In its biggest upset of the season, the UCSB softball team defeated #2 Arizona State and improved to 13-5 overall after the weekend’s Sun Devil/Wilson DeMarini Invitational.
Junior designated hitter Danielle Meyers was the hero on Friday, as she blasted a grand slam over the right field fence to give the Gauchos the win against one of the best teams in the country.
“Danielle is patient up there and it seems like she hits well against good pitchers,” Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “We know what she’s capable of, especially since by the end of last season she was probably our best hitter.”
Kicking things off versus the University of Houston (17-7) on Friday, neither team could score until a Cougar home run in the seventh inning resulted in a 1-0 loss for Santa Barbara. Senior right-hander Jennifer Davis (2-4) took the defeat, despite giving up only four hits and throwing six scoreless innings.
In the second game, the Gauchos edged out host Arizona State (21-2) in an incredible 8-7 victory. The Sun Devils went on top early with a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third, but UCSB posted their first run with a bit of small ball in the following inning. Meyers then stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and drove one deep to right off freshman hurler Megan Elliott. Santa Barbara then tacked on three more crucial runs off three singles before Davis came in to stave off a Sun Devil comeback in the fifth. Freshman pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto stayed a perfect 6-0 with the win.
“I think we had some great at bats against their pitcher and once we had [the lead], we continued to battle and have more good at bats,” Schroeder said. “It is important to win games against ranked teams because it really helps to gain recognition.”
The Gauchos kept their momentum following the dramatic triumph and shut out Utah Valley State (3-10) 4-0 in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Junior catcher Ericka Hansen hit her first home run of the season and freshman pitcher Lindsey Correa (4-1) threw her third complete-game shutout as a Gaucho.
Facing North Florida (8-9) in the second installment, UCSB suffered a 1-0 loss when a throwing error from third base allowed the Ospreys to score their only run in the fifth inning. Davis pitched a gem, however, striking out a season-high 12 batters and allowing only two hits.
“Jenn pitched probably her best game of the season against [North Florida],” Schroeder said. “It’s just frustrating when we give up runs on errors like the one [on Saturday]. We’ve played great defense, but we still need to score more runs to relax our pitchers.”
In a bit of dŽjˆ vu, UCSB again blanked Utah Valley State 4-0 to wrap up the tournament on Sunday. Davis had her second dominant performance in as many games, giving up only two hits and fanning six. Santa Barbara was scheduled to play Creighton, but it had been snowed in and was unable to make the trip.
The Gauchos will return to action this Friday when they travel north for the Stanford Classic.