The UCSB softball team dropped its first game of San Diego State’s weekend Campbell/Cartier Classic yesterday afternoon, when University of Kansas jumped on the board first in the fifth inning.
Despite senior right-handed pitcher Jenn Davis’ complete game effort and eight strikeouts, Santa Barbara (0-1 overall) could not pull it together to salvage a win in the bottom of the seventh, and fell 3-2 to the Jayhawks (1-0 overall).
“Hopefully Jenn [Davis] will bounce back from this game, but I think our whole team came out ready to go today,” Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “This is a difficult tournament, so I think we got the first game jitters out of the way, but even Jenn had those too. … I think that we can win every game this weekend, we definitely have to play hard and play our best ball.”
Down 3-0, the Gauchos gave everything they had to try and pull out the game in the final inning. With a runner on, junior catcher Ericka Hansen – who led all Gauchos offensively going two-for-three at the plate – tripled to right center field to put UCSB up on the board 3-1. With one out and Hansen on third, senior shortstop Brittany Putich knocked in a sacrifice fly to center field to score Hansen and take the RBI with only one out left to play in the game.
UCSB did not manage to put the game into extra innings, as Davis grounded out in the next at bat to end the game in favor of Kansas. In seven full innings, the Gauchos could only manage to pull together two runs on three total hits. The difference was made by the Jayhawks, who played error-free ball and connected for three runs on five hits.
“Their pitcher was very good, she threw extremely hard,” Schroeder said. “We … didn’t face her last year, but this girl is big, tall and lanky kid. She threw hard and she was their go-to pitcher last year. It just took us time [to adjust], but it was a little too late. It’s good that we saw her in the first game because other pitchers this weekend throw hard, so we’ll get some practice with that. Then we can pick up where we left off offensively.”
In the first two innings, Davis effectively held Kansas to two hits and then retired the side for two straight innings before allowing the Jayhawks to sneak in a run that put them on top for the remainder of the game. In the fifth inning, Davis struck out the first batter she faced and easily notched her second out with a ground out. Freshman second baseman Sara Ramirez then took one of Davis’ pitches and launched a solo shot to bring the score to 1-0.
For the rest of the game, the Gauchos were trying to play catch-up. Their cause was not helped out much by Jayhawk senior right-handed pitcher Kassie Humphreys, who struck out seven and walked only senior first baseman Jessica Hejna to lead off the fourth inning.
All in all, the Gauchos stranded two runners in the game who could have tied the score and broke it open, if those chances were seized earlier in the game.
UCSB will continue tournament play tomorrow morning when it faces Massachusetts (0-0) at 9, with the second game of the day at 4:30 p.m. and the opponent to be determined after morning play.