SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Opening its final home series of the year in a Saturday doubleheader against UC Riverside, the UC Santa Barbara softball team was defeated in both games, 6-3 and 8-2.
The Gauchos (8-40, 2-15) were pounced on early by the Highlanders (25-22, 7-10), who put up four of their six runs in the opening inning of game one. Sarah Parten's three-run homer opened the scoring. Melanie Olmos tallied an RBI soon after with a single down the left field line.
UCSB's offense started strong as well, as sophomore Sammy Fabian led off with a hard hit triple through the left side. Freshman Ally Nodohara followed with a single into right field, earning her first of three RBIs for the day.
Neither team would score again until the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Gauchos scored twice to pull within a run. Following a Fabian single to second, Nodohara once again came up big, this time slamming a triple into deep right field to make it 4-2 in favor of the Highlanders.
Freshman catcher Teah Thies immediately followed with an RBI single through the right side to bring Nodohara home, making it 4-3.
Unfortunately for the Gauchos, UCR would score the final two runs of the game in the top of the sixth. Back-to-back Highlander RBI doubles from Haylee Kela and Nadia Witt made their lead 6-3.
Santa Barbara nearly matched UCR in hits, tallying eight to the Highlanders' nine. Riverside ended the game with four extra base hits to UCSB's three.
The Gauchos would take the initial lead in the second game of the doubleheader, but a quick response by the Highlanders would lead to their eventual 8-2 win.
For the second straight game, UCSB's RBIs would come from the freshmen Nodohara and Thies. The first was provided by Thies in the first inning. Fabian found herself on third after initially leading off with a single. Thies' RBI then came on a fielder's choice, as Fabian beat the throw to home.
After going hitless in the top of the first, the Highlanders exploded for five runs in the second. Danielle Ortega extended it to a 5-0 lead on herd three-run double to left center with the bases loaded.
The Highlanders would add a run in each of the next three innings, taking an 8-1 advantage through four-and-a-half innings.
Just as she had in the first game, Nodohara would hit an RBI triple to right field to score a run from Fabian in the bottom of the fifth. That would go on to be the last run of the day from either team.
Tomorrow at noon, the teams will return to Campus Diamond for the Gauchos' 2019 home finale. The Senior Day ceremony will be held prior to the game.