SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara softball team set a program record with 10 walks against No. 18 Long Beach State on Sunday afternoon, but it would not be enough as the 49ers held off the Gauchos 4-1 at Campus Diamond to complete the series sweep.
Facing Cielo Meza (20-3, 1.39 ERA), one of the top pitchers in the nation, for the second straight day, the Gauchos worked numerous full counts and grinded out eight walks against the sophomore ace alone. UCSB leadoff hitter Genesis Ramirez walked in all four of her plate appearances, tying the Gauchos' individual single-game record.
Long Beach State (36-9, 10-2 Big West) threatened early on, loading the bases in the top of the first inning with just one out. Alyssa Lazatin put an end to the rally, however, with a stellar double play after making a tough catch down the right field line and doubling up the runner at first.
After two scoreless innings, the 49ers used a leadoff double and a sac fly later in the inning to bring home the first run of the game.
UCSB looked to respond in the bottom half of the frame, getting a leadoff walk from Ramirez, a single from Alyssa Diaz and another walk from Sierra Altmeyer to load the bases with just one out. Meza, however, struck out the next two batters to halt the Gauchos rally.
LBSU tacked on two more in the fourth on a solo homerun and an RBI double to take a 3-0 advantage.
The 49ers responded with another run in the sixth to make it 4-1 and held off the Gauchos in the final two innings to seal the win.
Meza finished with an obscure line of eight walks and eight strikeouts while picking up her 20th win of the season. The Gauchos countered with Veronika Gulvin and Emily Schuttish in the circle, combining to allow four runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Altmeyer and Lujan walked twice to go along with Ramirez's four free trips. Diaz, Fines, Lazatin and Melanie Menor finished with one hit apiece to lead UCSB at the plate.
The Gauchos (17-28, 4-8 Big West) embark on a six-game road trip, beginning with a conference series at CSUN starting with a doubleheader on Saturday, Apr. 28 at 1:00 p.m.