After losing to Kansas in its season opener, the UCSB softball team (2-2 overall) showed off its new, young talent in San Diego State’s Campbell/Cartier Classic this past weekend. The Gauchos utilized a pair of freshman arms to earn victories over #23 Massachusetts and San Diego State on Friday but fell to #10 Cal on Saturday.

“I think we’re playing real well,” Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “We’ve been hot and cold together, but the chemistry is excellent.”

Santa Barbara’s first win of the season came in the form of an 8-6 victory over UMass (2-2-1) in the first of two games on Friday. After a three-run rally to open the game, Santa Barbara never relinquished the lead to give freshman pitcher Lindsey Correa (1-0) a win in her collegiate debut. Seven Gauchos recorded at least one RBI in the contest and sophomore infielder Tiffany Wright went two-for-four with two runs and a triple.

“[Wright] struggled a bit at the beginning of the tournament, but I think she’s feeling more comfortable now,” Schroeder said. “She’s a great athlete and very capable at the plate. We want her to be a big piece of the offense.”

Santa Barbara then proceeded to shutout host San Diego State (1-4) 1-0 in a hard-fought pitcher’s duel during the nightcap of Friday’s doubleheader. Also in her first collegiate game, freshman pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto blanked the Aztecs for eight complete innings, allowing six hits and striking out two batters. Aztec sophomore pitcher Melissa Owens took the loss after allowing the only run of the game in the bottom of the eighth. Senior shortstop Brittany Putich singled to left with two runners on base and two outs to give the Gauchos their second victory of the season.

“That was probably the best defensive performance I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” Schroeder said. “It’s extremely important to have depth on the mound. I think with the two freshman pitchers playing well, [Jennifer] Davis actually benefits the most. She has more confidence now because she has people to rely on for help.”

A chance to rest was not enough for the senior hurler, however, as Davis notched her second loss of the season on Saturday when Cal (3-1) defeated UCSB 2-0. Golden Bears freshman pitcher Brittany LaRosa took care of business with a complete game shutout, giving up only four hits. Santa Barbara was not without its opportunities to score, as the Gauchos left seven runners on base. Despite the Gauchos’ failure to cross home plate, Putich continued her offensive success, going one-for-three with a stolen base.

“[Putich] is relaxing and starting to assume her leadership role,” Schroeder said.

In what would have been its final game of the tournament, Santa Barbara’s matchup with #6 Oregon State (2-1) was cancelled due to rain.

The Gauchos next welcome Nevada (0-4) to Campus Diamond on Friday to begin their UCSB Softball by the Beach Tournament.