The UCSB softball team did a little spring-cleaning, sweeping Riverside at Campus Diamond on Saturday and Sunday, 4-0, 2-0 and 8-0. The Gauchos improved to 17-13 overall and 3-3 in the Big West after dropping the conference opener last weekend.
“I was really happy with the way that our players stayed with it and were real patient throughout the game. I don’t think we did that in the Fullerton games,” UCSB Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “I think we finally stepped back and said that if our pitching pitches well and our defense plays well and if we continue to hit the ball and have good at-bats, then we can eventually score.”
UCSB senior infielder Lindsey Herrin plated sophomore second baseman Kendra Singley in the first game of Saturday’s double feature with a double that rolled to the center field fence. Singley went 3-4 on the day and drove in Santa Barbara’s final run of the game in the fourth with a single to bring around sophomore shortstop Brittany Putich. Sophomore hurler Jennifer Davis threw seven complete innings, giving up just three hits to get the 4-0 victory.
Riverside and Santa Barbara left a combined 15 runners stranded in Saturday’s 11-inning duel. UCSB sophomore Lindsey Sommer and Riverside sophomore Sara Radabaugh kept the bats quiet for 10 scoreless innings until the crack of Herrin’s bat ended it with a walk-off home run to give Santa Barbara and Sommer the 2-0 victory.
Davis’ turn for a jack, when she belted the first pitch from Highlander starter Christin Songer, gave the Gauchos an early 3-0 lead in Sunday’s series finale. In the circle, Davis held Riverside to just two batters over the minimum and struck out eight, giving up just two hits to April Murray.
“It was definitely nice. I like to get our whole team off on a good foot. Getting through that first inning is usually the toughest thing to do and so I try to go out there and set the precedent for the rest of the game.”
The Highlanders held the Gauchos until the fifth inning in which, when UCSB scored five runs off of freshman Danira Iolamo. Junior Karyna Wilkerson ended the game with a shot to right field to plate, bringing in sophomore Liz Walters, who reached on a stand-up double.
“It helps anytime you can sweep a game. It’s hard to win three games in a row. I think if our pitching continues to do well and defensively we’re strong and the bats will finally come around, then I think we’re capable of sweeping teams,” Schroeder said. “That’s what we have to know to kind of catch up because we kind of put ourselves in a hole with Fullerton.”
The Gauchos travel to Logan, Utah, next weekend for another Big West matchup with the Aggies.