The Gauchos hosted California State University, Long Beach at Campus Diamond during Faculty & Staff Appreciation Weekend. UC Santa Barbara won the opening game 6-3 but could not get the bats going in games two and three, as they lost 5-0 and 9-0.
Coming into the weekend, both teams tied for first place in the Big West Conference. The high stakes for both teams brought out a large and energetic crowd over the weekend.
On Saturday, April 15 both teams were set to play a doubleheader. In the first game, junior pitcher Camryn Snyder took the circle for the Gauchos, keeping Long Beach scoreless in the 1st inning.
Snyder quickly found herself down one in the 2nd inning as Long Beach hit a solo home run to make it 1-0. Next half of the inning, UCSB took advantage of Long Beach’s mistakes as senior infielder Korie Thomas reached on a fielding error, scoring senior infielder Hannah Damore.
The Beach soon broke the tie in the 3rd inning as an RBI single brought the score to 2-1 in favor of Long Beach.
UCSB put up a fight, as they tied and took their first lead in the game in the bottom of the 4th inning. Senior outfielder Sam Denehy tied it up at two after an RBI single. The junior catcher Ashley Donaldson then gave the Gaucho a 2-run lead as she hit her fourth home run of the season, bringing in 2.
After 5 innings of play, the Gauchos remained up 4-2 as Snyder remained in control and didn’t give Long Beach any hope of coming back.
A sacrifice fly in the top of the 6th inning brought Long Beach only one down. UCSB quickly gave Snyder insurance runs as they scored 2 in the bottom of the 6th to extend their lead to 3.
As Snyder recorded the last 3 outs, she pitched a complete game, striking out 3, earning her eleventh win of the season and giving the Gauchos the first-place spot in the Big West Conference.
In game two, the Gauchos struggled. Freshman pitcher Malaya Johnson pitched four and one-third, only allowing 3 runs and striking out 4. Senior pitcher Ilona Sullivan took over from there, going the last 2 innings and striking out 3.
The Gauchos collectively gave up 5 runs and 11 hits through 7 innings. On the other hand, UCSB only had 2 hits coming from junior infielder Madelyn McNally. With little offensive production, UCSB was held scoreless.
Coming into the last game of the series, the Gauchos looked to bounce back from game two. UCSB couldn’t get the bats going as they were held scoreless again on back-to-back days.
A 4-run 1st inning from Long Beach set the tone of the game, as the Gauchos only had 1 hit throughout the game. UCSB dropped to 2nd place in the Big West Conference, tied with UC Davis.
The Gauchos travel to Orange County as the Titans are set to host a three-game series against the Gauchos, with the first game taking place on Friday, April 21 at 6 p.m.