On Thursday, Brigham Young University showed the Gauchos that this weekend’s tournament wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. The Cougars defeated UCSB 6-2 at Campus Diamond, evening up their record at 3-3 as the Gauchos fell to 10-7 on the season.
Brigham Young University doesn’t play any games on Sundays due to religious observations, so the BYU softball team couldn’t get enough games scheduled for this weekend’s upcoming Softball by the Beach Tournament. Therefore, the UCSB softball team decided to play BYU today in a nontournament game.
The game didn’t start out as planned for Santa Barbara. With usually reliable freshman pitcher Jennifer Davis to start the game, the team thought everything would run smoothly. In the top of the first inning, the Cougars scored a run off of the Gauchos when an easy throw to first base turned into a run-scoring error. Again, in the second inning, the Cougars knocked on the door when sophomore Paige Paramore hit a home run to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
“At the beginning, we made some mental mistakes and weren’t covering some places. We got some calls that didn’t go our way, and we let it bother us,” UCSB Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “This set the pace for us for the rest of the game.”
The Gauchos put themselves on the board when freshman shortstop Kendra Singley hit a home run to right field to bring UCSB closer at 2-1. The Gauchos thought the momentum would start to change, but once the top of the third inning came, everyone still seemed upset and unfocused after the rough start. Late in the third, with two Cougars on base and two outs, a routine single was overthrown to first base, scoring two more BYU runs.
“You have to have tough defense, and by giving up errors, you are giving up free runs. Usually our games are so close that we cannot allow that to happen,” Schroeder said. “We have got to play defense, and mental errors and not being focused when we need to be can cause us to lose a game.”
The Gauchos allowed two more runs in the sixth but scored one run late in the seventh to try to spark a comeback. However, Santa Barbara couldn’t get enough firepower going and eventually lost 6-2.
“It was unfortunate that we ended up playing so poorly today, but hopefully we can bounce back for the weekend,” Schroeder said.
With five games this weekend in the SBTB Tournament, the Gauchos will try to rebound and come away with some key victories against quality softball teams. Loyala Marymount, Central Florida, Florida International, Kansas and even the #3 team in the nation, Berkeley, will play in the tournament. The upcoming games should be exciting, and will be a real test for the Gauchos to see if they can take this loss and turn it around with a good outing this weekend.
“I think we can beat anybody in the country, and we have the depth all over, but we have to do the little things and if we can’t play catch, then its going to be awfully difficult to win,” Schroeder said about the upcoming tournament.
The Gauchos play Loyola Marymount in the first game of the tournament at Elings Park this afternoon at 4:30.