Gauchos Top USD, Santa Clara, Remain Perfect at Gaucho Classic II

L-R: Veronika Gulvin and Felisha Noriega (Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge)
L-R: Veronika Gulvin and Felisha Noriega (Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Gauchos improved to a perfect 4-0 record this weekend, using a pair of early 2-0 leads to earn close victories over San Diego (12-15) and Santa Clara (7-21) on day two of the Gaucho Classic II. In the first game against the Toreros, UCSB (16-14) earned a 4-3 win behind two hits and three RBIs from freshman first baseman Alyssa Diaz. Later in the day, the hosts defeated Santa Clara 2-1 as sophomore pitcher Veronika Gulvin (10-6) gave up just four hits and zero earned runs while pitching a full seven innings.

Santa Clara

UCSB improved to a four-game win streak by defeating Santa Clara 2-1 in the final game of the day. After going scoreless through the first two innings, the Gauchos got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the third. It was the fourth straight game that they took a 2-0 lead out of the gates.

First, senior left fielder Kristen Clark scored off a single up the middle by junior outfielder Jessica Johnston. The run was the 118th of Clark's career, moving her into sole possession of the third-highest mark in UCSB history.

Immediately after, Johnston would make it 2-0 on a double from sophomore second baseman Sierra Altmeyer.

The Gauchos managed to keep the Broncos off the board until the top of the fifth, when a single by sophomore Kelsie Barnard brought home senior Kimberly Goulart for an unearned run. That proved to be the final run of the game, as UCSB held on for a 2-1 win.

Through seven innings in the circle, Gulvin finished without giving up an earned run. UCSB ended with a 5-4 advantage in hits.

San Diego

Facing the Toreros for the second time in as many days, the Gauchos improved to a 3-0 season record against USD with a 4-3 victory. Diaz, who finished 2-2 with three RBIs and a walk, got the scoring started with a two-run double in the bottom of the first, scoring runs from Clark and Altmeyer.

In the top of the third, the Toreros answered with a run by left fielder Taylor Spence, cutting the lead to 2-1. The Gauchos would push the lead back up to two runs with a solo homer from Altmeyer later in the inning.

Freshman Sara Silveyra would again cut the deficit to one at 3-2, capitalizing on a UCSB throwing error in the top of the fifth. Once again, the Gauchos would have an answer, as Clark made it 4-2 on a single from Diaz.

Needing at least two runs to extend the game in the top of the seventh, the Broncos managed to cut it to 4-3 as Silveyra rounded the bases for her second run of the game. However, despite recording three hits in the inning, Santa Clara's comeback effort fell just short, as the Broncos left two runners on base on the way to a 4-3 defeat.

Freshman pitcher Felisha Noriega (3-6) remained in the circle for the full seven innings, picking up a new career-high with six strikeouts.

It was UCSB's third one-run win during the current four-game win streak. The Gauchos are now 12-3 in games decided by two runs or less.

Santa Barbara was outhit 9-7 for the game, with Diaz and Clark leading the way with two hits apiece. The Gauchos will play their final game of the weekend in a rematch with Santa Clara tomorrow at 11 a.m.