February 24, 2011

UCSB Falls to No. 19 Oklahoma, No. 8 Tennessee

Feb. 24, 2011

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team (6-4) faced a pair of nationally ranked programs on Thursday - the first day of the Cathedral City Classic - and came up short both times. The Gauchos dropped a 9-1 decision to No. 19 Oklahoma State (9-2) before being edged out, 2-0, by No. 8 Tennessee (10-2) later in the day.

The losses mark the Gauchos' first of the season by more than one run. They also marked the first time that UCSB has been out-hit by its competition this year as the Cowgirls posted nine hits to the Gauchos' two and the Lady Vols had a 6-3 advantage.

No. 19 Oklahoma State had a pair of big innings on Friday morning that led the Cowgirls to a 9-1 run-rule win over the Gauchos.

At the bottom of the first inning, Mariah Gearhart led off with a walk and then stole two bases. A sac fly to center field by Alysia Hamilton drove Gearhart home for the early 1-0 lead.

The Gauchos evened the score at the top of the third when Kelly McDonald - who was hit by a pitch - advanced on a McKenzie Kane's ground out and then a single by Brooke Putich before Kathryn Pilpil's sac fly drove her home.

The tie score didn't last for long as Oklahoma State loaded the bases on a base hit and a pair of walks to open the bottom of the third. A grand slam by Chelsea Garcia over the left field fence put the Cowgirls up, 5-1. They scored again at the bottom of the fourth when Garcia drove in Tamara Brown with a single to left field.

UCSB got two runners on at the top of the fifth when McDonald reached on a passed ball and Kane laid down a bunt single, but the next two batters were struck out to end the inning.

Oklahoma State closed the door at the top of the fifth. Ari Morrison hit a single through the right side to score Amy Graham - who reached base on balls to lead off - and then Julie Ward singled up the middle to send Gearhart and Morrison home for the mercy-rule win.

Krista Cob (2-1) took the loss after tossing the first two innings and giving up five runs on five hits. She walked five and struck out two. Andriana Collins closed the game, tossing 2.1 innings and allowing four runs - three earned - on five hits. She walked three and struck out three.

Simone Freeman (4-2) got the win for Oklahoma State. She pitched five innings and allowed just one earned run on two hits. She walked two and fanned eight of the 21 batters she faced.

UCSB regrouped after the loss and had a respectable showing against perennial powerhouse Tennessee. After a scoreless first three innings, the Lady Vols got on the board at the bottom of the fourth. Kat Dotson and Shelby Burchell hit consecutive singles before Lauren Gibson hit a two RBI base hit up the middle.

At the top of the sixth with two outs, Kane and Putich got on base following a pair of consecutive errors by Tennessee third baseman Melissa Brown. Pilpil followed with a single through the left side, but left fielder Chelsea O'Connor's throw to home beat Kane to home plate, earning the third out and preserving the shutout.

Collins (4-2) tossed all six innings for the Gauchos and allowed just two runs on six hits while waking three and striking out two. The two runs scored by the Lady Vols were their second fewest this season. Stanford shut out the team on Feb. 20.

Ivy Renfroe (4-1) picked up the win after holding the Gauchos to just three hits while striking out 11 batters.

UCSB will be back in action on Friday when they take-on Long Island University at 10 a.m.