The UC Santa Barbara softball team’s season came to a close this weekend as the Gauchos were swept by their in-conference opponent, Cal State Northridge. This came at the hands of losing to their other conference opponent, UC Riverside, the week prior. Although they had a rough go on the year finishing 15-39 and 6-21 in conference, the Gauchos had highlights sprinkled throughout their season.
In the beginning of March, the Gauchos put together an impressive winning streak, winning four games in a row by a combined score of 42-11. Also, along the way the Gauchos were able to take a game in each of their series against Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. Better yet, in the last series of April, the squad was able to take the series versus their conference opponent UC Davis in the final game of the series.
As for the team, there were many positives to cancel out what would be ruled a disappointing season for the Gauchos. As the team’s final game was senior day, it’s only fitting that the leaders of at bats this season were three seniors, infielder Maci Fines, catcher Teah Thies and outfielder Ally Nodohara. Of the three, Fines has had the standout season for the Gauchos, leading the team with 6 triples and tied with the most doubles with 10. Another senior, first baseman Rayna Cohen amassed one less walk than strikeouts, which led to her team leading .419 on base percentage.
As for the returners, the best pitcher on the staff for the Gauchos was the sophomore pitcher standout Camryn Snyder, who put together a team leading 4.65 earned run average and racked up 7 wins, the most on the team. Junior pitcher Lexy Mills was the second-best pitcher, based on earned run average at 6.00 which came with a team leading 15 losses. Mills excelled on the hitting end as well producing the teams second-highest slugging percentage at .494 while hitting a pair of home runs.
Leading the underclassmen this season in hitting was sophomore infielder Madelyn McNally, who put together a .496 slugging percentage, the best on the team. On the base paths, McNally was a speed demon, swiping 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts. Sophomore catcher and utility player Ashley Donaldson is another piece in the rebuild moving forward, after putting up a .385 slugging percentage, .358 on base percentage and hitting a home run.
Overall, of the 10 batters who were given the most at bats this season, only 4 of the 10 were seniors, so there shouldn’t be too much turnover headed into the new season. On the pitching side, of the five most used pitchers, none of them happened to be a senior which means room to improve next season like for the Gauchos as a whole. With every low note on the year, there were always many positives, and this year is progress for a young Gauchos softball program.