The UCSB softball team had an up and down series this weekend as it competed on the road against the CSU Northridge Matadors. Starting the series off with a 6-0 shutout loss, UCSB refused to feel discouraged and bounced back in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader with a 6-1 win.
However, the Gauchos were unable to repeat as victors as they lost endured a 6-2 loss in the final game of this weekend’s series. Santa Barbara has now lost five of its last six games, and is now 21-22 overall, 4-5 in Big West play. Meanwhile, CSUN improved to 25-19 overall and 5-4 in the conference.
UCSB’s 6-0 loss in Saturday’s first game was a wakeup call for the Gauchos as they allowed three home runs on the day. The Matadors’ sophomore infielder Savannah Horvath had the key hit of the day when she slugged CSUN’s second home run in the fifth inning. The home run resulted in a key momentum shift for the Matadors as it not only brought in three runs, but also forced a Gaucho pitching change.
On the mound for UCSB was senior pitcher Ashley Ludlow, who would only last five innings while giving up six earned runs on eight hits. Ludlow did however register another five strikeouts, putting her at 124 this season and ranking her third in strikeouts in the Big West conference.
While UCSB couldn’t get any runs on the board, it came close on two occasions. Junior outfielders Kristen Clark and Jacqueline Hinojosa each collected singles while facing a two-out count and eventually made it into scoring position. However, both were left stranded on-base unable to score.
Saturday’s follow up game nearly resulted in a shutout victory for the Gauchos as they stepped up to record a well-earned win of their own, defeating the Matadors 6-1. Fired up to get their first run of the day, the Gauchos scored all six of their runs in the first two innings.
UCSB’s scoring stretch was ignited by Arianna Palomares once she hit a double to left field, bringing home Clark and senior catcher Samantha Stark. Palomares’ two clutch RBIs on the day has her tied for second on the team in total RBIs with 26, along with sophomore outfielder Jessica Johnston.
The second big hit of the day was delivered by Clark when she stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. She laced a double to left outfield, scoring freshman infielder Melanie Menor, junior outfielder Stacy Cavazos, and Johnston. Clark had a stellar performance overall, tallying a total of two runs scored and three RBIs in the game.
UCSB’s last game was a 6-2 loss, yet it started off hopeful as the Gauchos were the first to put runs on the board.
Freshman infielder Sierra Altmeyer did what she does best, and hit a double to left center, bringing in Menor for the first run of the game. Altmeyer leads the team with 30 RBIs. Altmeyer also brought in a run of her own, scoring on a Cavazos error.
That was all the offensive action that the Gauchos would see as the Matadors came back to score three runs in the third and another three in the fifth inning.
The Gauchos registered just three hits in the game, as Matador pitcher Daphne Pofek was outstanding on the mound pitching a complete game and striking out seven in getting her 11th win of the season.
Gaucho starting pitcher Ashley Ludlow took the loss and is now 7-10 on the year. She gave up six earned runs in 5.1 innings pitched, striking out five and walking two.
Next up for the Gauchos is a non-conference game on Wednesday, April 20 at home against Cal Berkeley. The Golden Bears are 21-17-1 on the year.