UCSB Ends Opening Weekend with 11-6 Loss to No. 13 Arizona

Emily Brucelas (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Emily Brucelas (Photo by Tony Mastres)

TUCSON, Ariz. – Going up against their highest ranked opponent this weekend, UCSB (2-3) fell 11-6 to No. 13 Arizona (6-0) on Sunday.

Sierra Altmeyer ended her first collegiate tournament with a .647 batting average and a 1.176 slugging percentage. The freshman capped off the weekend going 3-4 against the Wildcats, while also recording a team-high two RBIs.

Stacy Cavazos also continued the strong start to her season with a 2-3 performance, coming up with two RBIs and a run, and Emily Brucelas also collected two hits along with an RBI and a walk.

Veronika Gulvin (1-3) pitched the first four innings for the Gauchos and earned the loss after allowing eight runs (seven earned) off seven hits. She also struck out a team-high four batters.

After Arizona scored the first run of the game off a fielding error, the Gauchos went on to claim its first lead of the day with three runs in the top of the second.

UCSB loaded the bases for its cleanup hitter Altmeyer following a leadoff single, a hit-by-pitch, and a fielding error. The freshman did not waste the opportunity and doubled to left field, sending Cavazos and Kristen Clark home for the Gauchos' first two runs. With both runners in scoring position, Brucelas continued the rally with a single through the right side, giving UCSB a 3-1 lead.

The Gauchos wouldn't stay ahead for long, as Katiyana Mauga tied the score with a two-run homer in the bottom half of the inning. Gulvin avoided more damage by retiring the following two Wildcats with a foul out and a strike out.

But Arizona would continue on with its big hits in the fourth and fifth innings, clubbing three home runs en route to six more runs. By the time the game was entering the sixth inning, the Gauchos found themselves down 9-3.

UCSB had its chances for a late-game rally, as the team loaded up the bases in both the sixth and seventh innings. In the sixth, a fielder's choice led to the Gauchos' second out, but kept three runners on base with Cavazos on deck. The junior came up with a single down the right field line, sending two Gauchos home. In the following at bat, Clark reached on a throwing error by the catcher, which gave the team its third run of the inning putting them closer to Arizona at 9-6.

The Wildcats, though, padded their lead later in the inning with a two-run bomb, their fifth homer of the game.

Facing a five-run Arizona lead, the Gauchos opened the seventh inning strong with a leadoff double from Jessica Johnston followed with a single from Altmeyer. Those consecutive hits spelled the end of the day for pitcher Danielle O'Toole, as she was replaced by Taylor McQuillin, who would walk her first batter, Jacqueline Hinojosa, to load the bases.

UCSB though, left their runners stranded with a fielder's choice and a double play to end the game. 

The Gauchos will be back in action next weekend at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. The team will open the tournament on Friday with Binghampton at 12:30 p.m. and Washington later at 3 p.m.