SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Sierra Altmeyer had three hits, including her eighth home run of the season, to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 4-2 win over UC Riverside in the first game of a softball doubleheader on Saturday and then the Highlanders rebounded with a 12-1 win in game two.
In game one, the Gauchos (21-19 overall, 2-3 in the Big West) got the jump on UCR (20-14, 2-3) with two runs in the second inning.
After Emily Brucelas led off with a double down the left field line, Kayla Krantz bounced back to the Highlander pitcher Taylor Misfeldt who looked to third base, anticipating Brucelas was headed there, but she was not and the play to first was late, putting runners on first and second. A sacrifice by Samantha Lujan put two runners in scoring position and Melanie Menor cashed them both in with a single to left.
Altmeyer made it 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth when she blasted a home run over the fence in right field.
Riverside scored a pair of unearned runs off of UCSB starter and winning pitcher Veronika Gulvin (14-8) in the bottom of the sixth to close within 3-2, but the Gauchos responded with a run of their own in the bottom half when Altmeyer singled home Jacqueline Hinojosa who opened the inning with a base hit.
Gulvin got the Highlanders out 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh to end the game.
Game two started out on an ominous note for Santa Barbara when, in the bottom of the first with the game scoreless, Altmeyer hit a blast to left center field for what looked like her ninth home run of the season, but UCR center fielder Jenna Curtan made a spectacular leaping grab above the fence, robbing Altmeyer.
Highlander catcher Chelsey Holley started the scoring in the top of the second inning when she hit a wind-blown home run to right field. Hinojosa, UCSB's right fielder, seemed to have a chance to make the grab as she jumped at the fence with her glove outstretched, but she couldn't quite hold on and the ball and the score was 1-0.
Riverside blew the game open with eight runs on seven hits and three Gaucho errors in the third inning, taking an insurmountable 9-0 lead.
UCSB loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the third, but scored just one run on a ground out by Altmeyer. Haley Marschall, who relieved UCR starter Jacy Boles with the bases loaded in the third, got out of the trouble and ultimately pitched 3.0 scoreless innings to record the win. Starter Ashley Wright was tagged with the loss for the Gauchos, who were led offensively by Kayla Krantz who was 2-for-2.
Game two was stopped after five innings of play.
UCSB and UCR will complete their three-game Big West series on Sunday afternoon at Campus Diamond. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m.