Gauchos Drop Two to Cal State Fullerton on Big West Opening Day

March 31, 2007

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team struggled in its Big West Conference opening doubleheader on Saturday as it dropped a pair of games to the defending league champions Cal State Fullerton at Campus Diamond. The Gauchos took the Titans into 10 innings in game one before falling 3-1 and followed up with an 11-4 loss in game two, marking their largest margin of defeat this season.

With the losses, UCSB falls to 20-10 on the season and 0-2 in Big West play with a home record of 11-4. The Titans are now 20-15 overall and are off to a perfect 2-0 conference start. Fullerton now leads the all-time series with the Gauchos, 87-7.

In game one, UC Santa Barbara struck first when a sacrifice fly to left field from sophomore Tiffany Wright brought home Christine Ramos for the first run of the game at the bottom of the fourth. The Gauchos maintained the one-run lead until a solo homerun off the bat of Ashley Van Boxmeer tied the game up at 1-1 in the sixth inning.

After eight innings, neither team managed to score another run sending the game into extra innings. Finally at the top of the tenth, a two-run homer to left field by Jessica Doucette gave Fullerton its first lead of the game at 3-1. The next three Gaucho batters went down in order as the Titans took the 3-1 win.

In the first game, Ramos led the Gauchos at the plate going 1-for-4 with one run while Tisha Duran was 1-for-4. Jennifer Davis (4-7) picked up the loss after pitching all 10 innings allowing three runs on six hits while walking three and striking out 11 batters.

For Fullerton, Candice Baker grabbed the win after allowing no hits and striking out one in the last two innings. Doucette threw eight innings for the Titans with one unearned run on three hits with one walk and four strikeouts. She was also impressive at the plate going 1-for-4 with her two-run homer.

The Titans' momentum carried over into game two as they loaded the bases at the top of the third. The Gauchos escaped the inning after giving up only one run on a single to center field by Kiki Munoz. Fullerton had just gotten started though as it scored six runs on six hits at the top of the fifth inning to jump out to a 7-0 lead.

Fullerton continued its onslaught as it scored four more runs in the seventh including another two-run RBI from Doucette.

Trailing 11-0 at the bottom of the seventh, the Gaucho bats finally came alive as Duran led-off with a single to second base, which was followed by a single from Wright. Senior Brittany Putich followed suit with the third straight Gaucho single, this time to center field. A sacrifice fly from junior Ericka Hansen brought in Duran for the first run of the game before Davis hit her second homerun of the season driving in three more UCSB runs. The next two batters struck out ending the game with the Titans earning their second win of the day at 11-4.

For the Gauchos, freshman starting pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto (9-2) picked up the loss after giving up six runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings of work. Fellow freshman Lindsay Correa pitched 2.2 innings allowing five runs on nine hits. Duran, Wright and Putich each were 1-for-3 at the plate while Davis led the team with her three-run homer.

Baker (11-8) picked up her second win of the day after throwing a complete game allowing four runs on five hits, all in the seventh inning, while walking one and fanning five. Several Titans posted great numbers at the plate including Doucette who was 3-for-4 with a homerun, a double, two runs scored and three total RBI. Van Boxmeer was 4-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI and Munoz went 4-for-5 with three RBI and a run.

The Gauchos will close the three-game series with the Titans on Sunday with a noon match-up at Campus Diamond.