March 14, 2008
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team posted a pair of wins on the opening day of the Loyola Marymount Tournament on Friday afternoon at Smith Field. The Gauchos defeated Illinois-Chicago 6-3 in the tournament opener before posting a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Bucknell in their second game of the day. With the two wins, UCSB improves to 14-11 on the season and is now amidst a four-game winning streak at Smith Field.
In the first pairing of the day, the Gauchos were led by freshman shortstop Jessica Beristianos, who went 2-for-4 with a two-RBI homer. Senior left fielder Nicole Churnock went 2-for-2 at the plate with a two-RBI double and a walk. Senior third basemen Tisha Duran rounded out the Gaucho leaders, going 2-for-3 with an RBI double, a walk, and a run scored.
In the circle, sophomore MeLinda Matsumoto (2-7) picked up the win after tossing 5.1 innings, allowing no runs on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Sophomore Lindsey Correa started the game and gave up three earned runs on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
Junior second baseman, Christine Ramos led off with a bunt single at the top of the order in the first inning and one out later, Duran doubled to left center field driving Ramos home for the first run of the game. With Duran on second and two outs, Beristianos hit a home run to left field bringing two more Gaucho runs across the plate.
During the ensuing at-bat, junior center fielder Tiffany Wright followed Beristianos' lead and hit a home run of her own over the left field fence, stretching the UCSB lead to 4-0. A pitch hit sophomore catcher Kelsey Anderson before Priscilla Perez singled to right field, putting two runners on. A double off the bat of Churnock sent home the final two runs of the inning, extending the Gaucho advantage to 6-0.
Illinois-Chicago responded in the top of the second inning. A pitch hit Nicole Robinson before Melissa Marinacci hit a single to put two runners on. A fielder's choice on the next play got Marnacci off of the base paths, but advanced Robinson to third. One out later, Brittany Dixon walked before Sarah Clynes hit a very timely three-RBI double to left center field. One more batter was walked before Matsumtoto took over for Correa in the circle and earned the final out of the inning.
The Flames outhit the Gauchos 4-3 in the final five innings of the game, but UCSB held on for the 6-3 win.
In the second pairing of the day, Bucknell loaded the bases in the top of the first inning before an RBI single from Erin Curatola put the first run of the game on the board. A fielder's choice one out later resulted in the second Bison run. Correa rebounded though, and struck out the next two batters in order.
The Gauchos got their chance in the bottom of the same ending when Jessica Ziegler reached on a single and then advanced on an illegal pitch. Duran walked during the next at-bat and a fielder's choice RBI one out later brought home the first UCSB run. Wright singled during the next play driving home Duran to tie the game at 2-2.
UCSB had plenty of chances over the next five innings to take the lead as they outhit the Bison 7-3 and left nine runners stranded, but Bucknell would score next. At the top of the seventh, Ashely Beans walked and then was pushed to second on a sac bunt. The Bison then loaded the bases with a walk followed by a single, before Gaucho pitcher Tami Weston was replaced by Matsumoto. A fielder's choice earned the first out when Beans was called out at the plate, but a throwing error on the next play allowed two Bucknell runners to cross home plate, putting the Bison ahead, 4-2.
Beristianos led off with a triple to right field at the bottom of the seventh and then scored on a wild pitch. Wright then followed with a single to left field and then advanced to second when Anderson grounded out to third base. An RBI single from Priscilla Perez sent Wright home and tied the game at 4-4 with just one out. Churnock was up next, and the left fielder placed a single straight up the middle, sending Perez home for the 5-4 win.
Ziegler and Beristianos each posted a pair of hits in the win, both also tallying a triple. Churnock and Wright also had multiple-hit showings, both going 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI each.
All three Gaucho pitchers saw time in the circle; Correa tossed the first four innings giving up two earned runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Weston pitched 2.1 innings with two runs (both unearned) on one hit with two walks and three strikeouts. It was Matsumoto (4-7), though, that picked up the win.
UCSB will complete action at the LMU Tournament on Saturday. The Gauchos will once again face-off with Illinois-Chicago at 9 a.m. before taking-on host Loyola Marymount at 1:30 p.m.