SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- Saturday marked the start of a three-game series at Campus Diamond between the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (17-27,4-7) and the No. 18 Long Beach State 49ers (35-9,8-2) in a doubleheader. The 49ers took the first game of the day in a 5-3 victory. The second game was a 10-2 victory for the
The first game of the series started slow, with both pitchers playing well. Cielo Meza, former Big West Freshman of the Year, started for the 49ers, and allowed three runs in five innings. Emily Schuttish was in the circle for UCSB, and allowed only three earned runs and five hits to one of the most potent offenses in the nation.
The 49ers scored a run in the second inning off a double, and added another two runs off of a Gaucho error in the third.
The fourth inning saw the Gauchos load the bases due to a couple of walks and a single by Sierra Altmeyer, but the Gauchos were unable to convert and score any runs.
The Gauchos did make some noise in the sixth inning, however. Altmeyer walked to lead off the inning, and she advanced to second on a wild pitch. Genesis Ramirez was then hit by a pitch, and advanced to second when Rayna Cohen walked on balls. Melanie Menor hit a sacrifice fly, and Altmeyer scored to put the Gauchos on the board. Samantha Lujan singled to bring Cohen home, and the inning ended with the Gauchos only down by one run.
The 49ers would not be denied the victory, however, and added two more runs in the seventh. Taylor Rowland was hit by a pitch, and then Julia Lombardi hit a two-run home run to secure the win.
UCSB put up a fight in the seventh, and the Gauchos managed to load the bases again. Ramirez grounded out to bring Sammy Fabian home, but UCSB would get two more outs and leave two runners on base to end the game.
Altmeyer led the Gauchos with two hits, and also scored a run. Ramirez, Menor, and Lujan each earned an RBI. In total, the Gauchos earned seven hits on offense.
The UCSB defense played exceptionally well against the team with the best batting average in the entire Big West. The 49ers' .318 average is good enough for 17th in the nation, and the Gauchos only allowed five hits in seven innings.
Cielo Meza picked up the win for LBSU and improves to 19-3. Jessica Flores was credited with her second save of the season. Emily Schuttish gets the loss for UCSB, and falls to 3-5.
Nichole Fry of the 49ers reached first base on a Gaucho error to start the game. Hernandez hit a single to shortstop that advanced Fry to second. Felisha Noriega struck out the next two batters, and then Lombardi kicked off the scoring with a single to center field to bring Fry home.
UCSB's Fabian reached first base from of a leadoff bunt, and advanced to second when Cohen laid down a textbook sacrifice bunt. Altmeyer would go on to double, and bring home Fabian to even the score at 1-1.
Long Beach State scored another run in each of the third and fourth innings, and tacked on three more in the fifth inning. In the sixth, they got a big three-run home run from Rowland to make the score 9-1.
The Gauchos would not go down without a fight, however. Cohen walked to start the sixth inning, and Alyssa Diaz grounded out to advance Cohen to second. Ramirez then hit a deep sacrifice fly to center in order to bring Cohen home. This prevented the Gauchos from losing by the run rule.
In the top of the seventh, Tiger Taylor reached first on a fielder's choice, and then scored on a throwing error on Kasey Hutton's single to make the final score 10-2 for the 49ers.
Sierra Altmeyer led the Gauchos offense, going 2-3 and nabbing an RBI. Ramirez also tacked on an RBI with her sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.
Flores of the 49ers gets the win, and she improved to 8-1. Noriega gets the loss for UCSB and drops to 5-6.
The Gauchos finish the home series against Long Beach State on Sunday. First pitch will be at 1:00 p.m. at Campus Diamond.