UCSB Takes Two on Thrilling Day at Gaucho Classic II

Maci Fines scored the game-winning run in an 11-inning walk-off thriller against Seattle on Sunday (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Maci Fines scored the game-winning run in an 11-inning walk-off thriller against Seattle on Sunday (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara softball team picked up a pair of victories on Sunday behind a pair of gutsy pitching performances, a six-inning run-rule shutout and a thrilling walk-off in 11 innings in Gaucho Classic II action at Campus Diamond. A complete game shutout from Veronika Gulvin and a big five-run fifth helped the Gauchos put away CSU Bakersfield 8-0 in the first game of the day before a wild finish gave UCSB a 5-4 win over Seattle as the sun set.

With the wins, UCSB improves to 12-18 and has now won four of its last five games.

Game 1

Gulvin (4-7) was lights out in the circle for the Gauchos, tossing a complete game shutout while scattering six hits and striking out three to kick off the second day of tournament action.

After two scoreless innings to start the game, UCSB broke through with two runs in the third on RBI singles from Alyssa Diaz and Sierra Altmeyer.

The Gauchos proceeded to break the game wide open with a five spot in the fifth after loading the bases early and taking advantage of a hit by pitch to Genesis Ramirez and a pair of walks to Rayna Cohen and Samantha Lujan to bring runners home. Alyssa Lazatin highlighted the scoring outburst with a two-RBI single to left center during the frame.

With a 7-0 lead heading to the bottom of the sixth, Sammy Fabian led off with a single, stole second, and came around to end the game on a Melanie Menor single to center.

UCSB tallied nine hits at the plate, led by two apiece from Menor and Diaz. Fabian and Menor both scored a game-high two runs while Lazatin led all players with two RBIs.  

Game 2

After making her first career start at Campus Diamond yesterday, freshman Emily Schuttish (2-0) pitched the most impressive, if not the best, game of her collegiate career on Sunday against the Redhawks. The Napa, Calif. native had only thrown 15.1 innings entering this weekend and she threw 11 on Sunday alone, limiting Seattle's offense to just six hits and one earned run while striking out three and earning the second win of her career.

UCSB strung together three hits in the first inning and utilized its speed with a double steal as Fabian raced home to put the Gauchos ahead 1-0 early.

The score would hold until Seattle's Madison Cathcart, the nation's leading homerun hitter, got a hold of her 17th of the season to tie the game 1-1 in the sixth.

Unable to put a rally together in the seventh, the two teams would head to extra innings where the back-and-forth battle would ensue.

With a runner placed on second due to tiebreaker rules, the Redhawks capitalized on their first chance and snagged a brief 2-1 lead.

The Gauchos responded right away, with Altmeyer executing a sacrifice bunt to move Diaz to third, who scored on a Cohen RBI single.

Seattle used a sac bunt and a fielder's choice to bring home the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, and threatened for more with a runner on third and just one out, but Schuttish got the Gauchos out of the jam with a fly out to right and a key strikeout of the Redhawks' leadoff hitter.

UCSB had its back against the wall in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, but a crucial Seattle error allowed Maci Fines to score the tying run, yet again, and the teams would head to the 10th.

Both the Redhawks and Gauchos came up empty in the 10th, but Seattle would take a 4-3 lead on a run in the 11th. The Redhawks threatened to widen their lead with runners on the corner, but a critical "runner left early" call ended the inning.

In the bottom of the 11th, Cohen was placed on second and Fines reached on an error and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Trailing 4-3 with two outs and two on in scoring position, Fabian hit a ground ball between the first and second basemen. As the second basemen raced over, the ball kicked off the tip of her glove and scooted into right field, allowing Fines to race around and score the winning run.

Fabian, Menor, Altmeyer, Cohen and Lazatin each tallied a hit apiece for the Gauchos.

The 11 innings mark the longest game for the Gauchos since a 13-inning affair at Long Beach State on Apr. 30, 2011.

UCSB concludes Gaucho Classic II play tomorrow with doubleheader against Seattle, beginning at 8:30 a.m.