After a thrilling doubleheader sweep against Cal State Bakersfield last Tuesday, the UCSB softball team now draws its attention back to conference play, as the Gauchos go on the road this weekend to face UC Riverside in a three-game series starting Saturday.
“Riverside is always an interesting series,” senior catcher Lainey DePompa said. “They’re very aggressive and they’re a scrappy team.”
Santa Barbara heads into Amy S. Harrison Field 18-25 overall and 3-3 in the Big West conference, sitting at fifth place in conference. The Highlanders are coming into this conference matchup 18-20 overall and just 1-5 in the Big West.
Sophomore pitcher Andriana Collins recovered well from her previous outings in the second game, allowing two earned runs on five hits and striking out five batters in seven innings. Collins’ pitching allowed the Gauchos to get back into the game as they hit two homeruns and added a run in the sixth inning to force the game into extra innings. The Gauchos scored the winning run in the eighth inning to win 4-3.
“[Collins] did a great job; her game is getting ground balls, mixing in speeds and she was actually throwing the ball up too,” Head Coach Brie Galicinao said. “It was good to get a full seven innings, quality seven innings [from her].”
Senior pitcher Jordyn McDonald leads the Highlander pitching staff with an 8-11 record and 3.76 ERA. On offense, the Gauchos will have to keep their eyes on the base paths as UCR leads the league in stolen bases (59) and steal attempts (69). The Gauchos will zone in on junior catcher Alexis Pickett, who is tops on the team in batting average (.364) and second in RBIs (19) and hits (36).
Wisdom is the ace of the staff for UCSB and post a 2.70 ERA in 35 appearances and sophomore outfielder McKenzie Kane leads the team in batting average (.297). The Gauchos struggled early on in making adjustments against Bakersfield and look to put Riverside away early during their matchup.
“We definitely need to make our adjustments a little sooner than we did [against Bakersfield],” sophomore first infielder Lauren Boser said. “Just keep working, hit the ball on the ground, put pressure on the defense and swing at good pitches.”
First pitch for the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader is scheduled for 12 p.m., with the second game to be played immediately following.