April 6, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Tiffany Wright's solo home run at the bottom of the fifth inning led the UC Santa Barbara softball team to a 2-1 victory over defending Big West Champion Cal Poly on Sunday afternoon at Campus Diamond. The victory completed the Gauchos' series sweep of the Mustangs, who UCSB defeated 7-6 and 5-1 on Saturday.
With the victory, UCSB improves to 23-14 on the year and 6-0 in Big West play, making the Gauchos the only team that has gone undefeated thus far in conference play. Cal Poly falls to 15-16 on the year and 3-3 in conference games.
The Mustangs opened the game with a walk by Cristen Lee, who advanced to second during the ensuing at-bat on a sacrifice bunt from Stephanie Tam. One out later, Sarah Iwata posted the first hit of the game with a single to left field while Lee moved to third base. A fielder's choice ended the inning and the Gauchos remained unscathed.
Junior Christine Ramos led-off with a single to right field and advanced to second on a sac bunt from sophomore Jessica Ziegler and then moved to third when junior Tiffany Wright grounded out to the pitcher. Unfortunately, like the two Mustangs before her, Ramos was left stranded as Cal Poly earned the third out.
Anna Cahn posted a lead-off single at the top of the second, but UCSB retired the next three batters in order to retain the 0-0 score. At the bottom of the second, designated player Katie McWhirter hit a single and then advanced to second when the pitcher made a throwing error to the first baseman on the same play. A single straight up the middle from senior Ericka Hansen one out later drove McWhirter home and put the Gauchos on the board, 1-0.
After a scoreless third inning, Cal Poly evened things out when Stephanie Correia hit a solo home run over the center field fence, tying the game up at 1-1. The home run was the Mustang's fifth of the weekend.
Sophomore Priscilla Perez hit the first of her two singles in the bottom of the fourth with two outs and Hansen walked during the following at-bat, but the two runners were left stranded and the tie score remained.
In the fifth, it only took four pitches to take down all three Cal Poly batters in order. At the bottom of the same inning, Wright came up to bat with two outs and hammered one over the center field fence, regaining the lead for UCSB at 2-1.
Back-to-back singles from Stephanie Tam and Melissa Pura at the top of the next inning put the Mustangs in a good position, especially when both runners advanced on a sac bunt from Iwata. But a ground out and fly out got UCSB out of the inning.
McWhirter and Perez each laid down singles in the sixth inning, but UCSB was unable to extend their lead to more than the single run.
In the final inning, Krysten Cary reached on a Gaucho fielding error, but was quickly picked off by Ramos to earn the first out. MeLinda Matsumoto struck out the next batter before walking two straight. With a 1-0 count, Tam hit a ball straight to Ziegler's glove at first base, ending the game. The Gauchos took the 2-1 victory and the series sweep.
The series win marked the second consecutive over the Mustangs. UCSB won two out of three at Cal Poly during the 2007 season. The sweep, however, marks the first over Cal Poly since the 2000 season.
McWhirter was solid going 2-for-3 with a run on Sunday, while Perez also went 2-for-3 at the plate. It was Hansen's RBI and Wright home run though, that sealed the win for the Gauchos. In the circle, Matsumoto improved to 5-8 on the season after pitching a complete game. She allowed just one earned run on five hits while walking three and fanning two.
Cahn (5-8) took the loss for the Mustangs after throwing a complete game with two runs on eight hits. She walked just one and struck out four.
The Gauchos will return to action at Campus Diamond on Tuesday, April 8 when they host non-conference foe, No. 13 Fresno State for a doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for noon.