SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UCSB (23-19, 4-3) earned its second consecutive shutout on Friday afternoon, defeating Cal State Northridge (24-14, 4-3) by a final score of 3-0. The high-powered Matador offense, which currently leads the Big West in runs this season, was held to just three hits thanks to a solid performance by Gaucho sophomore pitcher Veronika Gulvin and the rest of the UCSB defense.
The win was Santa Barbara's second straight, giving the Gauchos a 5-2 mark over their last seven outings. Northridge, which entered Friday in a tie for first place after winning seven of its last eight, was shutout for the first time in 31 games dating back to Feb. 17.
Following a slow start to the day's only game, UCSB got hot in the bottom of the third, as each of the home side's first five batters would make their way on base. With runners on second and third, junior outfielder Jessica Johnston stepped up to knock a single up the middle, bringing home senior outfielder Jacqueline Hinojosa to open the scoring at 1-0.
Immediately after that, sophomore second baseman Sierra Altmeyer delivered with a single down the left field line, giving senior left fielder Kristen Clark more than enough time to double the Gauchos' lead on a dash home from third.
Northridge would be held without a hit until the top of the fourth. That would start a run of three consecutive innings with a single hit for the Matadors, but it wasn't enough to make a dent on the UCSB lead.
The Gauchos would again add to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Following a Johnston triple, Altmeyer would earn her second RBI of the day with a sac fly to right field, making it 3-0.
Needing three runs to extend the game, Northridge would instead find outs on its first three at bats in the top of the seventh, giving UCSB its second straight win.
UCSB ended the day with a 7-3 advantage in hits, led by Johnston and freshman third baseman Kayla Krantz, who both finished 2-3 at the plate. Also tallying hits were Hinojosa, Altmeyer, and senior Emily Brucelas. The Matadors suffered a 3-0 disadvantage in errors. However, each of UCSB's three runs would be earned.
Gulvin (17-8) earned a win for the third consecutive start, picking up two strikeouts in the process. Out of UCSB's four shutouts this season – all which have come in the last three weeks – Gulvin has been the starter each time, pitching all 26 innings in those games.
The Gauchos and Matadors will be back in action with a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon, with the first game set to begin at 1 p.m.