The UCSB softball team (5-6 overall) put forth all efforts this weekend to beat the heat against multiple nationally ranked teams during the 2005 Louisville Slugger Desert Classic, hosted by University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the Gauchos finishing 1-3 with two close games.
Friday’s slated Texas and Nebraska matchups were canceled due to rain, but the Gauchos beat Wichita (4-4 overall) 2-1 on Saturday and lost 2-7 to #12 Michigan. On Sunday, UCSB made up the rained-out games with a 4-6 loss to #15 Baylor University. During the final game of the tournament, Santa Barbara lost 2-4 to #9 University of Washington (5-3 overall) in an international tiebreaker.
Sophomore pitcher Jennifer Davis brought the Gauchos to their sole weekend win against Wichita. Against Baylor, Davis threw 84 pitches, including 60 strikes, and knocked out a triple and a home run against the Bears. Davis’ record now stands at 3-2.
“Every showing, Jenn gives everything she’s got,” freshman pitcher Megan Ochylski said. “When she holds teams to minimal hits, we’re able to score and our team comes out successful.”
Santa Barbara could not match Baylor’s two-run deficit in the seventh inning. In addition to Davis’ slugfest, sophomore shortstop Brittany Putich snagged a double against the Bears and senior first baseman Lindsey Herrin shot off another home run. Had the Gauchos limited Baylor to its four earned runs, the game could have gone either way.
“I know that I can pitch my game and my defense is going to be there behind me,” Davis said. “Our hitting is coming through and that’s something that is contagious on our team. Everyone is doing really well and so when I go out there, I’m relaxed.”
UCSB faced its highest nationally ranked opponent in its final game in which it lost off an eighth-inning home run to Washington.
“Playing higher-ranked teams is good competition and gets everyone ready,” UCSB Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “It makes the girls feel that they can compete, they’re just as good. Those games were close enough and we could have come out and won any of them. The other teams had a couple of lucky plays and we didn’t get as much luck, but we know we can play with them.”