All it takes is one loss to cause a slippery slope for any team.
After getting off to its best start in program history, the UCSB softball team dropped another game yesterday, falling 8-1 to Oregon State.
The loss marks the fifth straight for the Gauchos, which drop to 21-15 overall while remaining 1-2 in Big West play. The Beavers improve to 12-18 on the year.
While Santa Barbara was only outhit 13-7, it was Oregon St. that was able to put runs on the scoreboard.
A number of Beavers had exceptional performances offensively. Sophomore leftfielder Kori Nishitomi hit 2-4 with two runs and one RBI while freshman designated player Alexis Gonzalez was 2-2 on the day with one run and two RBI. In addition, junior centerfielder Dani Gilmore contributed two runs on 3-4 hitting and senior first baseman Hannah Bouska added two runs on 3-3 hitting.
Entering the third inning, Oregon St. found its stride offensively, scoring at least one run in every remaining inning.
In the third, the Beavers strung together four hits to score three runs. The following inning, freshman catcher Kylie Padilla crossed home plate on a wild pitch. Oregon St. continued to play small ball to score two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.
UCSB did muster one run in the sixth inning, but overall couldn’t string hits together to find the needed runs. The Gauchos were 2-12 hitting with runners on base while the Beavers were 7-20.
The Beavers were also 14-22 in advancing runners compared to just 3-13 for the Gauchos.
With three games in Oregon done, UCSB will try to snap its losing skid this weekend when it returns home to play Cal Poly in a blue-green rivalry match-up.
The Mustangs come to Campus Diamond tied for third place in the Big West. They hold a 20-12 overall record and are 2-1 in conference play.
So far this season, Cal Poly stands as one of the best defensive teams in the Big West. It leads the league in hits allowed, runs and ERA, all by a large margin.
Leading the Mustangs’ defense is Sierra Hyland. The freshman pitcher won her fourth Big West Pitcher of the Week award earlier this week, a team record. Hyland currently ranks sixth in the nation in strikeouts with 180 on the year. Her ERA of 1.66 also tops the Big West.
For a series victory this week for UCSB, the Gauchos will need to improve on stringing hits together and finding consistency on offense.
First pitch of the three game series is set for noon on Saturday.
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of April 3rd’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Dustin Harris of the Daily Nexus.