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The UCSB softball team made a significant jump in the Big West standings this weekend, earning the season sweep over Cal State Northridge.
Entering the weekend in a three-way tie for fourth place, the Gauchos now hold sole possession of second place. Santa Barbara has now won five consecutive games after losing six straight, improving to 26-16 overall and 6-3 in the Big West. Meanwhile, the Matadors fall to 26-18 overall and 3-6 in league play.
In a weekend where UCSB’s bats were hot, the Gauchos scored 22 runs. Senior second baseman Kathryn Pilpil led the charge offensively, tallying five runs, three RBI and four doubles on 6-10 hitting.
However, while the offense was flowing for UCSB, the defense was also critical. The Gauchos held freshman first baseman Taylor Glover, the Matadors’ top hitter, to 2-11 hitting on the weekend. Keeping her at bay was junior pitcher Shelby Wisdom, who pitched all 21 innings, improving to 14-11 on the year.
In game three yesterday, Santa Barbara took a 6-2 victory to clinch the series. Unlike in the two games Saturday, Northridge got on the board first, scoring two runs in the first inning. However, Wisdom shut down the Matadors’ offense the remainder of the game.
The Gauchos’ first score came in the fourth inning. With two Gauchos on base, freshman centerfielder Stacy Cavazos hit a home run to left field, her fifth of the season, to give UCSB its first lead of the game.
Then, in the seventh, a double by senior first baseman Lauren Boser and a single by freshman shortstop Emily Brucelas each brought home a run. Finally, an error by the Matadors gave Santa Barbara its third score of the day and a comfortable 6-2 lead.
Both games on Saturday saw the Gauchos start the game strong. They never let up, hitting seven doubles and 16 runs in the two games combined.
In the second game of the doubleheader, UCSB went up 7-0 in the third inning before Northridge could cross home plate. The hole would be too deep for the Matadors as Santa Barbara cruised to an 8-3 victory.
Freshman leftfielder Kristen Clark hit 2-3 with two runs while Wisdom contributed a run on a perfect 3-3 hitting performance.
Similar to game two, UCSB scored four runs in the first inning as Northridge committed two errors. Northridge responded, tacking two runs on the board in the second, but UCSB showed its resiliency, crossing home plate three times in the third.
Northridge made its run in the final innings and the scoreboard reading 8-5. With two outs, sophomore third baseman Maylynn Mitchell singled to centerfield to score two runners and bring the score within a single run. However, on her hit, junior right fielder Kaitlin Toerner was called out at first, giving the Gauchos the close 8-7 win.
Sophomore designated hitter Samantha Stark did her job for UCSB, hitting 2-3 with two RBI. Despite the fact that the Gauchos were outhit 11-8, the Matadors made five errors compared to Santa Barbara’s three.
UCSB continues its road trip next weekend, traveling to UC Davis.
A version of this article appeared on page 5 of April 14th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Peter Vandenbelt of the Daily Nexus.