Gauchos Open Big West Play With Split Against UC Riverside

March 28, 2009

Game One Box Score
Game Two Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team split its Big West Conference opener against UC Riverside on Saturday at Campus Diamond. UCSB (17-13) captured game one by way of 4-1 score before falling victim to an 11-5 come-from-behind victory by Riverside (12-19) in the second game of the twin bill.

The loss marked the first ever to UC Riverside in program history. The Gauchos hold a 30-1 series advantage against the Highlanders.

UC Riverside scored first in game one when Kameryn Hebenton scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch at the top of the first inning.

Christine Ramos and Jessica Ziegler posted consecutive singles to lead off at the bottom of the inning. Two outs later, Amanda Ziegler hit a double driving home Ramos. J. Ziegler was able to score on the same play due to a fielding error in center to give UCSB a 2-1 lead.

At the bottom of the third, Tiffany Wright led off with a single straight up the middle and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Jessica Beristianos. A. Ziegler drove Wright home with her second double of the game. Back-to-back singles from Priscilla Perez and Katie McWhirter allowed A. Ziegler to score and put the Gauchos ahead, 4-1.

Gaucho pitcher Krista Cobb allowed just one more hit across the next four innings to preserve the UCSB lead. Cobb got the win after tossing a complete seven innings. She allowed one earned run on four hits. She walked four and tied her season-high of nine strikeouts. A. Ziegler led the team going 2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI and one run.

For the Highlanders, Hebenton and Taylor Thomas each had two hits apiece. Stephanie Marshall (4-8) took the loss after allowing four runs - three earned - on nine hits with one walk and two strikeouts.

During the second game, the Gauchos once again jumped out to a 4-1 lead early in the game. UCSB got things rolling at the bottom of the second. With A. Ziegler on first with one out, Perez hit what would normally be a sacrifice bunt, but the Highlander first baseman committed an error and Perez reached first while Ziegler moved to third. A sac fly from Katie McWhirter followed and sent Ziegler home for the unearned run.

UCSB added two runs at the bottom of the second inning. Jackie Conlin led off with a single and then stole her second base of the day. Ramos followed with a single to right field and Conlin came home. A sac bunt from J. Ziegler pushed Ramos to third base and a RBI single to the pitcher from Wright put the Gauchos head, 3-0.

In the fourth, Allison Taylor hit a double to right field with one out and came home on a triple to right field by Ramos.

Trailing 4-0, the Highlanders finally got on the scoreboard at the bottom of the fifth. Hebenton led off with a single and two outs later, Jessica Vasser was hit by a pitch. Joanella Mendoza followed with a RBI single to left field, cutting the Gaucho lead to three runs.

With a 4-1 lead at the top of the seventh, the Gauchos needed just three outs to secure the second win of the day. Unfortunately, UCSB was unable to complete the task.

Hebenton opened the inning with her fourth base hit of the day. Thomas followed with a walk and Brittany Keeney then hit a single to the pitcher, loading the bases with no outs. Vasser followed with a RBI single to right field, cutting the UCSB lead to 4-2. One out later, Krystal Marquez was hit by a pitch, sending Thomas home. Katie Curtis walked during the ensuing at-bat, tying the game at four apiece. Cobb struck out the next batter swinging to gain the second out of the inning, but the inning was far from over. Three UCSB errors, one walk, one hit batter and another base hit ensued as the Highlanders took an 11-4 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Riverside had its own set of problems in the bottom of the inning. Wright advanced to second base on a wild pitch and was brought home one play later when the Highlander first baseman bobbled a catch that would have thrown Beristianos out for the last out of the inning. A. Ziegler and Perez reached on an error and a walk, respectively, but Wright's run was the last as the Gauchos fell, 11-5.

Ramos led the team in the loss going 2-for-3 with two RBI, a triple and a run. Cobb (10-4) suffered the loss after pitching 0.2 innings and giving up seven runs - one earned - on two hits. She walked two and struck out one.

Tami Weston pitched the bulk of the game and allowed just one earned run on three hits. She walked four and struck out two. MeLinda Matsumoto saw 1.1 innings and allowed three earned runs on two hits; she walked one and fanned one.

Marissa Alvidrez (4-8) captured the win for UC Riverside after throwing the final three innings. She allowed one unearned run on one hit and walked two. Hebenton once again led the team offensively going 2-for-4 with three runs.

The Gauchos will conclude their three-game series with the Highlanders on Sunday at noon at Campus Diamond. For ticket information, click here.

In its on-going effort to draw awareness to breast cancer and to promote its research, the UCSB Athletics Department will sponsor "Pink Week" at this week's athletics events, including this weekend's softball games against UCR.

In addition to the softball team, the UCSB women's water polo and tennis teams will be taking part in the effort during their home contests this week.

"Pink Week" is part UCSB Athletics' BE Great initiative.

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