Gauchos Split Games on Opening Day of 2019 Season

Maci Fines (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Maci Fines (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara softball team split its games on the opening day of the 2019 season, doubling up Sacramento State in a 12-6 win after falling to CSU Bakersfield 4-3 in the season opener.

Despite worries of rain cancelling games on day one of the NorCal Kickoff hosted by Sac State and UC Davis, the Gauchos were able to complete their second game of the day late in a late afternoon win over the host Hornets. For the second straight game, UCSB reeled off at least 10 hits, but this time, the Gauchos found ways to turn them into runs.

An RBI single to shortstop by sophomore outfielder Rayna Cohen led to the first run of the day in the top of the first. Junior infielder Genesis Ramirez capitalized on a Hornet throwing error to make it 1-0.

However, UCSB would find itself in a 3-1 hole through one inning, and trailed 4-2 through two. Senior infielder Melanie Menor provided the Gauchos' second run following more sloppy defense from Sac State.

UCSB would get hot from there, embarking on a 5-0 run with three runs in the third inning and two more in the fourth. However, none of the five runs came on a Gaucho hit. Freshman infielder Teah Thies would pick up a pair of RBI on back-to-back ground outs to second base. Senior Sierra Altmeyer and Cohen both rounded the bases twice, while Menor nabbed her second run of the day.

After a Sac State run in the fifth brought the Hornets within two runs at 7-5, freshman Tyler Goldstein would register her first career RBI on a sac fly to left, bringing home Thies.

UCSB would put the game to bed in the top of the seventh, adding four more runs. An Altmeyer single to left center scored a run for 2018 All-Big West Freshman Teamer Sammy Fabian. Thies added a two-run triple to score Altmeyer and Ramirez. Thies would then score the final run of the day, as junior infielder Kayla Krantz brought her home with a sac fly.

Thies finished with a game-high four RBI, while Goldstein aded two. The Gauchos were actually outhit 11-to-13, but were able to capitalize when they needed to. Sophomore pitcher Emily Schuttish earned the win, as she pitched 5.1 innings and tallied four strikeouts while giving up just two earned runs.

In the first game of the morning, UCSB fell to CSUB 4-3, despite taking a 10-7 advantage in the hit department.

Both teams remained scoreless until a busy sixth inning. The Roadrunners put up three runs on a single by Paige Johnson, but UCSB would have an answer.

With one out, Altmeyer doubled to right center. Cohen followed with a single to right, putting Altmeyer on third. After a Thies strikeout, Menor came in clutch with a two-RBI triple to right field. A Roadrunner error allowed Menor to make it all the way home, bringing UCSB level at 3-3. 

However, CSUB didn't wait very long to strike back, as Chris Hipa homered to left center to open the seventh. That would be the last run of the game for either team, as a Sammy Fabian single would be UCSB's only answer in the bottom of the inning.

Fabian led the way with three hits, while Menor and sophomore Maci Fines had two apiece. Menor was the only Gaucho to record an RBI, finishing with two.

Senior pitcher Veronika Gulvin pitched a complete game, giving up just three runs while tallying nine strikeouts.

The Gauchos will have a change of scenery for their next three games, as they had to UC Davis for their final three games of the NorCal Kickoff. On Saturday, they'll take on Montana at 9:30 a.m. before closing the weekend with a pair of games on Sunday.