April 28, 2007
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Jennifer Davis pitched a complete game shutout and Tisha Duran drove in three runs to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 5-0 victory over first place Cal Poly in game one of a Big West Conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Bob Janssen Field. The Gauchos then erased a 4-0 deficit before ultimately dropping a narrow 6-5 decision in nine innings in game two.
With the split UCSB's record now stands at 25-18 overall and 2-9 in the Big West, while Cal Poly owns an overall mark of 34-14 and 9-3 in conference play.
Davis was spectacular in the circle in game one, shutting down the high-powered Mustang offense. The senior right-hander allowed just four hits and struck out five en route to her fifth shutout of the season. Despite walking eight, Davis got the win and improved to 9-11 this season.
It was the top of the order that got it done for the Gauchos offensively, as the top five hitters combined to go 11-for-19 and scored all five runs. Duran continued to get it done at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and three RBI. The junior third baseman now leads the team with 28 runs batted in this season. Senior first baseman Jessica Hejna had a tremendous game as well finishing 4-for-4 with a run, while sophomore second baseman Christine Ramos also went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored.
After Davis and Cal Poly starter Robyn Kontra battled through four scorelss innings, UCSB got things going with four runs in the top of the fifth. With one out Ramos singled through the left side and Hejna singled through the right side. Duran followed with a double that went all the way to the fence in left center field, bringing home Ramos and Hejna to give the Gauchos a 2-0 lead. Duran would score after consecutive singles from Davis and sophomore center fielder Tiffany Wright. Catcher Ericka Hansen then capped off the scoring in the inning with a double to left center, plating Davis. Wright came home on the play as well, but was tagged out at the plate after great throw from Mustang shortstop Melissa Pura. Emily Hively came on in relief and quickly recorded the third out of the frame, but the damage had been done.
After Davis retired the side in the bottom of the fifth, UCSB added another run for good measure in the top of the sixth. It was Ramos and Hejna that got things rolling once again, as the one and two hitters each singled up the middle with one out. Ramos scored from second on Duran's third RBI of the game, a single up the middle.
The five run lead after five would be more than enough for Davis. The Gauchos' ace retired the Mustangs in order in the sixth and pitched her way out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to secure the victory for Santa Barbara.
Kontra (10-5) took the loss after allowing four runs - all earned - on nine hits with two strikeouts and a pair of walks.
UCSB was not as fortunate in the nightcap as Cal Poly jumped all over freshman starter Lindsey Correa in the bottom of the first. Center fielder Lisa Modglin led off the inning with a single to right and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Pura then doubled to left center and Modglin came around to score. After surrendering a walk and a single by Sarah Iwata to score Pura, the Mustangs scored again when first baseman Krysten Cary stole home.
Correa then allowed a single to Jackie Gehrke-Jones, prompting head coach Kristy Schroeder to go to her bullpen and bring in freshman MeLinda Matsumoto. Iwata would score on a ground-out and Cal Poly took an early 4-0 lead.
UCSB finally got to Hively, who got the nod in game two, scoring in the top of the fifth when left fielder Nicole Churnock doubled to lead off the inning and came home on a Ramos infield single.
The Gauchos tied the game in the sixth inning as three hits, including a double to right center by senior shortstop Brittany Putich, and two Mustang errors led to three runs.
Cal Poly came right back and took the lead 5-4 in the bottom of the frame when Pura drove in her second run of the game.
Santa Barbara countered with a run in the top of the seventh to knot the score at five once more. Davis reached on a fielder's choice and then scored on a double to left center by Hansen.
After a scoreless eighth, UCSB failed get anything done in the top of the ninth leaving the door open for the Mustangs. Gehrke-Jones led off the inning with a single to right and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. After a walk, Jessica Rogers singled to load the bases. The next batter was Modglin, who singled to right center to drive home the winning run.
Hively picked up the win for the Mustangs, tossing nine complete innings. She allowed five runs, two of which were earned, struck out three and walked none.
Davis came on to pitch the final three innings for the Gauchos in game two and allowed just one run on four hits with a strikeout and three walks. As has been the case so often this season, the Whittier, Calif. native was pitching when the game was in question and was saddled with her 12th loss of the year. She is now just six strikeouts from becoming the Big West Conference's career-leader in that category.
In addition to shouldering a bulk of the load in the circle Saturday, Davis led UCSB offensively, finishing 2-for-5 with two runs. Wright, Hansen, and Churnock had two hits apiece for the Gauchos in the night cap.
UCSB wraps up its three game series with Cal Poly Sunday at 12:00 p.m.