselves trailing early after giving up three runs in the top of the first inning. While Southern Utah wouldn't find another run for the rest of the day, UCSB was fortunate to form a quick response.
In the bottom of the first, sophomore second baseman Sierra Altmeyer fired off her team-leading fourth home run of the season, also scoring a run from junior outfielder Jessica Johnston to make it 3-2. UCSB would tie things up in the following inning, as senior outfielder Jacqueline Hinojosa brought freshman Kayla Krantz home with a single to left field.
After going scoreless in the third and fourth innings, UCSB took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth, courtesy of a hit from Johnston, who went a perfect 4-4 at the plate with two RBIs and one run. Having already reached second on an error and a steal, senior left fielder Kristen Clark gave the Gauchos a 4-3 advantage off Johnston's single up the middle.
Johnston would add to UCSB's lead once again in the sixth, this time bringing Hinojosa home to make it 5-3. Junior pitcher Lena Mayer (1-1), who was on the mound for all but one out, earned her first win of the season, tallying three strikeouts and allowing three hits and zero runs.
Santa Barbara had seven hits to Southern Utah's five and finished with zero errors for the third time in four games. The win also improved UCSB's record to 7-2 in games decided by two runs or less.
While the Gauchos fell behind early against Southern Utah, it was a much different story in their morning game with Nevada, as they shut out the Wolf Pack through five innings on the way to a 5-1 win. Sophomore Veronika Gulvin pitched her first complete game of the season, setting both a career-high and a Gaucho season-high with ten strikeouts.
Following a scoreless draw through two innings, senior third baseman Emily Brucelas got UCSB on the board in the third, scoring on a wild pitch to make it 1-0. Brucelas would double the Gauchos' lead in the fourth, bringing Altmeyer home with a single to left field. Two batters later, redshirt freshman Whitney Pemberton made it 3-0 on a single to left field by Hinojosa.
In the bottom of the fifth, still holding on to a shutout, UCSB took a 5-0 lead off runs from freshman first baseman Alyssa Diaz and Altmeyer. Diaz scored off a sac fly from junior Samantha Lujan, and on the next at bat, Brucelas brought Altmeyer home with her third single of the game.
Brucelas finished a perfect 3-3 at the plate for two RBIs and a run, while Altmeyer went 2-3 with two runs.
UCSB will play its final game of the weekend in a rematch with Nebraska-Omaha at 9 a.m. The Gauchos defeated the Mavericks 4-3 in their first meeting this season at the Stanford Invitational on Feb. 19.