Gauchos Fall to No. 17 Cal, Fresno State to Begin Bulldog Classic

Melanie Menor (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Melanie Menor (Photo by Tony Mastres)

FRESNO, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara softball team took on a pair of challenging opponents to begin the Bulldog Classic on Friday night, falling 12-2 in five innings via the run rule to No. 17 Cal before dropping an 8-0 matchup in six innings against host Fresno State.

Game 1
UCSB (8-16) squared off against the Golden Bears (20-3) for the third time this season, and went up against pitcher Zoe Conley for the second time. Familiar with Conley from her Big West days with CSUN, the former Freshman Pitcher of the Year limited the Gauchos to just three hits in a complete game 2-0 shutout in their first meeting. On Friday, UCSB managed eight hits and a pair of runs, but the Cal offense provided early run support to give the Golden Bears a quick lead.

Cal put up five runs behind a pair of doubles and a three-run homerun in the first inning and followed with a run in the second, a run in the third, four runs in the fourth and another run in the fifth.

The Gauchos scored their pair of runs in the fourth after an error extended the inning and Sammy Fabian along with Melanie Menor came through with an RBI single apiece.

Veronika Gulvin (3-7) received the loss after starting the game and allowing four early runs, although just one earned after an early error. Lilliana Rodriguez also made an appearance, but it was Lena Mayer that pitched the bulk of the game going 4.1 innings.

At the plate, Fabian went 3-for-3 while Menor and Sierra Altmeyer both finished 2-for-3. Samantha Lujan finished 1-for-2 with a run scored.

Conley (9-3) struck out three on eight hits in all five innings.

Game 2
The second game of the day pitted UCSB against host Fresno State under the lights at Margie Wright Diamond where the Gauchos were held to just one hit in the 8-0 shutout.

Felisha Noriega started strong in the circle for UCSB, but after three scoreless innings, the Bulldogs broke through for five runs on three hits in the fourth. After tacking on another in the fifth, Fresno State pitcher Savannah Mchellon hit a two-run "walk-off" homerun to end the game via run rule in the sixth.

In the circle, Mchellon was nearly flawless facing just three more than the minimum, walking two and allowing one hit while striking out three in the complete game shutout.

Lujan was the lone Gaucho to record a hit, coming in the fifth inning.

Noriega fell to 2-5 on the year after going 3.2 innings allowing three hits and five runs with one walk and one strikeout. Emily Schuttish pitched the final 1.2 innings in relief.

UCSB continues Bulldog Classic action tomorrow, Saturday, Mar. 10 with a doubleheader against Monmouth beginning at 10:00 a.m. at Fresno City College. The original tournament schedule was altered due to forecasted rain.