May 20, 2006
EVANSTON, Ill. - A first inning error proved to be costly as the UC Santa Barbara softball team saw its season end Saturday with a 2-1 loss to Southern Illinois in NCAA Tournament Evanston Regional play at Sharon J. Drysdale Field. Jennifer Davis went the distance in the circle, allowing two unearned runs on four hits and drove in the Gauchos' only run in the loss.
UCSB concluded its 2006 campaign with a 24-22 overall record, and fell to 0-4 all-time in postseason competition after losing two-straight during the 2004 NCAA tourney. Meanwhile the Salukis improved to 35-12, advancing to face Notre Dame in another elimination game Saturday afternoon. Host Northwestern advanced to the final day of regional play on Sunday with a 9-0 win over Notre Dame in Saturday's early game.
"We lost a tough one today," head coach Kristy Schroeder said. "We thought that we had a great shot at this regional coming in and we just couldn't come through when we had runners on base and Southern Illinois did."
Gaucho junior right hander Davis started her ninth straight game this season, and has now been handed the ball in three of the program's four NCAA Tournament games.
UCSB put itself in an early hole for the second straight game, surrendering two runs in the top of the first inning. SIU right fielder Tiffany Dismore drew a lead-off walk, and center fielder Krystal Stein reached on an error by Gaucho third baseman Shelby Hensler. After both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt, third baseman Katie Louis smacked a bases-clearing triple to center field for the early 2-0 lead.
Santa Barbara cut its deficit in half in the bottom of the second as Davis helped her own cause with a two-out single. Sophomore catcher Ericka Hansen led off the inning with her fourth-straight walk of the postseason, and advanced to second courtesy of a sacrifice bunt by freshman first baseman Tiffany Wright. After Hansen advanced to third base on a ground out, Davis dropped a looping single to left field, driving in the Gauchos' lone run of the game.
It was all Davis and Suluki starting pitcher Cassidy Scoggins from there.
The Gauchos' ace settled in after the opening frame, scattering just three hits over the final six scoreless innings. Davis retired the last eight batters she faced but ultimately took the loss after her offense was unable to produce more than the single run. She struck out seven and walked two but ultimately fell to 18-16 on the year with the loss.
Scoggins was even more effective, however, limiting the Gauchos to just the one run on four hits. She also fanned seven and walked only one, improving to 26-11.
The Santa Barbara two, three and four hitters went 0-for-9 against Scoggins.
The Gauchos' only other scoring chance came in the bottom of the fourth inning, when Hansen singled up the middle and then stole second base with two outs. However the inning ended on line out to left field.
In addition to that single, Hansen walked a team-high four times during the postseason.
"Jenn was terrific again," Schroeder commented. "I was very pleased with her performance, the team just didn't have it overall."