Monday, October 22 , 2018, 9:30 pm | Fair 61º

 
 
 
 
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Gauchos Open LMU Tournament with Pair of Wins

UCSB beats Illinois-Chicago and Bucknell to extend winning streak to four games.

UCSB’s softball team posted a pair of wins on the opening day of the Loyola Marymount  Tournament on Friday. The Gauchos defeated Illinois-Chicago, 6-3, in the tournament opener before posting a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Bucknell in the second game. With the two wins, UCSB improved to 14-11 on the season and is now on a four-game winning streak at Smith Field.

In the first game, the Gauchos were led by freshman shortstop Jessica Beristianos, who went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer. Senior left fielder Nicole Churnock went 2-for-2 with a two-run double and a walk. Third baseman Tisha Duran, a senior from Ventura College and Buena High, rounded out the Gauchos leaders, going 2-for-3 with an RBI double, a walk and a run scored.

In the circle, sophomore MeLinda Matsumoto (2-7) picked up the win after tossing 5.1 innings, allowing no runs on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Sophomore Lindsey Correa started the game and gave up three earned runs on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

Junior second baseman Christine Ramos led off with a bunt single in the first inning and, one out later, Duran doubled to left center field to drive home Ramos for the first run of the game. With Duran on second and two outs, Beristianos homered to left field for two more runs.

In the ensuing at-bat, junior center fielder Tiffany Wright followed Beristianos’’ lead and hit a home run of her own over the left-field fence, stretching the UCSB lead to 4-0. A pitch hit sophomore catcher Kelsey Anderson before Priscilla Perez singled to right field, putting two runners on. Churnock doubled home the final two runs of the inning, extending the Gauchos’ advantage to 6-0.

Illinois-Chicago responded in the top of the second inning. A pitch hit Nicole Robinson before Melissa Marinacci singled to put two runners on. A fielder’’s choice on the next play got Marnacci off of the base paths, but moved Robinson to third. One out later, Brittany Dixon walked before Sarah Clynes hit a timely three-run double to left center field. One more batter was walked before Matsumtoto took over for Correa in the circle and earned the final out of the inning.

The Flames outhit the Gauchos, 4-3, in the final five innings but UCSB held on for the Erin Curatola’s RBI single put the first run of the game on the board. A fielder’‘s choice one out later resulted in the second Bison run. Correa rebounded, though, and struck out the next two batters in order.

The Gauchos got their chance in the bottom of the same ending when Jessica Ziegler reached on a single and advanced on an illegal pitch. Duran walked during the next at-bat and a fielder’‘s choice RBI one out later brought home UCSB’s first run. Wright singled on the next play, driving home Duran to tie the game, 2-2.

UCSB had plenty of chances over the next five innings to take the lead as they outhit the Bison, 7-3, and left nine runners stranded, but Bucknell would score next. In the top of the seventh, Ashely Beans walked and then was pushed to second on a sacrifice bunt. The Bison then loaded the bases with a walk followed by a single, before Gauchos pitcher Tami Weston, a junior from Ventura High, was replaced by Matsumoto. A fielder’’s choice earned the first out when Beans was called out at the plate, but a throwing error on the next play allowed two Bucknell runners to score, putting the Bison ahead, 4-2.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Beristianos led off with a triple to right field and then scored on a wild pitch. Wright followed with a single to left field and advanced to second when Anderson grounded out to third base. Perez’s RBI single sent home Wright and tied the game, 4-4, with just one out. Churnock was up next, and she singled up the middle, sending Perez home for the 5-4 win.

Ziegler and Beristianos each posted a pair of hits in the win, both also tallying a triple. Churnock and Wright also had multiple-hit showings, both going 2-for-4 at the plate.

All three Gauchos pitchers saw time in the circle; Correa tossed the first four innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Weston pitched 2.1 innings with two runs — both unearned — on one hit with two walks and three strikeouts. It was Matsumoto (4-7), though, who picked up the win.

The LMU Tournament continues Saturday with UCSB facing Illinois-Chicago at 9 a.m. and host LMU at 1:30
p.m.

Lisa Skvarla is UCSBs assistant media relations director.

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