The UCSB softball team experienced a weekend of highs and lows on its way to a 2-3 finish at the Cal Poly Mustang Roundup Tournament.
Santa Barbara proceeded into the tournament riding high after starting its season 4-1 and capturing first in its own Early Bird Invitational Tournament the previous weekend.
It appeared that all Gaucho foes would be in for much of the same thing in San Luis Obispo when UCSB opened up tournament play with a 4-0 victory over Southern Utah. Though the win over the Thunderbirds was convincing, Santa Barbara encountered offensive difficulties that later became the downfall of the squad in its later games.
“This weekend was a reality check, showing that we need to do all the little things in order to win games,” senior captain and second baseman Kim Sawyer said. “We thought we would do the same thing we did last weekend, but things didn’t work out like that.”
In four of the first five innings of play against the Thunderbirds, UCSB left a runner on third. It was not until the fourth inning that the Gauchos made a dent on the scoreboard, when they notched all four of their runs. Pinch runner junior infielder Chantal Pershing moved to second when Sawyer was hit by a pitch. Pershing scored on one of senior infielder Julia Tamai’s three hits of the game, a shot to center, before junior outfielder Natalie Adame found a gap in left center to knock two more in. Adame rounded out the scoring when she crossed the plate on a throwing error off sophomore outfielder Leslie Simien’s bunt.
In the second game of the first-day double dip, the Gauchos’ offensive problems became more apparent as they stranded 13 people on base, finishing their half of the innings twice with the bases loaded as they surrendered a 5-1 matchup to Cal Poly. Junior catcher Jami Trinidad provided the lone bright spot for the Gauchos with a towering shot over the fence in the fifth for UCSB’s only run.
“We pitched really well this weekend,” junior outfielder Ashley Groefsema said. “We just didn’t do a good job of scoring runs to help our pitchers out.”
Santa Barbara came out hungry in the first game of the second day, putting together a 9-0 thrashing of Colorado State. The Gauchos scored three times in the first inning, capitalizing on several Ram throwing errors. They scored twice more in the second inning before adding four more in the fourth before the game was ended by the mercy rule in the fifth. Senior catcher Stacy Bolton reached base all three times she was up to bat, recording two doubles in addition to a walk. Simien went 3 for 4 and stole her tenth base of the season in as many tries, while also crossing the plate twice.
UCSB hitting woes continued in the final two games. Southwest Missouri State and Santa Clara both shut Santa Barbara out with scores of 6-0 and 1-0 respectively. Only three Gauchos reached base against SMS. Then the Gauchos outhit the Broncos 7-3, but only once did Santa Barbara get two hits in the same inning.
“We had the chance to win every game,” Adame said. “We just didn’t get the hits at the right time and left too many people on base.”