May 5, 2007

Gauchos Capture Pair of Wins Over Big West Foe UC Riverside

May 5, 2007

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team used strong hitting to propel itself over Big West Conference opponent UC Riverside twice on Saturday at the Gauchos' Campus Diamond. In the first game of the day's doubleheader, three Gauchos homered to carry UCSB to an 8-2 win before it finished the day with a 10-2 six-inning mercy rule win over the Highlanders.

With the pair of wins, UCSB lifts its record to 28-19 overall and 5-9 in conference games. UC Riverside fall to 16-33 overall and 0-14 in Big West pairings. The Highlanders will carry a 17-game losing streak into Sunday's series closer.

In game one, the Gauchos were led by sophomore second basemen Christine Ramos who went 3-for-4 with a double, a run and two RBI. Senior right fielder Liz Walters provided a three-run homer in the bottom of the second inning to give the Gauchos the lead. Junior third basemen Tisha Duran was also impressive going 2-for-4 with a solo home run and an RBI.

In the circle, senior ace Jennifer Davis pitched a complete seven innings allowing only two runs on six hits while walking five and fanning eight.

For Riverside, April Murray led the way with her 2-for-3 performance, which included a double, an RBI and a run scored. Marissa Alvidrez provided the other Highlander RBI during her 1-for-3 showing. Pitcher Sara Radabaugh took the loss after giving up five runs on six hits while walking two and striking out two in four innings of work.

Riverside got on the board first in game one when a double to left field from Murray drove teammate Jennifer Thompson home. The Gauchos responded in the bottom of the same inning when, with two outs and two runners on, Walters hit her fourth homer of the season over the center field fence giving the Gauchos a 3-1 lead.

Duran and sophomore Adrienne Anderson each hit solo homeruns in the next pair of innings to spread the Santa Barbara advantage to 5-1 heading into the fifth inning. Alvidrez's RBI single in the top of the fifth cut the UCSB lead to three runs, but a two-run double from Ramos and an RBI single from senior Jessica Hejna put the Gauchos over the top in the bottom of the sixth, 8-2.

In the second game of the day, UCSB struck first when junior catcher Ericka Hansen drove Tiffany Wright home for the first run of the game on an RBI single. Murray singled to second base with one out to bring home pinch runner Tiana Towns, tying the game at 1-1 at the top of the third. The Highlanders scored again at the top of the following inning to gain a narrow 2-1 lead.

UCR would not hold the lead for long as three Gauchos scored at the bottom of the same inning on two RBI singles and a passed ball to grab the lead at 4-2. UCSB did not look back as it twice scored a trio of runs in the following two innings to earn the 10-2 mercy rule victory at the bottom of the sixth.

The Highlanders struggled as they committed three errors and gave up three unearned runs during the second pairing of the day.

Hansen was stellar for the Gauchos in game two going 3-for-4 with four RBI and a run scored. Hejna was also impressive with her 3-for-4 showing with a run scored. Junior Nicole Churnock chipped in going 2-for-3 with two RBI, a sacrifice bunt and a stolen base.

Davis once again picked up the victory after pitching 2.2 scoreless and hitless innings while walking one and striking out four. The Whittier, Calif. native is now 12-12 on the season. Freshman MeLinda Matsumoto started the game for the Gauchos and threw 3.1 innings allowing two runs on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

For the Highlanders, Stephanie Marshall (7-10) took the loss after allowing the Gauchos' season-high 10 runs on 12 hits. Marshall struck out two and walked one. Lauren Bauer led UCR at the plate going 1-for-3 with an RBI double.

UC Santa Barbara will wrap up its three-game series against UC Riverside on Sunday at noon at Campus Diamond. The game will mark the final home contest for the Gauchos' 2007 season and UCSB's four senior student-athletes will be honored prior to first pitch.