UCSB Splits a Pair on Opening Day of NFCA Leadoff Classic

Feb. 29, 2008

Box Score

COLUMBUS, Ga. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team rebounded from a 9-1 six-inning loss to No. 12 Michigan (14-2) and defeated Syracuse (0-10), 8-1, in its second pairing Friday afternoon on the opening day of the NFCA Leadoff Classic being held this weekend at the South Commons Stadium and Complex in Columbus, Ga. With the split, the UCSB record stays even at 8-8.

The Gaucho freshmen were impressive at the plate, as right fielder Katie McWhirter went 3-for-7 on the day with a double, a run, and three RBI. Classmate and Gaucho shortstop Jessica Beristianos was 4-for-5 during the two pairings with a double, a run, and two RBI.

During the first game of the day against No. 12 ranked Michigan, both teams remained scoreless in the first two innings before UCSB posted the first run at the top of the third inning. Senior Nicole Churnock led-off with a double to right center before the next two Gaucho batters went down swinging. A double from McWhirter with two outs sent Churnock home to put the Gauchos ahead, 1-0. Senior Tisha Duran singled on the next play, but McWhirter was called out at home to end the inning.

Roya St. Clair led-off with a homerun at the bottom of the same inning and a triple from Angela Findlay with two runners on brought home a second Wolverine run, allowing Michigan to take the 2-1 advantage.

Seven additional Michigan runs over the fourth and sixth innings, including five in the latter, brought a premature end to the game as the Wolverines captured the 9-1 victory.

Sophomore MeLinda Matsumoto (1-5) took the loss in the circle after allowing eight earned runs off of seven hits in 5.1 innings of work. All five of Matsumoto's losses this season have come against teams currently ranked in the ESPN/USA Softball Top 25 Poll.

During the Gauchos' second pairing of the day, junior Christine Ramos led-off with a triple at the bottom of the first inning before a single from McWhirter one out later brought her home to give the Gauchos a slight 1-0 lead. UCSB added another run in the second inning when an error by the Orange pitcher allowed Beristianos to score unearned.

The Gauchos stretched their lead to 4-0 in the third off of an RBI single from Danielle Meyers and an RBI double from Beristianos. Syracuse brought home its first, and only, run of the game at the top of the fifth to cut the Gaucho advantage to 4-1.

In the sixth, back-to-back singles from McWhirter and Duran put two runners on with just one out before a throwing error from the pitcher sent McWhirter across home plate. A single from Jackie Conlin loaded the bases before Kelsey Anderson earned a walk that sent Duran home. Another single from Beristianos posted the third run of the inning before Churnock grounded out to shortstop during the next at-bat driving home a fourth run. The Gauchos finished with the 8-1 victory.

As a team, UCSB tallied a season-high 12 hits in the win over Syracuse. Beristianos led the way going 3-for-3 with one run and two RBI. McWhirter went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run while Tiffany Wright was 2-for-4 with two runs.

Lindsey Correa (4-3) picked up the win in the circle after allowing just one run on three hits while walking five and fanning seven batters in seven innings of work.

UCSB will be back in action tomorrow at the NFCA Leadoff Classic against N.C. State and No. 18 Mississippi State. The Gauchos will play N.C. State at 11 am and Mississippi State at 4 pm, Eastern Standard Time.