SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Northern Colorado (9-16) ended UCSB's (12-12) run of eight straight wins on the final day of the Gaucho Classic I, defeating the Gauchos 6-5 and 7-1 in their first home doubleheader of the season.
It took a while for someone to scratch in the day's opening game, but in the top of the fifth, the Bears got hot, picking up six runs on four hits. The first two runs came on a double from senior Erica Dick, while the next four came on a grand slam from sophomore Jordyn Wiatrak, making it 6-0.
The Gauchos would be quick to respond, as they poured in four runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth, stringing together six hits in the inning. A single from sophomore shortstop Melanie Menor brought home senior outfielder Stacy Cavazos to open the scoring for UCSB.
Senior left fielder Kristen Clark and Menor would score on the next two at bats, which saw sophomore second baseman Sierra Altmeyer knock a single to left field before junior outfielder Jessica Johnston hit a double to left center, cutting the lead to 6-3. Immediately after that, Altmeyer scored on a single from junior catcher Samantha Lujan.
UCSB managed to hold the Bears scoreless through the seventh, but they still needed two runs to head into extra innings. Their sole run in the bottom of the seventh came from Johnston, as she cut the deficit to 6-5 on another single from Lujan. However, with three runners on base, UCSB's comeback attempt fell just short.
Altmeyer led the way with three hits on four at bats, while Lujan had a team-high two RBIs, going 2-4 at the plate. Johnston was a perfect 2-2, while Menor, Cavazos and senior Jacqueline Hinojosa all finished 2-4.
Clark went 1-4 with a run. Now with 257 career hits, she needs just two more to break the all-time Gaucho hits record.
UCSB ended up with a season-high 15 hits, marking the third straight game with at least 11, but the home side left ten runners on base. The Gauchos also had zero errors, compared to four for Northern Colorado.
After opening the scoring with a run from Menor on a sac fly by Altmeyer in the bottom of the first, UCSB's offense went cold in its second game of the day. The Bears ended the game on a 7-0 run to take a 7-1 victory.
This time, it was Northern Colorado that went error-free, while the Gauchos ended up with three. The first of those errors came in the top of the third, as the Bears took the lead with two runs.
Northern Colorado would add to its lead in the top of the fifth, making it 4-1 on a two-run homer from junior Rachel Johnson. The sixth inning saw two more Gaucho errors lead to three unearned runs for the Bears.
The two teams tied with five hits apiece. Menor, Johnston, Lujan, Hinojosa and freshman Genesis Ramirez all tallied one hit.
UCSB will play its next two games later this week, when it travels to the Loyola Marymount Tournament to face Oklahoma and LMU on Thursday. The Gauchos' next home games will be during the Gaucho Classic II (Mar. 24-26).