LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Pitted against tough competition on day one of the LMU Tournament on Thursday, the UC Santa Barbara softball team was defeated by No. 3 Oklahoma, 12-1 and the host Lions, 3-2.
Despite giving up three early runs against Loyola Marymount (15-9), the Gauchos would fight their way back into the game.
UCSB had at least one hit in each of the first six innings, but wouldn't turn that into a run until the top of the third. Freshman Tyler Goldstein opened the inning with a double down the left field line. Sophomores Maci Fines and Sammy Fabian would soon follow with singles, loading the bases. Then, with only one out on the board, junior Genesis Ramirez drew an RBI walk, giving Goldstein UCSB's first run of the game.
The Gauchos would strike again in the fifth inning. Fines led off with a single to left, and advanced to second on an LMU error. Fabian immediately followed with a single up the middle, bringing Fines home to cut the deficit to just one run at 3-2.
Unfortunately for UCSB, the early 3-0 hole proved to much to overcome as that would be the final run of the game. Sophomore Alyssa Lazatin got the Gauchos out to a promising start in the sixth with a single to third base, but that would be their ninth and final hit.
Fabian finished an efficient 3-of-4 at the plate, her fifth three-hit performance of the season. Fines and Lazatin added two hits apiece, while Goldstein and Carissa Felix chipped in with one each. Junior pitcher Felisha Noriega (5-7) pitched all six innings, striking out two batters.
Facing the No. 3 ranked Sooners (21-2) for the second time this season to open their Thursday slate, the Gauchos hung tight, keeping things tied at 1-1 heading into the sixth inning. However, Oklahoma would end the game with 11 unanswered runs over the final two innings, taking a 12-1 victory, its 11th straight win overall.
The Gauchos got out to a strong start, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. After freshman Ally Nodohara reached first base on a passed ball, Genesis Ramirez would step up to hit an RBI single to left center, bringing Nodohara home to make it 1-0. Ramirez – who ended the day with two of UCSB's three RBI – tied a season-high recording two hits for the fourth time this season.
The Sooners would be held without a hit until the top of the third, After taking a pair of pop ups to open the inning, back-to-back Oklahoma hits would bring in the tying run from outfielder Raegan Rogers.
Neither team would record a hit until the sixth, when Oklahoma exploded for five runs on five hits, capped off by a two-run double by Sami Skelly. The Sooners would put up six more runs to seal things in the seventh inning.
Tomorrow, Santa Barbara returns to Smith Field for games against Illinois (10:15 am) and California Baptist (2:45 pm). The Gauchos will face Illinois for just the second time in program history, while they take on the Lancers for the third time in seven days. UCSB defeated CBU 7-5 last Friday at the Fresno State Bulldog Classic, but fell 5-1 in a rematch just two days later.