SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara softball team dropped a pair of close games to a talented Florida Gulf Coast squad, falling 2-0 in a pitcher's duel before being edged 3-2 in the nightcap at Campus Diamond on Wednesday afternoon.
Junior Veronika Gulvin took to the circle in the first game of the day and went toe-to-toe with Eagles ace Riley Randolph in the low scoring affair. Both teams were scoreless through three until FGCU strung together three singles in the fourth to take a 1-0 lead.
UCSB, meanwhile, was held hitless until the fifth inning when Maci Fines singled, but the Eagles' left fielder made an impressive sliding catch during Samantha Lujan's at-bat to halt the momentum later in the inning.
In the sixth inning, the Eagles cashed in a leadoff double after a sac bunt and a fielder's choice to take a 2-0 lead. Melanie Menor tripled in the bottom half of the inning for UCSB, but the Gauchos could not bring her home.
A pair of singles from Lujan and Sierra Altmeyer, along with a FGCU error, helped the Gauchos put together a rally in the bottom of the seventh, but a play at the plate went in favor of the Eagles and ended the game.
Gulvin (3-6) went the distance for the complete game, allowing just five hits and two runs while striking out five. Randolph (6-2) picked up the win after pitching 6.1 shutout innings allowing just four hits and striking out five.
The second game of the afternoon featured another close, low scoring affair that started off similarly to the first with three scoreless innings to start things off. A pair of RBI hits put the Eagles on the board, 2-0, in the top of the fourth, but the Gauchos responded with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the fourth on a two-run homerun off the bat of Altmeyer.
Alyssa Diaz led off the inning with a double, before Altmeyer left the yard for her second homerun of the season.
The tie score was short-lived as FGCU hit a homerun to lead off the fifth, taking a 3-2 lead while holding off UCSB for the remainder of the game. The Gauchos put the tying run in scoring position after an Alyssa Lazatin single and a Sammy Fabian walk in the bottom of the seventh but came up just short.
Seven different Gauchos tallied one hit in the game, equaling the Eagles hit tally with seven.
UCSB (8-14) is back in action this weekend, beginning Friday, Mar. 9 against No. 17 Cal at 2:30 p.m. at the Bulldog Classic hosted by Fresno State.