FRESNO, Calif. – Playing in the first game of the 2019 Fresno State Bulldog Classic on Thursday afternoon, the UC Santa Barbara softball team wasn't able to dig itself out of an early 4-0 hole, eventually falling by a final score of 6-2.
For the fourth time this season, the Gauchos (4-12) came away with a loss despite outhitting their opponent. They finished the game with a 10-9 advantage over the Bulldogs (9-6) in hits, but were only able to produce two runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Sophomore infielder Maci Fines played a part in both of UCSB's runs in the fifth. With her team trailing 4-0, junior Genesis Ramirez started things with a leadoff double down the left field line. Fines would step up to blast a triple to right center on the following at bat, bringing Ramirez home and putting the Gauchos on the board for the first time. It was the Gauchos' fourth triple of the season, and the first of the year for Fines.
UCSB would remain hot to open the fifth as sophomore outfielder Sammy Fabian followed with a single to left field, giving Fines a run of her own to cut the deficit to 4-2. The Gauchos would tally three more hits the rest of the way, but a pair of Bulldog runs in the bottom of the sixth would seal the win for the home side.
Santa Barbara reached double-figures in the hit department for the fifth time this year and for the first time in its last 10 outings. Fabian went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with one RBI. Freshman catcher Teah Thies was the only other Gaucho with multiple hits, going 2-of-3.
Fresno State got out to a great start with three runs in the second inning, all of which came against two outs. A McKenzie Wilson two-run single with the bases loaded opened the scoring, and another single from Miranda Rohleder immediately after would put FSU up 3-0. The Bulldogs would tack on another run in the third, as Aaliyah Cuevas scored on a Vanessa Hernandez double.
All three of the Gauchos' lead pitchers saw time in the circle, tallying one strikeout each. On the other side, former UC Riverside pitcher Hailey Dolcini (5-1) picked up the win after tossing five strikeouts in a complete seven-inning effort.
Next up for UCSB will be a pair of Friday games against California Baptist (11:30 am) and Montana (2:00 pm). While Thursday's game was originally scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. start before being moved up five hours due to weather, the rest of the weekend's schedule remains unchanged at this point.