Feb. 25, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team split a doubleheader with visiting St. John's on Monday afternoon at the Campus Diamond. The Gauchos posted an 11-2 mercy win over the Red Storm in the first match-up of the day before dropping a heartbreaker, 6-4 in the second pairing. With the split, the Gaucho season record now stands at an even 7-7 while St. John's improves to 1-8 with its first win of the season.
During the first game of the day, Big West Player of the Week, Tisha Duran, led the Gauchos going 2-for-3 at the plate with a homerun, three RBI, and three total runs. Freshman right fielder Katie McWhirter went 1-for-2 with a double, two RBI, three runs, and a walk. Sophomore catcher Kelsey Anderson went 1-for-2 with three RBI and a walk.
Junior pitcher Tami Weston picked up the win in the circle after pitching the complete five innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
In the bottom of the first, Jessica Ziegler singled and Mary Episcopo got hit by a pitch to put two Gauchos on with one out. In her first at-bat of the day, Duran homered over the left center field fence giving UCSB a quick 3-0 advantage. One out later, McWhirter walked before a St. John's error put Anderson on base and sent McWhirter home for the unearned run.
Trailing 4-0, St. John's responded at the top of the second inning. The Red Storm loaded the bases with two outs before a RBI single from Bionka King sent Brandy Reyes home for the first St. John's run of the game. The next batter was hit by a Gaucho pitch sending another runner across home plate and cutting the UCSB lead to 4-2.
In the third inning, the Gauchos loaded the bases before Christine Ramos earned a walk, sending home a fifth Gaucho run. UCSB added two more runs to its tally in the fourth when Anderson singled to right field driving Duran and McWhirter home.
In the fifth inning, Nicole Churnock led off with a single straight up the middle of the field, which was followed with another Gaucho single off the bat of Ramos. A sacrifice bunt from Ziegler pushed both runners over before a sacrifice fly from Episcopo sent Churnock across home plate. With two outs, Duran walked before Tiffany Wright doubled to left field sending Ramos home. An error by the St. John's catcher allowed Duran and Wright to come home and gave UCSB the 11-2 mercy rule victory.
In the Gauchos' second game of the day, junior Ramos led the way, going 3-for-4 with two runs while classmate Wright was 1-for-4 with two RBI. Sophomore pitcher Lindsey Correa took the loss after throwing six innings, allowing five runs on four hits, while walking five and fanning three.
St. John's took an early 1-0 lead at the top of the first inning in game two when King stole home. The Gauchos quickly responded in the bottom of the same inning when they loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Wright grounded out to second base, driving Ramos home to tie the game at 1-1.
The next three innings remained deadlocked before UCSB was able to put more runs on the board in the bottom of the fifth. A fielder's choice from Ziegler brought Ramos home for her second run, giving UCSB a slight 2-1 advantage. A double to right center field by Duran two outs later drove Episcopo home and a single to left field from Wright during the next at-bat scored the third Gaucho run of the inning, stretching UCSB's lead to 4-1.
A bases-loaded double to right center field from St. John's Danielle Estrada during the next inning, once again tied the game at 4-4. The Red Storm then stretched their lead with a pair of the runs at the top of the seventh to hold a 6-4 advantage.
The Gauchos loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the final inning, but all three Gauchos were left stranded as St. John's took the 6-4 victory, the first of the season for the Red Storm.
UCSB will head to Columbus, Ga. this weekend for the NFCA Lead-off Classic, its lone out-of-state tournament of the regular season. The Gauchos are scheduled to take-on No. 12 Michigan, N.C. State, No. 15 Mississippi State, Syracuse, and No. 17 DePaul during the three-day event, which runs Feb. 29 through Mar. 2.