Gauchos Can't Slow Down Illinois, CBU at LMU Tournament

Maci Fines (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Maci Fines (Photo by Tony Mastres)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara softball team closed out the LMU Tournament on Friday with losses to Illinois, 11-2 and California Baptist, 11-8.

The Gauchos (6-21) put up eight runs over two innings in their second game of the day against CBU (11-13), scoring four times each in the fourth and fifth innings. Despite their most prolific two-inning stretch of the season, they couldn't stop the Lancer offense, which pumped out 11 runs on 13 hits.

UCSB finished with 10 hits of its own, doing so for the sixth time in the last 12 games. Eight different Gauchos tallied at least one hit for the second time this year, tying a season-high.

After CBU took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth, UCSB would enjoy one of its best innings of the season to take its first lead of the day. Teah Thies, Genesis Ramirez and Ally Nodohara opened the inning with three straight singles, loading the bases. Thies would score the Gauchos' first run of the day via a Melanie Menor RBI groundout.

The rest of UCSB's runs in the inning would come against two outs. Ramirez scored on a wild pitch to tie things at 2-2. Nodohara would soon follow with a go-ahead run off a Goldstein single to left. Then, junior Carissa Felix, who had earlier earned a walk, would score her second run of the season on a Maci Fines single to left center.

Both teams exploded in the fifth inning, each tallying four hits and four runs. The Lancers regained the lead, 6-4, highlighted by a two-RBI double from Amanda Argomaniz.

In the bottom of the inning, a three-run homer by Felix, her first of the season, would instantly give UCSB a 7-6 advantage. Freshman Tyler Goldstein and Maci Fines followed with singles, making it five consecutive Gaucho batters to reach base. Fines' single brought Goldstein home from second to make it 8-6.

While UCSB would go hitless the rest of the way, CBU put up five more runs over the final two innings. A solo homer from Shelby Arbeiter brought the Lancers within one run, 8-7, heading into the seventh. With the game tied 8-8 in the final inning, Arbeiter would blast a three-run homer to put CBU ahead for good.

Facing the Illini (13-4) in the first game of the day, UCSB would fall in five innings, 11-2.

Sophomore left fielder Sammy Fabian tallied the Gauchos' lone hit in the fifth inning with a single to right center. She also earned walks on her other two at bats.

Illinois finished with 12 hits, but only needed three to put up six runs in the bottom of the first. The Illini would open the second with four straight hits, putting up a pair of runs to make it 8-0. They capped things with three runs in the following inning to go up 11-0.

In the top of the fourth, Fabian led off and reached second following a walk and a wild pitch. Thies and Ramirez would follow with walks immediately after. Goldstein would ground out to second with the bases loaded, nabbing an RBI as Fabian scored. Following a Menor walk, Alyssa Lazatin would tally an RBI of her own on a groundout to shortstop, scoring a run from Thies to make it 11-2. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, they would go scoreless the rest of the way.

UCSB will play just four more games before opening Big West play at home against Cal State Fullerton on Mar. 30. The Gauchos will travel to San Diego next Saturday, Mar. 23 for three games against the Toreros.