Consistency is one trait that the 2001 UCSB women’s softball team still hasn’t figured out yet. And on erratic play: Santa Barbara has basically rewritten that book.

The Gauchos, stumbling out of the gates with an early 11-game losing streak, found a successful formula at UC Riverside. Santa Barbara clubbed the Highlanders 8-0 and 8-3 in a doubleheader sweep to break the skid and started a six-game winning streak of its own.

UCSB, at 13-22 and 1-5 in the Big West, has generally struggled to produce runs in a season where only one player is hitting above .300. Freshman rightfielder Davis Beck leads the Gauchos with a .341 average, and owns a solid .444 on-base percentage.

Sophomore leadoff hitter E.J. Lauchland leads the team with 16 runs and 32 hits including seven doubles. Sophomore catcher Jami Trinidad is batting .280 and is second on the team with 14 RBIs. Junior second basemen and co-captain Kim Sawyer is batting .258 and leads the team with 64 assists. Sawyer is also batting .412 in the last 10 games.

On the pitching side, the Gauchos boast three exceptional pitchers. Freshman hurler Ashley Carroll owns a deceptive record of 3-7, while leading UCSB with a 1.14 earned run average in 17 games pitched. Sophomore ace Loren Thornburg has a 1.45 ERA while striking out 66 batters in 87 innings pitched. Thornburg has limited opposing hitters to a .210 batting average. Sophomore pitcher Sylvia Santos has appeared in 21 games, allowing only 36 runs for a robust 1.68 ERA.

Santa Barbara split the opening day doubleheader in the team’s recent series with conference rival Sacramento State. UCSB won its first conference game of the year and sixth game in a row, ousting the Hornets 2-1 last Saturday. Junior Stacy Bolton drove in Lauchland and freshman centerfielder Leslie Simien in the first inning. Bolton leads Santa Barbara with 17 RBIs on 17 hits.

The Gauchos could not find a route around the diamond in the second game, falling by a score of 1-0, with the only run coming on a sacrifice bunt by Hornet Arlette Sunresi in the fourth inning. Santa Barbara could not fool around their anemic offense, losing 1-0 on April 1 while Sacramento scored on a single from Meghan Cuningham to score Jen Jokinen in the second inning. Hornet Nicole Deatherage halted the Gauchos straight in their paths with a complete game shutout.

UCSB will travel to Cal Poly for a three-game series that starts Friday night at 7.

-Eliav Appelbaum