Some teams might be intimidated by ranked opponents, but the UCSB softball team simply relishes these opportunities.
The Gauchos (21-14 overall, 0-6 in the Big West) snapped their six-game losing streak with an impressive 1-0 win over #24 Fresno State (32-14) in overtime on Tuesday evening. Despite transportation issues which allowed only one game of the scheduled doubleheader to be played, UC Santa Barbara came through after seven scoreless innings to defeat their fourth ranked team this season.
“We played with confidence and I was happy with our determination tonight,” Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “We finally bounced back and this team was reignited because we were kind of getting ahead of ourselves before. I think we held each other accountable a little bit more when we made mistakes this time and we didn’t get down on ourselves. We owned up to our mistakes and we played with a lot of heart.”
The game was an eight-inning battle between hurlers with some heat. UCSB faced a very tough pitcher in senior right-hander Robin Mackin (24-7), who threw her 25th complete game of the season, giving up one run on six hits with seven strikeouts. But to the Gauchos’ credit, senior righty Jennifer Davis shutout the Bulldogs and rose to 5-10, allowing only two hits and striking out a season-high 14 batters in eight innings of work. She also staved off Fresno State’s threat to win in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and a runner on second by getting the Bulldog pitcher to pop out.
“Jenn Davis pitched an awesome game, but she is capable of doing that every time she goes out there,” Schroeder said. “She stayed in it the whole time and she finished.”
In an unusual offensive outing, UCSB did not rely on the top of the order to get their rally started – sophomore second baseman Christine Ramos and senior first baseman Jessica Hejna were a combined 0-for-7 on the evening. Instead, junior third baseman Tisha Duran and sophomore centerfielder Tiffany Wright both had heroic efforts in the top of the eighth inning when Duran singled and Wright tripled to score the only run of the game.
“Tisha did a nice job going 3-for-4 and Tiffany had some good at bats,” Schroeder said. “Tonight, our players who are capable of hitting well did just that. Hopefully, we can get everyone doing it together again soon.”
Nonconference play continues through the weekend when UCSB returns home to host UC Davis for a three-game series beginning on Saturday at 12 p.m.