The players on the UCSB women’s softball team began their 2001 season Saturday with their eyes set ahead to a Big West championship.

Unfortunately, the Gauchos realized they couldn’t look too far ahead after dropping both games of a doubleheader in a disappointing home opener against Loyola Marymount, 3-1 and 4-0.

Santa Barbara was able to stay close, due to strong pitching efforts from sophomore aces Loren Thornburg and Sylvia Santos, but was ultimately done in with poor offensive execution and costly defensive errors.

"This was very disheartening," Head Coach Liz Kelly said. "We didn’t play our best. We match up with them, but we just didn’t execute."

The first game featured tough pitching performances from both sides. UCSB jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on a run-scoring single by junior shortstop Erin McFarland. The score looked like it was going to hold up, since Thornburg was mowing down the Lion’s lineup.

LMU evened up the score in the top of the fifth, as shortstop Kim Bissett scored on a two-out error by senior co-captain and third baseman Teresa Tolson. That miscue kept the inning alive for the Lions, who capitalized two batters later when first baseman Erin Hogan smacked a decisive two-run single into left field.

"We faced a tough pitcher [Corianne Rogalsky]," said Thornburg, who finished with seven strikeouts and gave up three runs. "We got some hits, but we just weren’t able to put them all together."

Kelly was satisfied with the strength of the pitching, but dismayed by costly errors and a sub-par hitting attack.

"I thought Loren threw a really good game, but we have to make the routine plays," Kelly said. "Every error came back to haunt us."

The second game was like dZj