Sometimes after a tough loss, a team can regroup to gear up for a final run at the postseason.
The UCSB softball team is hoping for just that type of scenario.
After struggling to put up any runners across home plate against Utah pitcher Jen Pursell in a 3-1 loss in Salt Lake City on Friday, the Gaucho bats came alive in Saturday’s doubleheader at Utah State. Santa Barbara pounded its Big West Conference rivals 8-1 and 14-2. UCSB completed the sweep with a 12-6 victory on Sunday.
Utah’s Pursell took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Santa Barbara, but from there, the Gaucho bats would come to life.
The five-inning shellacking in the second game against Utah State marked the Gauchos’ most explosive offensive performance of the year.
Senior catcher Jami Trinidad went 3-3 at the plate with two home runs and six RBIs in Saturday’s opener while senior pitcher Loren Thornburg picked up her fourteenth victory of the season. When Trinidad drove home a run in the second game, the catcher tied Santa Barbara’s all-time single-season RBI record with her 37th.
The rest of the Gauchos (33-17, 8-6 in the Big West) did their best Trinidad impression in game two, racking up fourteen runs in five innings before the mercy rule was instituted. Seven Gauchos enjoyed multi-hit games. Sophomore designated hitter Katie Oliver’s three hits included a home run and a double, and freshman shortstop Kim Iversen added two doubles.
Freshman second baseman Karyna Wilkerson continued her second-half surge by tripling and collecting four RBIs. Fellow rookie first baseman Kristen Mann also tripled for UCSB, helping tie a team record for most triples in a game.
Trinidad tied another Santa Barbara record with two home runs in one game, accomplishing the feat in the first game of the doubleheader.
The senior has been on fire recently, at times single-handedly carrying the Gaucho offense. But she had ample help Saturday as the Gauchos jumped on Utah State pitching after a two-hour rain delay. Santa Barbara scored in all five innings of game two. All of the run support allowed freshman pitcher Carly Harmon to cruise to her sixteenth victory.
Santa Barbara took out its frustrations on the Aggies to nudge over .500 in the Big West since the opening game of conference competition against Cal State Northridge on March 29.
UCSB has two series left on its conference schedule: this weekend at home against Long Beach State and then at conference powerhouse Cal State Fullerton the following weekend.