FRESNO, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara softball team took North Dakota down to the wire in its first game on Saturday at the Bulldog Classic, but a seventh inning run would put the Fighting Hawks on top 3-2. Later that night, UCSB's game against Fresno State would be postponed due to rain.
The Gauchos now own a 5-14 record on the year, while North Dakota improved to 10-13 with the win. As she has done for much of her sophomore season, outfielder Sammy Fabian was outstanding on offense, as she led the Gauchos with three hits, an RBI and a walk in four appearances at the plate.
Fabian would earn her walk on the second at bat on the day in the bottom of the first before making her way to third with a pair of stolen bases. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, they would miss out on a solid early scoring chance, as pitcher Jannay Jones struck out the final two UCSB batters with runners on second and third.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the third, when the Fighting Hawks opened the inning with three straight singles. They would head into the bottom half of the inning leading 2-0.
Freshman Tyler Goldstein led off for the Gauchos in the bottom of the third, making her way to second off of a walk and a wild pitch. Two batters later, Fabian would hit a single up the middle to spring Goldstein home, cutting the North Dakota lead in half at 2-1.
UCSB would strike again in the bottom of the fifth. After a fly out and a strikeout to open the inning, the Gauchos would string together three straight singles of their own, the first two from Maci Fines and Fabian. Sophomore Rayna Cohen then stepped up to fire a single up the middle, bringing Fines home to tie the game at 2-2.
The Fighting Hawks would tally just one more hit the rest of the way, but it was a decisive one. Jailene Carpio's single to left field in the top of the seventh would score the winning run from Jocelyn Kirk, handing UCSB its second consecutive loss.
The Gauchos finished with seven hits to North Dakota's five, but ended the day with a 2-1 disadvantage in errors. Tomorrow, they will play California Baptist at 11:30 a.m. and get their rematch with Fresno State at approximately 4:30 p.m., following the Bulldogs' afternoon game against CBU.