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Gauchos Split Pair with St. John’s

UCSB hits the road to Georgia for three-day National Fastpitch Coaches Association tournament.

UCSB split a doubleheader with St. John’s on Monday afternoon at Campus Diamond. The Gauchos posted an 11-2 mercy win over the Red Storm in the day’s first game before dropping a heartbreaker, 6-4, in the second.

With the split, the Gauchos’ record now stands at 7-7 while St. John’s improves to 1-8 with its first win.

During the first game of the day, Big West Player of the Week Tisha Duran led the Gauchos, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run, three RBIs and three total runs. Freshman right fielder Katie McWhirter went 1-for-2 with a double, two RBIs, three runs and a walk. Catcher Kelsey Anderson, a sophomore from Righetti High in Santa Maria, went 1-for-2 with three RBIs and a walk.

Pitcher Tami Weston (3-0), a junior from Ventura High, picked up the win in the circle after pitching the complete five innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

In the bottom of the first, Jessica Ziegler singled and Mary Episcopo was hit by a pitch to put two Gauchos on with one out. In her first at-bat of the day, Duran, a senior from Ventura College and Buena High, homered over the left center field fence to give UCSB a quick 3-0 advantage. One out later, McWhirter walked before a St. John’s error put Anderson on base and sent McWhirter home with an unearned run.

Trailing 4-0, St. John’s responded in the top of the second inning. The Red Storm loaded the bases with two outs before Bionka King’s RBI single sent Brandy Reyes home for the first St. John’s run of the game. The next batter was hit by a pitch, which sent another runner across the plate and cutting the UCSB lead to 4-2.

In the third inning, the Gauchos loaded the bases before Christine Ramos earned a walk, sending home a fifth UCSB run. The Gauchos added two more runs in the fourth when Anderson singled to right field, driving home Duran and McWhirter.

In the fifth inning, Nicole Churnock led off with a single up the middle, which was followed by another single from Ramos. Ziegler’s sacrifice bunt pushed over both runners before Episcopo’s sacrifice fly sent Churnock across home plate. With two outs, Duran walked before Tiffany Wright doubled to left field, sending home Ramos. An error by the St. John’s catcher allowed Duran and Wright to score and gave UCSB the 11-2 mercy-rule victory.

Ramos led the way in the second game, going 3-for-4 with two runs, while Wright was 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Sophomore pitcher Lindsey Correa (3-2) took the loss after throwing six innings, allowing five runs on four hits, while walking five and fanning three.

St. John’s took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning in game two when King stole home. The Gauchos responded in the bottom of the inning when they loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Wright grounded out to second base, driving home Ramos to tie the game, 1-1.

The next three innings remained deadlocked before UCSB was able to put more runs on the board in the bottom of the fifth. Ziegler’s fielder’s choice brought home Ramos for her second run, giving UCSB a slight 2-1 advantage. Duran’s double to right center field two outs later drove home Episcopo, and Wright’s single to left field in the next at-bat scored the third run of the inning, stretching UCSB’s lead to 4-1.

A bases-loaded double to right center field from St. John’s Danielle Estrada in the next inning, again tied the game, 4-4. The Red Storm took the lead with a pair of the runs in the top of the seventh to gain a 6-4 advantage.

The Gauchos loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the final inning, but all three runnerss were stranded as St. John’s took the 6-4 victory, their season’s first.

UCSB (6-6) will be playing in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Lead-Off Classic this weekend in Columbus, Ga. The Gauchos are scheduled to take on No. 17 DePaul, No. 12 Michigan, No. 15 Mississippi State, North Carolina State and Syracuse during the three-day tournament, which runs Friday through Sunday.

Lisa Skvarla is UCSBs assistant media relations director.

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