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Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 6:32 am | Mostly Cloudy 43º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

Gauchos Top UC Davis 6-2 to Avoid Series Sweep

UCSB, 9-6 in Big West, will play its final home series this weekend.

The UC Santa Barbara softball team defeated UC Davis 6-2 on Sunday at the Aggies’ La Rue Field to avoid being swept in the three-game Big West Conference series.

With the win, the Gauchos improve to 26-22 and 9-6 in the Big West. UC Davis falls to 22-31 on the season and 7-8 in conference. The Aggies won the series after posting a pair of wins, 2-1 and 4-1, on Saturday.

Christine Ramos led off at the top of the first with a bunt single, then stole second during Jessica Ziegler‘s at-bat. Ziegler reached on a throwing error by the Aggies, which also gave Ramos ample time to score, getting the Gauchos on the board, 1-0. Tiffany Wright followed with a single to shortstop then stole second, putting two runners in scoring position. Tisha Duran grounded out on the next play but drove Ziegler home in the process. After the second out of the inning, Ericka Hansen hit an RBI single to left field, bringing Wright home for the unearned run and stretching UCSB’s lead to 3-0.

At the top of the third inning, Ziegler led off with a single to shortstop, then stole second before Wright doubled down the left-field line, sending the runner home. Duran doubled during the next at-bat, allowing Wright to score, but Duran was caught trying to make it to third base, giving Davis the first out of the inning. The next two batters went down in order, but the Gauchos held a 5-0 advantage.

The Aggies fought back in the bottom of the fourth inning when with one out, Sarah O’Neill hit a double to left field. During the ensuing at-bat, Erin Emde pounded one over the left-field fence to cut the Gaucho lead to 5-2. Ashley Johnson followed with a single to right field, then moved to second on a wild pitch. The next two batters went down in order, ending the Aggie rally.

Danielle Meyers opened the top of the seventh with a lead-off triple to left center field. Nicole Churnock followed with an RBI single up the middle, extending the UCSB advantage to 6-2. Ramos then reached after being hit by a pitch, but was out at second when Ziegler reached on a fielder’s choice. Wright flied out to center field, giving the Aggies their final out of the game with a pair of Gauchos stranded on the corners.

Jessica Gonzales led off with a walk at the bottom of the inning before the Gauchos’ MeLinda Matsumoto came in to relieve Tami Weston in the circle.

Trish Paine followed with a single to left field, putting two runners on with no outs. Michelle Espiritu reached first on a fielder’s choice as the Gauchos beat Paine to second. Espiratu stole second before the next batter grounded out, giving UCSB the second out of the inning. Matsumoto struck out the final batter swinging, helping the Gauchos to the 6-2 victory.

Wright led the Gauchos at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs. Duran went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a double.

In the circle, Weston earned the win after pitching six innings and allowing two runs on six hits. She walked three and struck out three. Weston now holds a 9-6 season record. Matsumoto pitched the final inning for UCSB and allowed just one hit while striking out one.

For the Aggies, Jessica Hancock pitched the complete game and allowed six runs, four of which were earned, on eight hits with no walks and two strikeouts. She now holds a 15-18 season record.

UCSB will return home to Campus Diamond on Saturday for its final home series of the season. The Gauchos will face Big West foe Pacific in a three-game series, which will begin with a noon doubleheader on Saturday.

Lisa Skvarla is UCSBs assistant media relations director.

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