Gaucho Offense Explodes in Blue-Green Series Win as Fabian Makes HIstory

Sammy Fabian (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Sammy Fabian (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara softball team closed out the 2019 regular season on a high note on Saturday at Cal Poly's Bob Janssen Field, setting a season-high with 14 hits in a 9-1 win.

The Gauchos (10-42, 4-17) claimed both their first series win and first run-rule victory since the start of Big West play, downing the Mustangs (11-40, 5-16) in just five innings.

Accounting for a significant share of the 14 hits was left fielder Sammy Fabian, who went a perfect 4-of-4 at the plate for the second time in her career. She also tallied two RBIs for the first time this season.

The first run of the game would come from Fabian in the top of the first. After leading off with a single to shortstop, she and freshman Ally Nodohara both scored on a double down the left field line by junior Devan Sperry.

UCSB's offense would remain hot in the second inning, as it put up four more runs on five hits. A Fabian double to right center with the bases loaded doubled the Gaucho lead, resulting in runs from freshman Teah Thies and junior Kayla Krantz to make it 4-0.

Soon after that, Sperry stepped up once again, knocking her second two-run shot of the day with a single right up the middle to bring home freshman Tyler Goldstein and Fabian. That put UCSB up by six runs.

The Gauchos didn't take their foot off the gas pedal, going up by nine runs in the top of the fifth. Senior Melanie Menor hit an RBI single to right field to bring home sophomore Maci Fines. Menor would later score on a Mustang error. Thies would put the finishing touches on the Gaucho scoring assault via an RBI single through the right side by junior Carissa Felix.

Junior pitcher Felisha Noriega earned her team-leading seventh win of the year, tossing three strikeouts while giving up just one hit in four innings. Senior Veronika Gulvin closed things out in the circle. After entering in the fifth, she would tally one strikeout and keep the Gauchos up by eight runs to end the game two innings early.

Menor finished with two hits on the day as she capped off her senior year strong with multi-hit outings in four of her last eight appearances.

Sperry, who didn't play until the Gauchos' Big West opener against Cal State Fullerton, would also come on very strong down the stretch. The former Utah State Aggie ended the season with the team's second-highest batting average (.308) and a UCSB-high 11 RBIs during conference play. Over her last four games alone, she went 8-for-14 (.571) with seven RBIs. Her four-RBI performance in Saturday's season finale was the first for any Gaucho since Teah Thies had four against Sacramento State on the opening day of the season.

Fabian ends her sophomore campaign with a hit in seven straight games and a .404 batting average, the latter placing her at No. 3 in program history. The Glendale, Calif. native joins Kristen Clark (2014, 2016) and Christine Ramos (2009) as the only Gauchos to ever bat over .400 in a single season.