This past weekend, the UCSB softball team took a trip down south to Long Beach for the Louisville Slugger Invitational, snagging two wins in its three games.
The Gauchos went 2-1 in the tournament, improving their overall record to 11-5.
The tournament kicked off Thursday morning with a matchup against Nevada University, which entered the contest with a record of 10-7.
Senior pitcher Andriana Collins stepped up in the circle to make a big difference for the Gauchos in their first game. Although she came in already down 4-2 on the scoreboard in the sixth inning, she was able to pick up her third win of the year with some clutch pitching as the team took the win 6-4. She pitched a 1-2-3 inning to close out the game.
Santa Barbara trailed early in this game and played from behind throughout the contest. In the top of the seventh inning, the team found itself down by two runs with very little time. The situation did not halt the team at all as it was able to score four runs in that half inning of play, thanks to a rally of four straight base hits and a sac-fly.
Freshman outfielder Kristen Clark also came through at the plate all day, going 4-4 with one run.
The second game for Santa Barbara was against Utah Valley (0-13).
The Gauchos picked up their second win of the tournament against the winless team with the help of Collins once again. Collins picked up her fourth win, the second of the day, with a victory of 7-0 over the Wolverines. She allowed just one hit while striking out two batters.
The performances from the circle were surely the story of this matchup. Collins started it off by throwing three scoreless innings and junior Shelby Wisdom would come in to copy that same performance. Freshman Ashlee Ludlow entered in the last inning and recorded two strikeouts in her first NCAA appearance. The pitching staff combined for eight strikeouts and only allowed two hits in the entire game.
The Gauchos’ last matchup came on Saturday morning against a very strong Northwestern University team (11-4). The team struggled throughout and ended up dropping the game 10-1 as the game was cut to just five innings due to the mercy rule.
Wisdom had her talents tested when she entered the game with her microscopic ERA of 2.27 and ended up with four earned runs, including a home-run to senior infielder Marisa Bast.
The team struggled on both ends of the ball as it could only score one run in the entire game. Only four players were able to find a way to hit against the strong pitching of sophomore Kristen Wood, who picked up her sixth win of the season and accounted for eight strikeouts.
Despite Wood’s strong performance from the circle, Santa Barbara’s Clark was able to get her usual couple of hits, going 2-3 and improving her tournament batting average to an outstanding 9-11 (.818).
The team was scheduled to play in six games this weekend, but three of them were cancelled over the course of the tournament due to excessive rainfall.
The Gauchos will look to take their 11-5 record to Reno, Nevada this upcoming weekend for the Nevada Classic.
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of March 3, 2014′s print edition of The Daily Nexus.
Photo by Dustin Harris of The Daily Nexus.