SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UCSB split the opening day of the 2015 Gaucho Classic with a 5-3 come from behind win against Rutgers followed by a 6-0 loss to undefeated Pittsburgh on Friday.
Jacqueline Hinojosa led the Gauchos with three hits on the day, while also making starts in center field. Alex Pingree pitched a complete game win over the Scarlet Knights, as she quelled Rutgers' hot start and put UCSB in position for its comeback.
UCSB took the inaugural game of the 2015 Gaucho Classic in comeback fashion with five unanswered runs to down Rutgers 5-3.
Emily Brucelas, Kristen Clark, Jacqueline Hinojosa, and MeShalon Moore led the team with two hits each. Overall, the Gauchos collected 12 base knocks, which is the most the team has hit in a seven-inning game this year.
The Gauchos late-game push started in the bottom of the fourth inning when the team was facing a 3-0 deficit. MeShalon Moore hit the leadoff single through the left side and was soon followed with a single by her sister DeJanee to put runners on first and second.
Jenessa Jeppesen brought in the first Gaucho run with a single chopped up the middle and put runners on the corners.
After being called in to pinch run for Jeppesen, Jessica Johnston was caught in a pickle after trying to steal second. But while the freshman took the attention of the infield, DeJanee Moore got the green light to score from third and put UCSB within one.
UCSB continued with that momentum in the fifth inning starting with Emily Brucelas singled up the middle and later advanced to second on a wild pitch. With a runner in scoring position and no outs, Shelby Wisdom connected on an RBI single to send Brucelas home as the tying run.
MeShalon Moore then delivered the Gauchos' biggest hit of the day with a double delivered to left center, giving UCSB its first lead of the game. Samantha Stark provided the exclamation point of the rally with a single flared into left field, which easily sent Moore in for the score. All three of UCSB's scoring plays in the inning were made in consecutive at bats.
Alex Pingree was lights out down the stretch, as she only faced 11 batters through the final three innings. Highlighting her performance was a three up, three down top of the seventh when she pitched a pair of groundouts plus a strike out. The complete game effort secured the junior's first win of the season, as she finished with six punch outs while allowing three earned runs.
After a 5-3 triumph over Rutgers, UC Santa Barbara (3-4) faced off against a talented undefeated Pittsburgh squad (7-0). After a five run effort against the Scarlet Knights, Santa Barbara could not get any offense in its second match of the Gaucho Classic. With two errors and a lack of offense, the Gauchos ultimately fell to the Panthers, 6-0.
The game's first runs occurred in the top of the second where Pitt capitalized on a Gaucho error. After a lead off double and a single, Pittsburgh captured the first run of the match off a Gaucho pass ball. With runners on second and third due to a sacrifice bunt, the Panthers kept its offense rolling with a one out fielder's choice that resulted in the second run of the game.
A pitching duel thus far, the visitors pulled away from the Gauchos with a three run fifth frame. Beginning the inning with a walk, single, and walk, UCSB was caught in a no out bases loaded jam. With a fielder's choice and error at home plate, the Gauchos fell victim to two unearned runs; leading to a 4-0 lead for the Panthers. With a single through the right side of the field, Pitt captured a comfortable five run lead over the home squad.
Failing to capture any offensive momentum in the match, UCSB faced a six run hole in its final frame. Pinch hitting for Jessica Teztlaff, freshman Jessica Johnston advanced to base off a walk. With one out and Samantha Stark advancing to first by being hit from the pitch, the Gauchos had two runners on base. Despite the runners on base, the Gauchos were left blank as King caused a flyout and strikeout to end the sunny afternoon match.
UCSB will come back to action for day two of the Gaucho Classic. The Gauchos will first face off against Rutgers at 8:30 a.m. and then are slated to compete once more against Pittsburgh at 1 p.m.