The UCSB softball team has finally gelled as a team.
Coming off a four-win[[,]] one-loss weekend at the Cal Poly Mustang Round-up Tournament, the team tied for first place and now feels like they are playing together as one cohesive unit. With a roster consisting of eight freshmen and one transfer, the team handled themselves extremely well this weekend.
The first of five games was against Sacramento State, in which the Gauchos came out firing, beating the Hornets by the score of 2-0. The Gauchos received another impressive performance from freshman pitcher Jennifer Davis, who improved her record to 3-0 after allowing only one run in seven innings on Friday. Davis has only allowed a single run in the 27 innings she has pitched this season, and has been the biggest surprise to the Gauchos pitching staff.
“Jennifer is an amazing pitcher who really can dominate a game by herself,” freshman outfielder Jessica Hejna said. “She throws hard and strikes out many batters, which makes the job extremely easy for us in the field. All we need is to supply her with a few runs for insurance and we got ourselves a win.”
The second game was more of a challenge for the Gauchos, as they faced the University of San Diego in a game that came down to the wire. The score remained close the entire way, until the Gauchos rallied in the fourth inning to tie the game at 2-2. Once the extra innings began, the team seemed nervous, except for freshman catcher Shelby Hensler, who piled on two runs for the Gauchos late in the eight inning to give Santa Barbara a 4-3 win.
“I thought our team did well. We were still working out players in different positions trying to figure out who to have in our starting lineup,” Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “I thought we really hit the ball well with a lot of power, and our pitching has a lot of depth.”
In the third and fourth games, the Gauchos split beating Cal Poly 2-0 and losing to Colorado State in a close game of 4-3. The Cal Poly team was led by junior infielder Katie Oliver, who had an excellent performance going two for three at the plate, and scored the winning run. Colorado State snapped Santa Barbara’s five-game winning streak, but not without a fight. UCSB rallied back only to lose the game in the bottom of the sixth.
The last game was against Nevada and the team promised themselves they weren’t going to lose two games in a row. The Gauchos beat Nevada 4-1 in an all-out stellar performance by the entire team.
The Gauchos will head to San Diego State for their annual SDSU Tournament starting on Feb. 13.