Gauchos Drop Pair of Heartbreakers
March 11, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team carried a perfect 5-0 home mark into this weekend's Gaucho Classic II, but the Gauchos had their home win streak snapped with a pair of heartbreaking one-run losses on Friday.
UCSB (11-8) fell to UNLV (12-7) in a nine-inning thriller before seeing a 4-0 lead disappear in the loss to Wisconsin (6-6) later in the day.
In the morning's tournament opener, UCSB battled through eight scoreless innings with visiting UNLV. At the top of the ninth - per the international tie breaker rule ¬- pinch runner UNLV Tara Woodrall was placed at second base. Elena Fata was able to reach base on balls, but UCSB earned its first out of the inning when Fata was out at second unassisted following a fielder's choice hit by Stefany Valentino.
With runners on the corners, Paige Emerson grounded out to the shortstop allowing Valentino to move into scoring position. Ashli Holland followed with what would prove to be the game-winning single - a hard hit ball that bounced off the glove of Gaucho third baseman Jessica Beristianos into left field as she dove for it. Both Woodall and Valentino came home on the play to give UNLV a 2-0 lead.
The Gauchos had their chance for a comeback at the bottom of the inning. With Brooke Putich placed on second, Kathryn Pilpil led off with a single hit straight up the middle. One out later, Pilpil stole second to put both runners in scoring position before a ground out by Keilani Jennings sent Boser home and moved Pilpil to third. That is where the UCSB rally would end though as the Rebels earned the final out of the game on a foul fly popped up to first base.
The loss marked the Gauchos' first on their home diamond this year. It was also their first game to go into extra innings.
Andriana Collins (7-5) suffered the loss in the circle after tossing the complete game. She allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits while walking six and striking out four. At the plate, Boser led the Gauchos going 2-for-4 with a double
For UNLV, Amanda Oliveto picked up the win and improved to 9-3 on the year. She tossed all nine innings as well and allowed just one unearned run on five hits. She struck out seven and did not allow a walk.
In the second contest of the day, UCSB got on the scoreboard first at the top of third inning when Jennings hit a RBI single that fell directly between the Wisconsin shortstop and second baseman, allowing McKenzie Kane to score from second base.
With one out at the top of the fourth inning, Jessica Beristianos and Katie McWhirter hit consecutive singles up the middle to put two runners on. Kendall Gill followed with yet another single hit into the mid-field gap, which drove Beristianos home. One out later, Brooke Putich hit a triple to right center field to score McWhirter and Gill.
In the bottom of the fifth, Kendall Grimm led off with a single to right field for Wisconsin and advanced to second when Mary Massei grounded out to second base. An overthrow to first base by Jennings on the next play allowed Michelle Mueller to reach first and when the ball left the field of play, both runners were allowed to advance a base, sending Grimm home for the Badgers' first run.
Pitcher Cassandra Darrah followed with a bunt. The Gauchos could not get to the ball quick enough to throw either Darrah out at home or tag Mueller out as she crossed home plate. One out later, Darrah stole third before Jennifer Krueger earned a walk, putting runners on the corners. Krueger was able to steal second, helping set the table for Karla Powell's at-bat.
Powell worked her way to a full count and with the tying run at second and two outs, she hit a double to deep left center field to notch the game at four apiece.
UCSB battled back at the top of the sixth inning as Kane, Putich and Jennings loaded the bases on consecutive infield hits. With one out, Allison Taylor sent a fly ball to left field for the second out and Wisconsin center fielder Jennifer Krueger beat Kane to the plate with her throw home, ending the inning.
At the top of the sixth with two outs and Massei on second base, Mueller hit an RBI single up the middle, putting Wisconsin on top, 5-4.
Darrah walked Beristianos at the top of the sixth with one out, but was able to retire the next two Gaucho batters in order to hold on for the win.
Darrah (4-1) pitched the complete game for Wisconsin and allowed four earned runs on 12 hits. She walked three and struck out nine. For the Gauchos, Krista Cobb (4-4) tossed all six innings and allowed five runs (one earned) on six hits while walking two and fanning three.
At the plate, Beristianos was phenomenal going 3-for-3 with a walk and a run. Putich was 2-for-4 with two RBI, Kane went 2-for-4 with a run and Jennings went 2-for-3 with a RBI and a walk.
UCSB will continue action at the Gaucho Classic II on Saturday with a rematch against Wisconsin at 9:30 a.m. at Campus Diamond.
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