Another chapter in the “Battle of the Beach” is complete after #18 Long Beach State took two out of three from the UCSB softball team in Long Beach.
The 49er and Gaucho pitching staffs were the story this weekend, giving up just 10 total runs in three games. Long Beach State swept the doubleheader Friday 5-0 and 1-0 while UCSB got the game three win 4-1 Saturday.
Long Beach State called on junior right-hander Meredith Cervenka in game one of Friday’s doubleheader to face off against UCSB junior Lindsey Herrin.
Neither team put a run on the board as the game remained scoreless through the fifth inning. In the 49ers’ half of the fifth, Herrin walked the leadoff batter and gave up a sacrifice bunt to put a runner on second with one out. Senior shortstop Jamie Farnworth sent a triple into right field, driving in the first run of the game for Long Beach State.
The 49ers would add one more in the fifth and a three-run homer from junior center fielder Lauren Johnson in the sixth to take a 5-0 lead. Cervenka shut down the Gauchos with six strikeouts to complete the three-hit shutout.
Game two saw another pitcher’s duel, this time matching the 49ers’ senior Lindsey Knoff with Santa Barbara freshman Jennifer Davis.
The Gauchos got off to a promising start when freshman catcher Shelby Hensler singled with one out in the top of the first, but Knoff would get out of the inning, and the Gauchos would not reach base again until the fourth.
Davis pitched an outstanding game for UCSB, keeping the 49ers without a hit until sophomore third baseman Melanie McCauley broke it up with two outs in the fifth on a single to left field.
Although the Gauchos threatened Long Beach in both the fifth and sixth innings, they did not score, keeping the game locked in a 0-0 tie into the home half of the sixth.
The 49ers finally got on the board in the sixth after senior first baseman Colleen Burdick reached on a single. A sacrifice bunt moved Burdick over and Farnworth came through again, driving in the only run of the game with a two-out double. The one run would stand up and give Knoff the 1-0, two-hit shutout.
“They played great defense on us,” UCSB Assistant Coach Kristi Bredbenner said. “We just had a hard time finding the holes out there.”
The Gauchos were able to salvage the series with a 4-1 win Saturday. After striking out the side in the first, junior 49er pitcher Marcel Torres got into trouble in the second. UCSB strung together four hits, including a two run single from freshman left fielder Jessica Hejna, to take a 3-0 lead, its first of the series.
“When we score early, nine times out of 10 we’re going to win the game,” Bredbenner said.
Davis started again for the Gauchos and worked out of two bases loaded situations to hold the 49ers to four hits and no runs in the first six innings.
The Gauchos added one more run in the top of the seventh, giving them the 4-0 lead. In the bottom of the seventh with two down, Davis gave up an infield single with the bases loaded to bring in Long Beach’s only run of the game. Davis finished with a strikeout giving Santa Barbara the win.
UCSB (30-28, 12-6 in the Big West) will finish out its regular season this weekend, hosting Cal State Fullerton at Campus Diamond on Friday and Saturday.