SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Opening its final series of the 2019 season at Cal Poly, the UC Santa Barbara softball team split Saturday's doubleheader at Bob Janssen Field, winning the opener 6-5 and falling 5-3 in game two.
The series-opening win not only ended an eight-game skid for the Gauchos (9-42, 3-17), but it was also a milestone victory for head coach Brie Galicinao, who becomes just the 11th Big West coach ever to reach 300 career wins.
UCSB's offense came alive late on, after the Mustangs (10-39, 4-15) initially took a 3-0 lead through the first three innings.
Junior Rayna Cohen scored the first Gaucho run of the day in the bottom of the fifth, courtesy of a Sammy Fabian single up the middle. Fabian would later score along with freshman Tyler Goldstein on a Cal Poly error, tying the game at 3-3.
Freshman pitcher Alyssa Molina, who entered the game at the beginning of the fourth, would hold the Mustangs to a single hit for a second consecutive inning, keeping things tied at 3-3 heading into the top of the seventh.
Junior Kayla Krantz would reach first on a fielder's choice and freshman Ally Nodohara would earn a walk soon after. Freshman Teah Thies also reached on a fielder's choice. Facing two outs, junior Devan Sperry then knocked a double down the left field line, bringing all three runners home to record three timely RBIs, making it 6-3.
Cal Poly would finally get on the board against Molina in the bottom of the seventh, as an RBI double from Lily Amos cut the lead to 6-4. After junior pitcher Felisha Noriega was inserted into the circle, an RBI single by Makenna Young brought the home side within a single run.
With two runners on base, the Gaucho defense would pick up the final out on a line out to third base, giving them their second series-opening win during conference play. Molina (1-1) struck out a pair of batters while earning her first career win. Noriega notched her first save of the year.
Sperry and Goldstein led the way with two hits apiece, while Cal Poly slightly edged out UCSB 8-7 in hits. The Mustangs also tallied all three errors in the game.
Cal Poly would once again take the initial lead in the second game of the doubleheader, going up 2-0 on back-to-back singles in the bottom of the second.
UCSB answered quickly in the top of the third, equaling the Mustangs with two runs coming on three hits. Nodohara brought Krantz home with a single to center field. Thies followed with a ground out to second which scored a run from Fabian, who had reached via a double to left center several at bats earlier.
Unfortunately for the Gauchos, the Mustangs tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the third. An RBI double down the left field line from Crimson Kaiser in the fifth inning capped Cal Poly's day on the offensive end, putting the home side up 5-2.
Needing three runs in the top of the seventh to stay alive, the Gauchos would get one back, as Cohen scored on a single to right center by Krantz to make it 5-3. The Mustang defense would end things on a double play after that.
The Mustangs outhit UCSB 12-8 in this one, while UCSB tallied two errors to Cal Poly's one. Fabian and Krantz both had multi-hit outings with two hits each. Fabian has now had two hits in three of her last five outings.
The two teams will meet once more tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. to close out the regular season.