April 13, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - After dropping a pair of close contests to Big West foe Cal State Northridge on Saturday, the UC Santa Barbara softball team rebounded on Sunday and shutout the Matadors, 4-0 to close out the three-game conference series. UCSB improves to 24-18 overall and 7-2 in the Big West while Northridge falls to 16-19 and 5-4 in league play.
With one out at the top of the first inning, sophomore Jessica Ziegler reached first base on an error by the Northridge third baseman. Ziegler stole second before junior Tiffany Wright singled on a 3-2 pitch, putting runners on the corners. Senior Tisha Duran hit a homer over the center field fence during the ensuing at-bat to put the Gauchos on the board, 3-0.
The Gaucho defense took down the first six Northridge batters in order before Amanda Pitzenberger managed a single to the shortstop in the third. The runner reached third base on an error followed by a ground out, but that is as far as she would get as UCSB got out of the inning unscathed.
In almost a replay of the first inning, Ziegler reached on a Northridge error at the top of the fifth and then stole second base. Wright followed with a single to left field and advanced to second as Ziegler crossed home plate to stretch the Gaucho lead to 4-0. Duran walked and both runners were pushed over a base on a sac bunt from freshman Jessica Beristianos, but the inning ended after a pair of groundouts.
Northridge's Christina Saenz had a double to left center with one out in the bottom of the fifth and one out later Karen Fraggi earned a walk, but the Matadors were both left stranded. Pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto allowed just one hit in the final two innings as UCSB held on for the 4-0 win.
Wright led the team with her 2-for-4 showing with a run and an RBI. In the circle, Matsumoto improved to 6-8 on the year after pitching the complete game shutout. She allowed just four hits, walked one, and tallied the lone strikeout of the game.
Mercedes Lovato (13-13) took the loss for the Matadors after allowing three total runs (one unearned) on three hits with one walk in the first inning. Samantha Schroeder pitched six innings and gave up just one run on two hits with one walk. Northridge committed three errors in the loss; UCSB had one.
The Gauchos will return home to Campus Diamond next weekend and face No. 16 Long Beach State, which is tied for first in the Big West with UCSB. As always, the three-game series will begin with a noon doubleheader on Saturday.