The UCSB softball team had its day in the sun Sunday afternoon with a 2-0 win over Santa Clara in the final game of the UCSB Softball By the Beach Invitational.
Unfortunately for the Gauchos, the rest of the weekend was not as sunny – they dropped three of their first four games.
“The last game against Santa Clara was good for us in that we were able to come back and win after losing two the day before,” junior outfielder Ashley Groefsema said.
Junior hurler Loren Thornburg notched the win as she shut out the Broncos in the final game of the invitational.
“I felt good out there once I made the adjustment of hitting my spots rather than the batters,” Thornburg said, referring to a momentary loss of control in the early part of Sunday’s game.
Santa Barbara (8-10 overall) did not get off on the right foot in the tournament on Friday. Junior pitcher Sylvia Santos was able to contain the Illinois hitters, giving up only three runs. However, the Gauchos struggled to find their offense, collecting three pedestrian hits. The Illini shut out Santa Barbara 3-0.
Game two for the Gauchos was a different story. Sophomore pitcher Katie Junge went the distance for the Gauchos, tossing a no-hitter against Providence before the mercy rule was employed in the fifth. Every Gaucho starter had at least one hit against the Friars, and UCSB ran away with a 13-0 victory.
Just as soon as the Guachos found their offensive power, they lost it as they headed into the second day of tournament action. The inability to produce runs along with crucial defensive errors were the norm for Saturday’s games.
In game one, Santa Barbara found itself stuck between a rock and a hard place heading into the final inning down 6-1 to Iowa State. UCSB then decided to make the game a little interesting. The bases were loaded when junior catcher Jami Trinidad stepped up to the plate. Trinidad showed her ability in the clutch as she knocked in two runs on a single. Katie Oliver walked to load up the bases again for Stacy Bolto. It looked like Bolton was going to keep the ball rolling for Santa Barbara until Iowa State shortstop Adi Blackmon made a dazzling defensive play to end the inning and the game, sealing the win for her team.
UCSB knew it would have its work cut out for it in Saturday’s second game against No. 5 Cal. A costly error in the top of the first by Santa Barbara awarded the Bears an extra unearned run in addition to their earned run to take an early 2-0 lead.
The Gauchos kept pace with Cal the rest of the way, as both teams were able to put another run on the scoreboard in the remaining innings. But that was the closest the Gauchos could get, while they dropped a 3-1 decision. The Bears went on to win the By the Beach Title, steamrolling the competition and going 5-0 in the weekend.
“We started the tournament well and ended well,” Thornburg said. “This team definitely has the potential, but we still have a ways to go to get to where we want to be.”