SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara scored three runs in the first inning and never looked back, rolling to an 11-0 Big West Conference win over visiting UC Riverside on Sunday afternoon.
The Gauchos (22-19 overall, 3-3 in the Big West) got to UCR (20-15, 2-4) starter Taylor Misfeldt for three runs and three hits in the first inning. After Kristen Clark lofted a one out double to right center, Jessica Johnston drilled an RBI single to center. The play at the plate was not in time and Johnston moved into second base.
Sierra Altmmeyer walked to put runners on first and second but Emily Brucelas knocked into a force play with Johnston out at third base. That brought up Alyssa Diaz who promptly drilled a two-run double into right field, giving UCSB a 3-0 lead.
After a scoreless second, Santa Barbara would tack-on four more runs in the third with Samantha Lujan delivering a run scoring single and Melanie Menor doubling in a run. the Gauchos also scored one run on a wild pitch and another on an error by Highlander catcher Chelsey Holley.
UCSB produced another four-run inning in the fourth and, once again, it was Diaz with one of the key blows.
Johnston started the rally with a one-out singe to right and she was chased home by Altmeyer who doubled just inside the right field line. Brucelas bounced a single to center with Altmeyer moving to third. Riverside then brought in Rebecca Faulkner, its fourth pitcher of the game, and she was greeted witha two-run triple to right by Diaz. Later in the inning, Menor singled Diaz home with the game's final run.
Diaz paced UCSB offensively by going 2-for-2 with a double, a triple and four RBI. She also walked and scored a pair of runs. Johnston, Altmeyer, Brucelas, Lujan and Menor also had two hits apiece with Brucelas scoring a trio of runs. By going 2-for-2, Altmeyer raised her batting average to .395.
While the Gauchos were cruising offensively, their starting pitcher Veronika Gulvin was also on point. Gulvin improved to 16-8 while allowing just four hits and no walks through her five inning appearance.
UCSB returns to action onFriday-Saturday, April 14-15 when it hosts Cal State Northridge in a three-game series. Because of the Easter holiday, there will be a doubleheader on Friday with game one scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and game two set for 3:30. The single game on Saturday will begin at 1:00 p.m.