April 12, 2008

Northridge Hands UCSB First Pair of Big West Losses

April 12, 2008

Box Score

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team realized all good things must come to an end on Saturday as their six-game Big West winning streak was snapped with a pair of losses at Cal State Northridge. The Matadors posted a 5-4 win in the first game of the conference series with the Gauchos and finished the twin bill with a 3-1 victory.

The Gauchos, who were amidst an eight-game winning streak at the beginning of this week, have now lost four straight after dropping today's pair with Northridge and a non-conference doubleheader to No. 13 Fresno State on Tuesday. UCSB now holds a 23-18 overall season record and is 6-2 in the Big West, tied for first with Long Beach State. Northridge improves to 16-18 on the year and 5-3 in league play.

Each team tallied a single in the first inning, including a lead-off single off the first pitch by junior Christine Ramos, but after one inning, the game was scoreless. UCSB then got two runners on in the top of the second when freshman Jessica Beristianos was hit by a pitch and senior Ericka Hansen walked, but a double play helped the Matadors escape the inning unscathed.

At the bottom of the second, Northridge's Micah Putnam led-off with a double to center field and advanced to third when Tracy Allen hit a fly out to right field. After pitcher Lindsay Correa struck out the next batter swinging, a wild pitch allowed Putnam to score and put Northridge on the board, 1-0.

The Gauchos would not be down for long as senior Nicole Churnock opened the third inning with a double to left field. Ramos laid down a sac bunt pushing Churnock to third before Ziegler hit an RBI single to center field, tying the game at 1-1. Junior Tiffany Wright followed with a two run homer to left field pushing the Gauchos ahead, 3-1.

At the bottom of the inning, Alexandria Alvarado was hit by a Gaucho pitch and Jaclyn Rymer walked to put two runners on-base. Alvarado then stole third before Christina Saenz singled to center field sending her home. A wild pitch during the next at-bat brought Rymer across home plate and tied the game back up at 3-3. Putnam's second hit of the day, a single to right field, brought home one more Matador run and recaptured the lead for Northridge.

In the fifth, Putnam posted her second double of the game and Allen reached on a single. An RBI single off the bat of pinch hitter Kristen Mihm sent Putnam home for the eventual gamewinning run.

Three Gauchos walked in the sixth, loading the bases with two outs, but a fielder's choice ended the inning with the runners stranded.

After the next three Northridge batters went down in order, the Gauchos got their last chance to come back from the 5-3 deficit. Ramos led-off with a single down the left field line and moved over to second when Ziegler grounded out on the next play. One out later, senior Tisha Duran hit a double down the right field line driving Ramos home to cut the Northridge lead to 5-4. Unfortunately, the Northridge third baseman Karla Chaparo caught a foul during the next at-bat, ending the game and grabbing the 5-4 win for Northridge.

Ramos led the Gauchos at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Correa (10-6) took the loss after pitching the first 4.1 innings and allowing five runs on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Matsumoto pitched 1.2 innings in relief and allowed one hit, walked one, and struckout one batter.

For Northridge, Mercedes Lovato picked up the win and improved to 13-11 on the year after tossing six innings, allowing three runs on five hits with four walks and one strikeout. Amanda Pitzenberger threw the final inning and allowed one run on two hits. After posting two hits in the first, but failing to bring either runner home in the second game of the day, UCSB once again posted a pair of back-to-back singles at the top of the second inning off the bats of Beristianos and Meyers. Beristianos advanced to third on Meyer's single and then came home when Hansen hit a sac fly to left field during the next at-bat to give UCSB a 1-0 advantage.

UCSB had a chance to build upon its lead in the fifth inning when Priscilla Perez and Nicole Churnock recorded consecutive singles. The Matadors made a pitching change and they proceeded to record three straight outs to get out of the inning without any damage.

Northridge's Amanda Peek opened the bottom of the fifth with a walk and after a sac bunt moved her to second, the Matadors got on the board when Alvarado doubled to left field. Rymer singled to left field during the next at-bat sending Alvarado across home plate and giving Northridge a 3-1 advantage.

The Gauchos once again got two runners on-base in the top of the sixth when Wright opened with a single and Duran then reached first after being hit by a pitch, but the next three batters went down in order, ending the inning.

Northridge's Lauren Olivas singled with two outs in the sixth, but it would be the final hit of the game as Northridge finished with the 3-1 win.

Wright led the team in the loss, going 2-or-3 at the plate. Junior Tami Weston (8-4) pitched the full game allowing three runs on seven hits. She walked four and struckout four.

Pitzenberger (3-5) picked up the win for the Matadors after tossing the final three innings and forfeiting just one hit. Samantha Schroeder pitched the first four innings, allowing one run on six hits. Neither Matador pitcher walked a batter or struckout a Gaucho.

UCSB will conclude the three-game series with Northridge on Sunday at noon at Matador Diamond.