After going 4-1 in its opening tournament, the UCSB softball team rode a wave of momentum into their doubleheader against UCLA on Wednesday, but the #4 Bruins took all the wind out of the Gauchos’ sails by handing them two lopsided defeats at Campus Diamond.
Santa Barbara’s record dropped to 4-3 after losing their home opener 14-0 and the second game of the doubleheader 11-1. The Gaucho pitching staff struggled to navigate the vaunted Bruin lineup, missing out on several opportunities to escape big innings before major damage was done.
“One of the things we discussed with our pitchers is to just throw good pitches and let the defense work,” Head Coach Brie Galicinao said. “You definitely take into consideration that they’re an offensive powerhouse, but you don’t change who you are.”
In the opening game UCSB managed only one hit while the Bruins teed off on three different Gaucho pitchers on their way to a 14 run explosion.
The second game offered a little more intrigue as the Gauchos played inspired in the early innings behind excellent defense and a gutsy effort from senior pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto.
UCSB got on the board in the first inning when senior first baseman Jessica Ziegler scored on a single from junior shortstop Jessica Beristianos, giving the Gauchos a 1-0 lead. Matsumoto made the lead stand by retiring the Bruins in order in the bottom half of the inning. Unfortunately, the home team failed to muster any offense after the first inning, while UCLA broke through with four runs in the fourth inning. UCLA then tacked on three runs in the fifth to put the game out of reach.
“We are just looking to put the losses behind us and improve every day as a team,” Matsumoto said.
The schedule does not get any easier for the Gauchos as they face a tough San Diego State squad followed by #1 University of Washington at the Campbell/Cartier Classic this weekend.
“We are really working towards conference,” Galicinao said. It is better to play this kind of competition than to play easier competition, because the Big West conference is tough.”