UCSB started the 2012 campaign this past weekend dropping five of its six games in the Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State, including three losses to teams ranked in the top 25 in the nation.
“We just didn’t really show up to play,” sophomore second baseman Kathryn Pilpil said. “We had tough competition but we should’ve shown up.”
The Gauchos played their first game of the season against No. 9 Tennessee, falling behind early in the contest when sophomore pitcher Andriana Collins gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning, sparking the three-run inning for the Volunteers. Collins gave up seven runs on seven hits including giving up another home run in 4.1 innings of work en route to the 7-0 loss.
Tennessee sophomore pitcher Ellen Renfroe kept the Gaucho bats silent on the day, retiring the first eight batters before freshman shortstop DeJanee Moore singled to left with two outs in the third inning for the only Gaucho hit of the day. Renfroe struck out 11 batters, pitching a complete game one-hit shutout.
In the first game of Friday’s double header, junior third baseman Keilani Jennings gave the Gauchos their first lead of the season against Bradley with a home run in the second inning, hammering a shot over the right field fence. The Braves answered quickly in the next inning with a run of their own on a bases-loaded walk, forcing the game into extra innings where BU put runners on the corners and then stole home plate after an attempted pick-off play at first base, securing the 2-1 win.
Later on the day, No. 11 Oregon rolled past the Gauchos, defeating them 10-2 in five innings in accordance to the mercy rule. UCSB took a two-run lead in the top of the first with RBIs from Jennings and Moore. Oregon came back in the same inning with a pair of home runs including a two-run shot off of Collins to draw ahead of the Gauchos and never look back, scoring three runs in the third and four in the fourth.
Following another mercy rule defeat at the hands of BYU, 12-4, UCSB got on track against Utah for their first win of the season. The Gauchos drew ahead of the Utes in the bottom of the first inning after falling behind by two runs. Pilpil doubled to right center for a two-run RBI hit.
With the score even at 5-5 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, freshman pitcher Shelby Wisdom drew a walk and advanced to second on a ground out. Pilpil stepped up to the plate with two outs to provide the game-winning single to left field to score the runner from second base.
“I just played my game, I just went up there trying to get a little base hit,” Pilpil said. “[The win] was huge for us; we really needed that win and we showed up to play.”
The Gauchos then faced No. 10 Stanford Sunday morning. Collins gave up three earned runs to Stanford before leaving the mound with two outs in the first inning. Wisdom did not fare better against the Cardinal attack, allowing eight runs on six hits and walking five batters on the way to losing 11-0 in five innings.
“There’s a lot we can learn from this weekend,” Pilpil said. “We don’t care about the results, we’re trying to get better and get ready for conference.”
The Gauchos now travel to San Diego to compete in the Campbell/Cartier Classic hosted by University of San Diego and San Diego State where they will play against five opponents in three days, starting Feb. 17.