Gauchos Remain Undefeated in Conference, Capture Two Wins Over Cal Poly
April 5, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team posted a pair of wins over defending Big West Champion Cal Poly in a conference doubleheader on Saturday. The Gauchos opened the day with a 7-6 win over the Mustangs before posting a 5-1 victory in the latter half of the twinbill. With the wins, UCSB improves to 22-14 overall and 5-0 in Big West play while Cal Poly drops to 15-15 and 3-2 in conference.
In the first pairing of the day, Cal Poly was the first to get on the board at the top of the third inning when, with two outs, Melissa Pura walked. After Pura stole second, Sarah Iwata hit the first of four Cal Poly home runs to put the Mustangs on the board, 2-0.
At the bottom of the same inning, senior Ericka Hansen led off with a homer of her own to cut the Gaucho deficit to one run. After one out, junior Christine Ramos reached on an error by the Mustang first baseman and sophomore Jessica Ziegler singled to put two runners on. During the next at-bat, junior Tiffany Wright hit one out of the park on the first pitch to capture the lead for UCSB at 4-2.
Cal Poly got even in the next inning when Cristina Brox hit a two-run homer, tying the game up at 4-4. The next six batters went down in order before UCSB once again got its chance to regain the lead.
At the bottom of the fifth, with one runner on and two outs, Wright singled to center field and an error during the play allowed her to reach second and sent Ziegler home, putting UCSB ahead, 5-4. Senior Tisha Duran hit a single during the next at-bat sending Wright across home plate and spreading the advantage to two runs.
A solo home run by Krysten Cary at the top of the sixth inning followed by a solo homer from Pura at the top of the seventh tied the game for the Mustangs at 6-6.
At the bottom of the seventh, the Gauchos returned to the top of their order. Ramos was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a sac bunt from Ziegler. The Mustangs then intentionally walked Wright, which seemed to be a wise move when Duran reached on a fielders' choice and Wright was called out at second base during the ensuing at-bat. Unfortunately for Cal Poly, during the same play Ramos advanced to third and during the next at-bat she was able to come home on a wild pitch, earning the 7-6 win for the Gauchos.
Wright led the team in the win with her 2-for-3 performance, including a home run, a run, and three RBI. In the circle, Lindsey Correa pitched a complete game allowing six runs on seven hits with six walks and three strikeouts. The sophomore improves to 10-4 on the season.
Cal Poly's Anna Cahn took the loss after throwing 6.2 innings allowing seven earned runs on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts. She falls to 5-7 on the year. The Mustangs ended the game with four errors while the Gauchos committed none.
UCSB kept its momentum rolling into the second game of the day's doubleheader. With two outs in the bottom of the first, Duran hit an RBI single up the middle driving Ziegler home and putting the Gauchos on the board 1-0.
Junior pitcher Tami Weston and the Gaucho defense were stellar in the first three innings as they held the Mustangs hitless and retired the first nine batters in order. Unfortunately, Cal Poly was able to break through at the top of the fourth. Cristen Lee led off with a single to left field and was bumped over to second with a sac bunt from Stephanie Tam.
Back-to-back singles from Pura and Iwata loaded the bases before Stephanie Correia hit an RBI single up the middle. The Gauchos earned the second out of the inning during the same play when a long throw from center field to the catcher cut Pura off before she reached home. A fly out to center field during the next at-bat got the Gauchos out of the inning with the 1-1 tie.
The Mustangs' posted one hit and the Gauchos posted two in the fifth inning, but the tie remained until the bottom of the sixth. Wright led off with a single up the middle and then stole second before Duran reached after being hit by a pitch. Freshman Jessica Beristianos then reached first on a fielder's choice, loading the bases for the Gauchos.
A fielder's choice during the next play earned the first out of the inning for Cal Poly, but three Gauchos still remained on base. Senior Danielle Meyers was brought in to pinch hit and with a 1-2 count, she hit a single to right field bringing home a pair of runs. Hansen followed suit with an RBI single during the next at-bat, stretching the UCSB lead to 4-1.
One out later, Ramos singled to left center, driving home the final Gaucho run of the game and giving UCSB a comfortable 5-1 lead heading into the final inning.
After earning the first out of the seventh inning on a fly out to right field, Weston walked Cahn. The pinch runner, Brandi Gutierrez was picked off during the next at-bat, to earn the second out. Unfortunately, Weston had lost her rhythm and walked three straight batters before MeLinda Matsumoto came in to relieve her. Matsumoto threw two straight strikes and reached a 2-2 count before Lee grounded out to the pitcher, ensuring the Gauchos the 5-1 victory.
Ramos led the Gauchos in the effort with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate, but Meyers' two RBI in the sixth sealed the win. In the circle, Weston pitched 6.2 innings with just one run on six hits with four walks (all in the seventh) and two strikeouts. Weston improves to 8-2 on the year.
Cal Poly's Helen Pena took the loss after pitching 5.1 innings and allowing five runs on eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
This weekend's Big West series will conclude on Sunday with a single game at noon at Campus Diamond.