UCSB Tops Army 3-1, Drops Two at Mary Nutter Classic

Rayna Cohen (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Rayna Cohen (Photo by Tony Mastres)

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – After a handful of late week weather delays, the UC Santa Barbara softball team concluded its first three games of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Saturday, defeating Army 3-1 and falling to No. 14 Arizona, 9-1 and BYU, 3-2.

The Gauchos are now 4-7 with two Sunday games left to play during their third weekend of competition this season.

UCSB earned its first win of the weekend 3-2 over Army, concluding a game which began on Thursday before eventually being postponed to Saturday afternoon due to weather.

The Black Knights (4-10) were the first to get on the board, as Emily Ballesteros opened the scoring on a sac fly in the bottom of the first.

It would be some time before the Gauchos would make the next dent on the scoreboard, but the wait would be worth it, as UCSB jumped into the lead with three runs in the top of the sixth.

Junior Genesis Ramirez provided the game-tying run, scoring on a double to left center by Tyler Goldstein. Facing two outs, Goldstein, along with Rayna Cohen – who had earned a walk several at bats before – both put UCSB ahead 3-1, capitalizing on an Army error.

Pitcher Felisha Noriega (3-1) would allow just one runner on base in both the sixth and seventh innings, helping to shut Army out the rest of the way for her third win of her junior year. Together with senior Veronika Gulvin, she played a crucial role in holding Army to just two hits in the game.

UCSB went for six hits itself, as Goldstein led the way with two hits and an RBI.

Facing one of the toughest opponents they'll see all year early Saturday, the Gauchos fell behind early en route to a 9-1 defeat to No. 14 Arizona.

Sophomore left fielder Sammy Fabian finished with a team-high two of UCSB's five hits. Cohen nabbed Santa Barbara's lone RBI in the game in a third inning which the Gauchos opened with three straight singles. It was Cohen's sixth RBI of the season and the first in her last six outings, as it brought Fabian home.

However, it wasn't enough to match a hot Arizona side which scored all nine of its runs in the opening two wins. The Wildcats (8-4) were held to just one more hit the rest of the way, but would close it out in five innings to earn their fifth consecutive win.

In the final game of the day, UCSB fell just short in a 3-2 loss to BYU.

BYU (6-7) never had more than a one-run lead at any point in the game. The Gauchos had an answer for the first two BYU runs, beginning when Cohen tied it at 1-1 in the bottom of the first on a Melanie Menor single to third. Maci Fines would make it 2-2 with her run in the bottom of the fifth, as she made it home from second thanks to a single up the middle from Goldstein.

Unfortunately for the Gauchos, that would be their last run of the day. BYU would tack on the winning run in the top of the seventh.

UCSB ended the game with a 6-5 advantage in hits, with six different players recording one hit.

Tomorrow, the competition won't get any easier, as UCSB takes on two more top-25 opponents in No. 17 Oregon (9:00 am) and No. 4 Oklahoma (11:30 am).