Trying to stay in contention for first place in the Big West, the UCSB softball team earned the series victory against UC Davis, taking the final two games on the road.
Winners of seven of their last eight, the Gauchos improve to 28-17 overall and 8-4 in conference, just two games behind Long Beach State. The Aggies drop to 15-27 overall and 4-8 in the Big West.
In Saturday’s rubber game, Santa Barbara won 1-0 on a sacrifice fly from sophomore designated hitter Arianna Palomares, who had missed the previous 22 games to injury.
With the game deadlocked at 0-0 entering the sixth inning, freshman centerfielder Stacy Cavazos was hit by a pitch and then stole second. Freshman leftfielder Kristen Clark advanced Cavazos with a sacrifice bunt before Palomares hit a long ball to centerfield to score Cavazos and score the sole run of the game.
In a pitching duel between junior Shelby Wisdom and freshman Dana Cruse, Wisdom emerged with the victory, improving to 16-12 after pitching all 21 innings over the weekend for the second straight series. Wisdom gave up just four hits in the win and allowed Davis to reach scoring position just twice.
Unlike Saturday’s match, game two saw UCSB find its stride offensively, earning the 9-2 victory.
The Aggies actually got on the board first with two runs in the first inning, but Wisdom shut down UCD’s offense the remainder of the game.
Down a pair of runs, hits became contagious for the Gauchos in the fifth, scoring three runs to take the lead. Nevertheless, Santa Barbara added a few security runs, tacking on one run in the sixth and five runs in the seventh.
Stringing hits together and playing small ball, UCSB had eight different players score a run. Junior right fielder DeJanee Moore led the team, hitting 2-3 with two runs and two RBI.
Davis also aided Santa Barbara by committing four errors.
On the other hand, game one put the Gauchos in a hole to start the series as UCSB fell 5-2.
While UCSB scored first, putting one run each in the first and third innings, the Aggies could not be held down in the fourth as the worst offensive team in the Big West scored all five of its runs in the inning.
The first two batters up for Davis each homered to tie the game at two. Then, with the bases loaded, sophomore shortstop Christa Castello tripled to score the winning runs for the struggling Aggies.
UCSB had opportunities to earn the series sweep in the fifth and sixth innings, but could not find the winning hit, leaving two runners on base in each inning.
Despite sophomore catcher MeShalon Moore’s effort, being involved in every run for Santa Barbara hitting 2-3 with two RBI, the rest of the team could muster up just one run.
For UCD, sophomore designated hitter Kelly Zboralske did her job, hitting 2-3 with two RBI in her team’s win. Overall on Friday, Zboralske tallied one run and three RBI on 4-6 hitting.
After spending the last two weekends on the road, the Gauchos return home to Campus Diamond next weekend for a three-game series against Hawaii.
A version of this article appeared on page 8 of April 21, 2014’s print edition of The Daily Nexus.
Photo by Dustin Harris of The Daily Nexus.