SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Gauchos maintained their perfect home record on day three of the Gaucho Classic I, earning a 7-4 win over San Diego (9-10) despite the fact that the Toreros had doubled their score through five and a half innings. Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth, UCSB (12-10) would score five straight runs en route to its eighth consecutive victory.
Senior right fielder Jacqueline Hinojosa had a team-leading two RBIs, while sophomore second baseman Sierra Altmeyer and junior catcher Samantha Lujan led the way with two runs each. Lujan also tied for game-high honors with three hits, going 3-3 at the plate, and setting a new season-high.
After San Diego opened the scoring with a run in the top of the second, the Gauchos would quickly equalize. With freshman Nicole Marino caught in a pickle between first and second, Altmeyer seized the opportunity and took off from third, making it home and tying it at 1-1 before the defense could shift its attention back that way.
UCSB would take its first lead of the day, 2-1, in the bottom of the fifth. Following a Lujan double, Hinojosa stepped up to knock a hard a single up the middle, giving Lujan enough time to make it home from second.
Things would get a little iffy for the Gauchos in the top of the sixth, as San Diego would tack on four hits and three runs to take its largest lead of the game at 4-2. While UCSB has usually waited until the seventh inning to make comebacks this season, the home side wasted no time, answering back with seven hits and five runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Junior outfielder Jessica Johnston got things started with a triple down the left field line. On the next at bat, Johnston would score on a sac fly into deep left field by freshman first baseman Alyssa Diaz.
Several batters later, a single from Lujan would bring Altmeyer home to tie it up at 4-4. The Gauchos weren't done there, as Lujan, sophomore shortstop Melanie Menor and Johnston would all score in bases-loaded situations to make it 7-4.
Needing three runs to stay alive in the top of the seventh, San Diego found itself with the bases loaded and two outs. However, the Toreros' attempt at a comeback fell just short, as UCSB was able to find the third out before San Diego could scratch once more.
Sophomore pitcher Veronika Gulvin (7-4) earned her team-leading seventh win of the season after pitching six full innings. Freshman pitcher Felisha Noriega earned her first career save after coming on in the seventh.
The Gauchos outhit the Toreros 11-9. Both teams were error-free in the game.
Santa Barbara will close out the Gaucho Classic I with a double-header against Northern Colorado tomorrow, with games scheduled for 12 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.