May 7, 2006

Gauchos Survive Late Highlander Rally, Complete Series Sweep

May 7, 2006

Box Score

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara won the third and final game of their series against host UC Riverside 2-1 in eight innings, behind yet another strong outing by starting pitcher Jennifer Davis (17-13) at Amy S. Harrison Field on Sunday. The win gives the Gauchos an overall record of 23-18 and 6-8 mark in the Big West while the Highlanders fell to 22-24 overall and 2-13 in conference play.

In what turned out to be a great pitching duel between Davis and Highlander starting pitcher Stephanie Marshall, the Gauchos opened the scoring in the fourth inning as junior left fielder Jessica Hejna led off with a walk. Later in the inning, junior shortstop Brittany Putich singled to right field, moving Hejna over to second base. The next batter, sophomore catcher Ericka Hansen, then hit a smash to third baseman Melissa Sanchez who stepped on the bag, but her throw sailed past the first baseman, letting Putich score from first.

That lone run held up for the Gauchos until the bottom of the seventh inning. With two outs already recorded, first baseman Jennifer Thompson hit a fly ball to right center, where sophomore right fielder Nicole Churnock dropped the ball, allowing Thompson to get to second. Veronica Yee was then put into the game to pinch run for Thompson, and left fielder Jessica Black came up to the plate. Black crushed a pitch to deep center field that bounced off the wall, allowing Yee to score from second base and tie the score at 1-1.

In the eighth inning, UCSB led off with a single by the pitcher Davis. After Churnock grounded into a fielder's choice, freshman second baseman Christine Ramos was hit by a pitch, putting two runners on base. With two outs, junior center fielder Kendra Singley singled, bringing home Churnock, who scored the eventual game-winning run.

Davis finished the game having pitched eight innings, giving up only three hits, one unearned run, and one walk, while striking out 12 batters. She improved to 17-13 on the year with her third-straight win in the series.

For the Highlanders, Marshall pitched almost as well, going eight innings, allowing five hits, two runs (one earned), four walks, and striking out six.She falls to 13-11 with the loss.

The Gauchos return home next weekend for their final series of the year when they host Long Beach State in a three-game set beginning Friday, May 12 at 12:00 p.m.