February 8, 2008

Gauchos Drop Season-Opener to Nevada, 5-4

Feb. 8, 2008

Box Score

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team failed to overcome Nevada, falling 5-4 on Friday afternoon in its season-opening game at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament being held at UCLA this weekend.

With the loss, the Gauchos open the season at 0-1 while Nevada improves to 1-1 overall. The Gauchos continue to lead the all-time series against the Wolf Pack, 5-4.

Sophomore pitcher Lindsey Correa took the loss after pitching a complete seven innings and allowing five earned runs on four hits with five strikeouts and six walks. Nevada pitcher Katie Holverson picked up the win after allowing just one earned run on seven hits with two walks and a game-high nine strikeouts.

Junior Tiffany Wright went 1-for-3 at the plate for the Gauchos with two RBI, while senior Tisha Duran was 1-for-4 with a home run.

Correa got the game off on the right foot as she struck out the first two Nevada batters looking and retired the third on a ground out to second base. At the bottom of the first, sophomore Jessica Ziegler singled to first base with one out to post the first Gaucho hit of the season. The next two batters were retired in order to end the first with a 0-0 tie.

After walking the first two batters in the second, Correa and the Gauchos escaped the inning without any Nevada hits or runs, preserving the 0-0 deadlock. Freshman Jessica Beristianos singled to right field with one out and then stole second, but the next two Gauchos went down in order to end the inning scoreless.

Nevada's Kristin Stith earned a walk to open the third inning and then stole second. A single to left field from teammate Tyler Schafer sent Stith home for the first run of the game.

The Gauchos responded at the bottom of the third as junior Nicole Churnock led-off with a walk. Christine Ramos was able to reach on a Wolf Pack error during a bunt to put two runners on. Ziegler laid down a sacrifice bunt of her own advancing both runners to scoring position. A single from Tiffany Wright two plays later drove both Churnock and Ramos home for a 2-1 Gaucho lead.

Nevada would not stay behind for long as a RBI single to center field from Sam Bias tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning. The next inning and a half remained scoreless before a homer to left field from Kelsey Starr with two runners on-base put Nevada ahead 5-2 at the top of the fifth.

Duran responded with a homerun of her own at the bottom of the inning to cut the deficit to just two runs. At the top of the seventh, UCSB took the three Nevada batters down in order. With two outs in the bottom, Ziegler earned a walk before freshman Katie McWhirter singled to left field. A pitch hit Wright, loading the bases. An error by the Nevada shortstop allowed Duran to reach first and brought home Ziegler, unearned. The next Gaucho batter popped up to third base leaving three runners stranded and ending the game. The final score was 5-4 for Nevada.

UCSB will play No. 5 Oklahoma in Friday's nightcap before finishing action at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament on Saturday with games against Santa Clara and host No. 14 UCLA.

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