Clark Becomes UCSB's All-Time Hits Leader, Gauchos Drop Both Games at LMU Tournament

Kristen Clark (Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge)
Kristen Clark (Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – On a day where UCSB (12-14) dropped both of its contests at the Loyola Marymount Tournament, senior left fielder Kristen Clark's two hits in a 9-5 loss to LMU (10-13) provided a moment to remember. Now with 259 career hits, she moves past Christine Ramos (258, 2006-09) for No. 1 all-time in UCSB program history.

In the Gauchos' first game of the day against No. 9 Oklahoma (22-5), a stout Sooner defense held UCSB to two hits in an 8-1 defeat.

Loyola Marymount

In the second game of the day, both UCSB and LMU recorded a run in two different innings. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, the Lions only needed the first inning to pull ahead for good, as the tournament hosts ripped off eight runs before they had three outs on the board. UCSB, which went through four different pitchers in the first inning alone, gave up six hits, including two home runs, in the bottom of the first.

Things started looking up for the Gauchos in the top of the third, as a pair of hits from sophomore shortstop Melanie Menor and junior outfielder Jessica Johnston were followed by a walk from sophomore second baseman Sierra Altmeyer, loading the bases for the first time. Facing two outs, junior catcher Samantha Lujan and redshirt freshman Whitney Pemberton earned consecutive RBIs on walks with the bases still loaded, making it 8-2.

After LMU added to its lead with a single run in the bottom of the fifth, the Gauchos headed into the bottom of the seventh needing seven runs to head into extra innings. Altmeyer would cut the deficit to 9-3, scoring on a wild pitch. Next, freshman Kayla Krantz would record an RBI on a ground out to third base, bringing freshman first baseman Alyssa Diaz home to make it 9-4.

Immediately after that, senior Stacy Cavazos earned a sac fly RBI as Nicole Marino made it home from third. That would be the last run of the game for UCSB, but the day wasn't over quite yet for the Gauchos.

On the next at bat, Clark – who already had one hit on a bunt in the sixth – knocked a single to third base, moving her past Ramos to become UCSB's all-time hits leader. The senior from Texas, who also has the highest career batting average (.387) of any Gaucho ever, finished 2-5 against the Lions, marking the first time she's had a multi-hit game in her last 11 outings.

Menor and Johnston tied Clark for the game-high with two hits each, as UCSB was outhit 11-7 in the game. The loss was the Gauchos' fourth consecutive dating back to the final two games of the Gaucho Classic I (Mar. 12). 

Oklahoma

Facing the No. 9 ranked Sooners in their first game of the day, the Gauchos managed to stay tied, 1-1, through three and a half innings. That was when Oklahoma's offense turned up the heat, as the Sooners would score four unanswered runs in the bottom of the fourth.

That was followed by three more runs over the next two innings, as Oklahoma took a commanding 8-1 advantage that would eventually become the final score.

The Gauchos were outhit 7-2 in the game, with hits coming from Altmeyer and Lujan. Altmeyer's hit, which came in the top of the fourth, was a solo home run that tied things up at 1-1. It was the sophomore's team-leading fifth homer of the season. The run, which would go down as the only Gaucho run in the game, also gave her a team-leading mark of 21 on the year.

Following the two-game road trip, UCSB will be back home next weekend as it hosts the Gaucho Classic II (Mar. 24-26).