Two days and two teams.
In the two days in which the UCSB softball team (20-24 overall, 4-2 in the Big West Conference) faced #19 Pacific (26-12 overall, 4-2 in the Big West Conference) each day showed two different Gaucho ball clubs. On day one, the Gauchos fell 4-0 in a game that foretold a long day two. But the next day, Santa Barbara bounced back, winning 5-2 and 5-4 in a doubleheader and showing heart and tenacity.
In game one, the Gaucho attack started its engines in the third inning when freshman shortstop Kendra Singley hit a single to bring in senior right fielder Leslie Simien. Singley later added her fifth home run of the year and placed herself ninth all time on UCSB’s single season top ten list. Simien, who improved her team leading average to .303, had two singles in a walk as the Gauchos beat the Tigers 5-2.
“Pitching is key, and also we need strong hitting and defense to follow that up,” UCSB Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “We have been struggling a little bit but have seemed to turn some things around.”
In game two, the Gauchos kept the fire lit, scoring three runs in the first inning. Freshman second baseman Brittany Putich, earned two RBIs in the first, knocking in freshman catcher Shelby Hensler and Simien. Pacific became frustrated with their poor play and rallied in four runs in the seventh inning to bring the score to 5-4. Schroeder brought junior pitcher Lindsey Herrin in to close the game to safeguard their one run lead. Pacific couldn’t touch her.
“We are capable of beating any team in the conference, it just depends on what team decides to show up,” Schroeder said. “I am confident in our team and the way we have been playing lately.”
On the first day, the Gauchos faced the Tigers in a game that they would like to forget. Pacific came to Campus Diamond ready to play and did not waste any time as freshman center fielder Gina Carbonatto tripled to open the game, scoring one run. A scoring onslaught of three more runs over the next six innings came from the Tigers as they commanded the game.
The Gauchos were unable to put runs on the board, and Pacific’s staff recorded their 12th shutout of the season as the Gauchos fell 4-0. Herrin recorded her first loss of the season, watching her record fall to 3-1 and her ERA rise to a still impressive 1.72.
The Big West standings as of late show the Gauchos tied for second place with the Tigers while Long Beach State leads the conference with a record of 6-0.
The Gauchos will head to UC Riverside next weekend to face the Highlanders (11-34 overall, 1-5 in the Big West Conference) and will hope to play their day two ball on both day one and two.