FULLERTON, Calif. – Melanie Menor's game-winning homer highlights UCSB's (28-28, 11-10) Saturday doubleheader at Cal State Fullerton (43-14, 17-4), as the Gauchos split the day following 4-3 and 7-1 decisions.
Menor's bomb was delivered in the first game during the seventh inning, as she helped the Gauchos complete a 4-0 run to pull off the win.
Menor came through with her second consecutive two-hit game, as she went 2-4 with a pair of RBIs. Jessica Johnston matched the freshman with her two hits, while Arianna Palomares drove in two runs with a single and a walk.
In the circle, Gulvin (8-11) picked up her eighth win of the season after coming in during the second and shutout the Titans in the final 5.2 innings. In that span, she allowed six hits (all singles) and a walk, while recording one strikeout. The Gaucho defense was solid from the third inning on, as they helped Gulvin leave nine Titans on base.
On the Fullerton side, Sydney Golden (17-5) was handed just her fifth loss of the season, as the Gauchos picked up seven hits off her in scoring their four runs, all earned.
To open the game, the Titans used a pair of doubles to garner their 3-0 lead by the end of the second inning. The second of the two-base knocks brought in a pair of runs for Fullerton in the second frame, which brought in Gulvin to relieve Ashley Ludlow of pitching duties.
With one out, the freshman picked up the final two outs in just four pitches, as she forced a fly out and a foul out.
While the Titans burst out of the gates with three runs, the Gauchos hit just one single through their first seven batters. However, UCSB woke up its bats in the third and cut the Fullerton lead down to one run.
Jessica Tetzlaff and Stacy Cavazos led off the inning with back-to-back infield singles, and later moved into scoring position with Kristen Clark's sacrifice bunt. This set up the Gauchos' first scoring play of the game with a groundout from Menor. And just one at bat later, Palomares scored UCSB's second run with a single hit to left field.
The Gauchos picked it up again in the fifth inning when they were able to tie the score after Palomares drew a walk with bases loaded.
Later in the top of the seventh, the Titans picked up two outs through the first two batters, but Menor's homer to right field made all the difference and gave the Gauchos their first lead of the game at 4-3.
In sealing the win, Gulvin needed to face only four batters in the bottom of the seventh, as the Titans never reached scoring position.
UCSB was unable to complete the Saturday sweep, as the team fell 7-1 in the series finale. Cal State Fullerton was lifted by a second inning grand slam from Missy Taukeiaho, while Melissa Sechrest added one more dinger in the third.
The Gauchos scored first in the game thanks to the speedy Kristen Clark. The junior led off the inning with a single to right center and was sacrificed over to second base on a bunt from Melanie Menor. From there, Clark was able to reach home plate after advancing on a wild pitch and sprinted the extra 60 feet after a throwing error by Fullerton catcher Alexis Gonzalez. Samantha Stark looked to keep the Gauchos going with a single, but the Titans avoided any more damage with a pop up and a foul out.
In the bottom half of the inning, Fullerton was able to score with the help of a throwing error as well. But the Gauchos safely got out of the inning with Veronika Gulvin forcing two quick outs after being put into the circle.
Through the next three innings, UCSB was able to put three runners on second, but were unable to advance them farther. The team had its best scoring opportunity in the fifth inning after loading the bases.
After a groundout led off the inning, Arianna Palomares drew a walk and Stark was hit by a pitch to give the Gauchos two runners. A deep foul out by Sierra Altmeyer allowed Palomares to advance to third, as Jessica Johnston followed that at bat with a walk to put three runners on for the Gauchos. However, UCSB was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, as the Titans picked up a groundout to end the inning.
UCSB was held to three hits in the game with Jessica Tetzlaff, Clark, and Stark recording singles.
The Gauchos used three pitchers in the game, as Gulvin was credited with the loss (8-12), as she went 1-1 in the twin bill. Overall, the pitching staff allowed seven runs (five earned) on nine hits.