The UCSB softball team stayed above .500, picking up two wins but dropping three games, in this weekend’s Palm Springs Classic, a result that brings its record to 7-5 thus far on the season.
The tournament started off well for the Gauchos on Friday evening, as the team clubbed Ohio State 10-1 in five innings, working behind junior pitcher Ginger Gutierrez who pitched the entire game. Sophomore catcher Ericka Hansen helped the Gauchos to their second mercy game of the season, going 1-2 at the plate and driving in three runs, coming around once herself.
Later Friday night, Santa Barbara lost 6-2 against its first ranked opponent of the weekend, #10 Oklahoma. The Sooners earned the advantage in the second inning when senior pitcher Nicole Denes smothered the payoff pitch over the centerfield wall for a grand slam. Freshman first baseman Tiffany Wright scored UCSB’s only run of the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first; Oklahoma held the Gauchos to just one hit in the final four innings.
Santa Barbara’s schedule of ranked teams continued Saturday against #19 Louisiana State, a team that beat the Gauchos 6-1. UCSB again got its only run from an RBI from Wright in the top of the first inning and was held scoreless in the remainder of the game; Tiger pitching allowed four Gaucho hits. Santa Barbara tag-teamed the pitching with Gutierrez, who was pinned with the loss, pitching 4.2 innings for the Gauchos before freshman Tami Weston relieved her and before junior Jenn Davis closed the game.
Things cleared up for UCSB on Saturday night in its fourth game of the tournament, as it defeated Kansas 2-1. With the score knotted 1-1 in the top of the sixth, freshman second baseman Christine Ramos singled, plating the ultimate game-winning run in junior shortstop Brittany Putich who had reached on a hit of her own. After seeing a loss against Oklahoma, Davis earned her fifth win of the year, giving up one run on three hits and fanning 12.
The Gauchos failed to close out the weekend on a high note, dropping their last game 3-0 to #22 Oregon. Senior right-hander Amy Harris stymied the UCSB bats, throwing the 13th no-hitter in Oregon’s history while also striking out four players. Davis gave up a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to freshman outfielder Sari-Jane Jenkins. An RBI single from senior outfielder Dani Baird put the Ducks up 3-0 heading into the seventh, at which point Harris put the Gauchos down in order to close the game. Davis dropped to 5-3 with the loss, giving up seven hits.
The Gauchos continue tournament play this weekend at the Fullerton’s Worth Invitational.