SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – On a cloudy Saturday afternoon at UCSB's Campus Diamond, the UC Santa Barbara softball team was defeated in both games of its doubleheader against CSUN, 10-2 and 5-2.
The Gauchos are now 8-37 overall and 2-12 during Big West play. The Matadors improve to 23-24 overall, 7-7 in conference.
It didn't take long for the action to start in Saturday's series opener, as CSUN reeled off five runs in the top of the first. Jaymi Steward's two run homer to right field highlighted the Matadors six-hit opening inning.
Things would slow down until the top of the fourth, when CSUN added two more runs on a double by Megan Stevens. The Matadors would extend the lead to 8-0 in the fifth.
UCSB's offense would get going in the bottom of the fifth, as each of its first four batters reached base. Maci Fines would provide the Gauchos' first run of the day. After getting on base via a fielder's choice, she advanced to second on a single through the right side by fellow sophomore Sammy Fabian.
Facing one out, freshman catcher Teah Thies hit a hard double to right field, bringing Fines home. junior Devan Sperry would pick up an RBI of her own with a sacrifice fly on the next at bat, as Fabian scored to make it 8-2.
Santa Barbara would tally one more hit the rest of the way to bring its total to six. Fabian was the lone Gaucho to tally two hits. The Matadors put up two more runs in the top of the seventh and finished with 13 hits.
The second game of the doubleheader took a much different path, with only one run being scored through the first four innings.
A pair of Matador singles put shortstop Jessica Alexander in scoring position, and she would open the scoring thanks to another single straight up the middle by Gator Rascon.
The Gauchos would find themselves in great shape to tie things up in the bottom of the fourth. Singles by Melanie Menor and Tyler Goldstein were followed by a walk from Genesis Ramirez, loading the bases with two outs on the board. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, a spectacular unassisted play by Jessica Alexander would end the inning on a Sammy Fabian at bat.
CSUN would then double its lead in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out, Alexander hit a hard ground ball to Kayla Krantz at third base. Krantz stepped back onto the plate to pick up the second out and threw it to Thies at home plate. However, the threw took Thies slightly off the plate, and pinch runner Aaliyah Swan was able to score to make it 2-0.
For the second straight game, UCSB would respond with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Thies opened things up with a single to second. After advancing to second on a ground out, the freshman would score courtesy of a Fines RBI single through the right side. A Menor double to center immediately after would bring Fines home to tie things at 2-2.
CSUN would enjoy its best offensive inning of the game in the top of the sixth. The Matadors regained the lead with three runs coming on four hits, capped by a Megan Stevens RBI double off the center field wall. They would go on to hold UCSB without a hit the rest of the way.
The Gauchos finished with six hits for the second straight game, two coming from both Menor and Goldstein. The Matadors ended up with 11 hits.
Tomorrow, UCSB and CSUN will close out the weekend series in a 12:00 p.m. matchup back at Campus Diamond.