Coming off two victories against rival Cal Poly last week, the UCSB softball team went into the weekend confident. That confidence continues after this weekend’s three games against UC Davis in which Santa Barbara continued to gain momentum, earning two wins.
The Gauchos have now won four of their last five, improving to 6-5 in the Big West and 25-16 overall. UC Davis fell to 4-7 in conference and 17-21 overall.
“We are on a winning streak and we are aiming to continue this streak,” sophomore pitcher Shelby Wisdom said. “We have a lot of games ahead of us and are going to continue to work hard to get the wins.”
After splitting the first two games with Davis, UCSB began their final game of the weekend Sunday trying to stay above .500 in conference play. While their offense was not firing on all cylinders over the weekend, the defense stepped up just as it did in two wins against rival Cal Poly last week.
The defense was led by freshman pitcher Alex Pingree and her team leading 1.65 ERA, also good for fourth in the Big West. Pingree gave up just five hits and struck out three batters on her way to a second consecutive shutout over the Aggies.
UCSB’s single breakthrough on offense came in the bottom of the fourth when Wisdom hit her sixth home run of the season and gave the team a 1-0 lead. The defense did not relinquish the lead, giving up just one hit in the final three innings.
The second game against Davis featured a similar story. In the fourth inning of another defensively-dominated game, Wisdom again scored the Gauchos’ winning run. This time it was off a single down the right field line by senior shortstop Keilani Jennings.
Pingree pitched the first of two straight complete games and only gave up two hits in this one, striking out two batters. She retired three straight batters in the seventh to seal another 1-0 victory.
The Gauchos’ first game of the weekend was a very different story for the team’s defense, as Wisdom and junior pitcher Andrianna Collins struggled to stop the Aggies’ offense. Each pitcher gave up four runs in just five innings as UCSB was defeated early on the run rule.
Davis came out firing in the first inning, taking a 4-0 lead before there were even two outs. Before the Gauchos could trim the lead, the Aggies put on three more runs off a three-run double by junior infielder Chandler Wagner in the third inning.
Sophomore pitcher Justine Vela controlled UCSB’s batters on the way to her 11th win of the season. She gave up just three hits and had five strikeouts as she shut out the Gauchos and led her team to an 8-0 victory.
The Gauchos will now start preparing for a third game against Cal Poly this season. They will look to complete a season sweep of the Mustangs when they visit for a 3:00 p.m. game in San Luis Obispo this Wednesday.
A version of this article appeared on page 5 of April 15th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Mark Brocher of the Daily Nexus.