Winning a ballgame requires the combination of balancing offensive firepower, solid pitching and defensive skills.

The UCSB softball team has mastered the latter two disciplines, but has come up empty when it comes time to put runs on the board.

Thursday’s home game against Auburn University was merely the latest in a series of hard-fought, tough losses for the Gauchos, who fell 2-1. Despite splitting their two meetings against the Tigers in last weekend’s Hawai’ian Tournament, the Gauchos wasted another strong effort from sophomore pitcher Loren Thornburg, while they managed just five hits against Auburn ace Jennifer Lofton.

"We’re making the other pitcher look really good," senior co-captain Teresa Tolson said. "She was definitely very hittable. She wasn’t dominating at all, but we’re not swinging the bat well. It’s disappointing."

Junior co-captain and second baseman Kim Sawyer agreed with her teammate about the lack of offense.

"The offense is definitely a problem right now," Sawyer said. "We just can’t score. We’re not getting the clutch hits. Personally, I’m frustrated in my own hitting."

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead early, but UCSB knotted it up in the bottom of the fifth. Freshman center fielder Leslie Simien scored on a groundball by junior designated hitter Stacy Bolton. Unfortunately, the Tigers scored the winning run in the top of the sixth.

"We’re going to have to be smarter than our opponents this year because we’re not the same team as last year," Sawyer said. "We don’t have the same clutch hitters this time around."

The loss dropped the Gauchos to 3-8 on the season while Auburn improved to 11-4. UCSB will play host next to the sixth-annual UCSB/Easton Invitational this weekend.