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Gauchos Can’t Shake Split Decisions

UCSB wins one, loses one as tournament of ups and downs ends in San Diego.

UCSB’s softball team split a pair of games on the final day of the Campbell/Cartier Classic, defeating Tulsa, 3-2, on Sunday morning before falling to tournament host San Diego State, 4-1, in the afternoon. With the split, the Gauchos’’ overall record now stands at 3-6.

In the day’s opener against Tulsa, sophomore first baseman Jessica Ziegler went 2-for-4 at the plate with two of UCSB’s three runs and a stolen base, while freshman Mary Episcopo was 2-for-3 with a run, a triple and a stolen base.

Junior pitcher Tami Weston (1-0) recorded her first win of the season after throwing a complete game. The former Ventura High standout allowed one earned run on four hits, with five walks and seven strikeouts.

With one out in the top of the first inning, Ziegler singled to center field and then stole second before the second Gauchos out. Senior Tisha Duran‘s single to left field put UCSB ahead, 1-0.

In the bottom of the second, an RBI single from Tulsa’s Lindsey Tower tied the game at 1-1. The Gauchos responded in the third as Ziegler again singled, this time to the left field line. Ziegler advanced to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a Tulsa throwing error that put the Gauchos back on top, 2-1.

In the top of the fourth, Episcopo singled to second base and stole second with one out. A single to left center by sophomore Kelsey Anderson, the former Righetti High star, drove home Episcopo, stretching the lead to 3-1.

Tulsa’s Sara Dyer reached first base on a Gauchos error in the sixth inning and a single from Lauren Lindsay during the next at-bat put two runners on with no outs. Weston struck out the next batter before another error allowed Brooke Smart to reach first base and Dyer to come home on the unearned run. It would be the last run of the game, however, as the Gauchos’ held on for the 3-2 win.

Duran, the former Ventura College and Buena High star, was impressive in the second game, going 3-for-3, while senior Nicole Churnock was 1-for-2 with an RBI. Sophomore pitcher Lindsey Correa (2-2) took the loss after giving up three runs on two hits in the first inning. Sophomore MeLinda Matsumoto finished the game, allowing one run on three hits with three strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work.

San Diego State’s Tonye McCorkle opened the game with a walk in the top of the first inning and then stole second. Brittany Knudsen followed with a walk after one out to put two runners on. On the next play, Erin Floros’ double down the left field line brought home the first Aztecs runner of the game. Knudsen followed with the second run, scoring on an illegal pitch. Jen Wisneski’s single through the left side brought home another runner, putting San Diego State ahead, 3-0.

The Gauchos’ first hit wouldn’t come until the top of the second when Duran led off with a single, but the UCSB third baseman would be the first of eight Gauchos runners to be left on-base in the game.

In the top of the third, a Gauchos throwing error allowed Tamani Wells to reach first base and Knudsen’s double to right center brought in the runner, pushing the Aztecs’ lead to 4-0. Following the third inning, Matsumoto was able to silent the Aztecs’ bats, retiring nine-straight batters and allowing just one hit in the final four innings.

Down by four in the bottom of the seventh, Anderson led off with a single to the shortstop and then advanced to second on a passed ball. A Churnock single during the next at-bat brought home Anderson, cutting the SDSU lead to 4-1. Despite making her way to third base through the next several plays, the Gauchos were unable to bring Churnock home, ending the game with the three-run deficit.

The Gauchos return to action next weekend when they host Portland State and St. John’s in the Softball by the Beach Tournament, running Friday through Feb. 24 at Campus Diamond.

Lisa Skvarla is UCSB‘s assistant media relations director.

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