The UCSB softball team picked up two important road wins over rival Cal Poly yesterday and looks to continue its win-streak this weekend with three home games against UC Davis.
With the victories, the Gauchos improved to 23-15 overall and 4-4 in Big West games. Cal Poly fell to 16-24 overall and 5-6 in conference play. UCSB now owns sole possession of fourth place in the Big West.
“Today’s wins were so great,” junior outfielder McKenzie Kane said. “It really shows that we’re capable of playing hard when it matters and when the pressure is on to perform our best.”
UCSB’s second game against Cal Poly was tight throughout, but one run from Kane was enough to get Santa Barbara the 1-0 win.
The story of the game was defense for the Gauchos. While lead sophomore pitcher Shelby Wisdom was resting after throwing a complete game just an hour earlier, freshman Alex Pingree stepped into the spotlight and didn’t disappoint.
Pingree pitched a full seven innings herself, shutting out the Mustangs while throwing four strikeouts. She gave up only four hits all game and is now 4-2 in six career starts.
“Our defense was phenomenal,” Wisdom said. “We made some awesome plays, diving catches, double plays and threw girls out.”
Kane’s winning run came in the fifth inning off a single by senior outfielder Jessica Soria.
In the Gauchos first game against Cal Poly earlier in the day, solid defense was once again the key to a low-scoring victory. The team played excellent team defense and only gave up one run all game.
Freshman outfielder Arianna Palomares was the main catalyst for the Gauchos on offense, picking up two RBI on 2-for-4 hitting.
The Gauchos first run came in the third inning when Palomares knocked a single to left field to bring in sophomore infielder Jenessa Jeppesen.
The Mustangs tied the game off a double by junior infielder Kim Westlund in the fifth inning. However, junior infielder Lauren Boser answered back with a double in the sixth to bring junior second baseman Kathryn Pilpil home and give the Gauchos a 2-1 lead.
Palomares capped off her day with another RBI in the seventh to bring Soria home and seal a 3-1 victory.
UCSB will try to carry its momentum when they return home this weekend to play UC Davis. The Aggies are 3-5 in conference, but two of those losses came in impressive hard-fought battles with Big West leader No. 15 Hawaii, one of which reached 10 innings.
Davis’ batters hit at just a .234 clip, significantly lower than the Gauchos’ .270, and they lack much of any explosiveness with just six home runs in 33 games (compared to 16 in 36 games for UCSB).
The Aggies’ make up for their lack of offense in sophomore pitcher Justine Vela (9-5) and her 2.44 ERA. Backing her up is her southpaw freshman teammate Leah Munden, who’s averaging just a 2.45 ERA herself.
UCSB will play Davis at noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of April 11th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Mark Brocher of the Daily Nexus.