The UCSB softball team continued its recent slump with a pair of one-sided losses to No. 19 Arizona this past weekend.
The Gauchos now find themselves with a 21-15 record after losing six of their last seven games. The Wildcats, on the other hand, improve to 26-13.
In its second game against the Wildcats, UCSB fell behind early and was never able to recover. After a scoreless first two innings, Arizona scored seven runs in the third, including a grand slam by freshman second baseman Mandie Perez. All seven runs were scored with two outs already on the board.
Arizona added two more runs in the fourth inning before the game was ended in the fifth by the mercy rule at a score of 9-0.
“We were able to get offense going,” sophomore pitcher Shelby Wisdom said. “We put the ball in play and forced them to make tough outs but just weren’t able to string hits together as often as we needed.”
In the first game of the weekend, the Gauchos were also too overwhelmed from the outset to have much of a chance. UCSB took the initial lead in the top of the first when Wisdom knocked a single up the middle to bring senior outfielder Jessica Soria home.
From that point though, it was all Arizona. The Wildcats put up five runs in the bottom of the first, capped off by a three-run homer by freshman infielder Lauren Young.
The Gauchos’ biggest highlight of the weekend came in the second inning when junior infielder Jessica Reichner hit her first home run of the season to bring the score to 5-2.
Arizona’s high-powered offense didn’t let up, scoring another seven runs before the game was over. In the fifth inning, facing a 0-2 count with runners on first and second, Young again stepped up to the plate and blasted the ball to left field, ending the game on the mercy rule with a score of 12-2.
“I didn’t think we hit that badly this weekend; the other team just out-hit us,” Soria said. “Even though we struggled, we still put up a fight.”
The Gauchos are now 0-7 against ranked teams this season, a number that doesn’t favor them with three important conference games at No. 16 Hawaii and a road trip to No. 15 UCLA coming up in the next month.
However, the team isn’t stressing too much about playing some of the nation’s top teams.
“Our mindset is the same regardless of who we’re facing,” Wisdom said. “Any team can win on any day.”
UCSB picks up conference play again this week with two games at Cal Poly on Wednesday and three home games against UC Davis this weekend.
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of April 8th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Mark Brocher of the Daily Nexus.