SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara softball team kicked off the annual Gaucho Classic I with a doubleheader split against the University of Dayton. In the first game of the day and home opener for UCSB, the Flyers rallied for three runs late in an 8-5 victory before the Gauchos bounced back with an 8-0 mercy-rule win to cap off day one at Campus Diamond.
Making her home debut, freshman Sammy Fabian led off the game with a triple to left and was cashed in later in the inning after Sierra Altmeyer came through with a two-out infield single to give UCSB an early 1-0 lead.
Dayton responded with a big three-run third inning, highlighted by a two-run homerun to right field by Abby Ehrenborg. The Flyers tacked on two more in the fourth with a pair of RBI hits and had a 5-1 lead in the blink of an eye.
The Gauchos would not go down quietly and rallied for three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth, sparked by a Melanie Menor homerun. Maci Fines also came through with an RBI triple to right center and an RBI groundout from Alyssa Diaz brought Fines home.
Trailing by a run in the bottom of the sixth, Samantha Lujan led off the frame with a walk followed by a bunt single from Rayna Cohen. After the next two batters were erased, Fabian singled to load the bases with two outs. Fines stepped up to the plate and was hit by a pitch to bring home the tying run.
In the seventh, however, Dayton collected three runs on four hits and the Gauchos were unable to put a rally together in the seventh, falling 8-5.
Veronika Gulvin (1-2) was tagged with the loss after being responsible for the go-ahead runner in the seventh. Lena Mayer pitched the rest of the seventh and Felisha Noriega started the game in the cirle and went 2.2 innings, allowing three runs on five hits.
At the plate, Fabian was an impressive 4-for-4 with two doubles, a triple and two runs scored while Fines went 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
Fabian picked up where she left off, starting game two with a single to center, and after Altmeyer walked later in the inning, Genesis Ramirez drove them both home with a two-RBI double to right.
A Kayla Krantz RBI in the second scored Cohen, who singled earlier in the inning and UCSB jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
After a scoreless third and fourth, the Gauchos loaded the bases in the fifth and brought two more runs home on RBIs from Cohen and Samantha Lujan.
Adding to its tally, UCSB scored three in the seventh, ending the game in "walk-off" fashion via the mercy rule after yet another RBI single from Cohen.
Cohen finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs and Fabian went 3-for-4 with two more runs to cap off a 7-for-8 performance on the day. Diaz, Altmeyer and Menor all finished with two hits apiece.
Mayer (3-1) went the distance, earning the complete game shutout after striking out six, walking just one, and allowing only three hits.
UCSB outhit the Flyers 14-3 in the game.
Gaucho Classic I action continues tomorrow with a Dayton vs. San Diego doubleheader beginning at 12:00 p.m.
UCSB (6-7) is back in action on Saturday in a game against San Diego at 2:30 p.m.