UCSB softball opened conference play eyeing a fresh start to a disappointing season, but the Gauchos continued to struggle this past weekend as they were swept by Cal State Fullerton 10-1, 12-3 and 5-3 to push their losing streak to eight games. The losses relegate Santa Barbara (9-25 overall, 0-3 Big West) to last place in conference.

Fullerton used a late rally on Saturday to complete the sweep in extra innings. The Gauchos were up 3-2 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, but senior pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto allowed a two-strike single up the middle with a runner on second, allowing Fullerton to tie the score at 3-3. Matsumoto had recorded two quick outs before the Matadors’ back-to-back hits pushed the game into extras.

Santa Barbara had runners on base in both the eighth and ninth innings but failed to score the pivotal go-ahead run. While the Gauchos were unable to capitalize on their scoring opportunities, Fullerton made the most of its opening in the bottom of the ninth. Facing senior pitcher Lindsey Correa, CSUF outfielder Torrie Anderson belted a walk-off homerun to complete the comeback.

Though she reentered the game late, Correa was the starter for the Gauchos on Saturday, allowing three runs in four innings. Krista Cobb pitched a scoreless fifth inning in relief before giving way to Matsumoto who gave up two runs in 3.2 innings.

The Gauchos were the only team in the Big West Conference not to earn a win in the opening weekend of play.

Santa Barbara continues conference play with a three-game series against Cal Poly at Campus Diamond beginning at noon on Saturday, April 10.