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Northridge Snaps UCSB’s Big West Win Streak

Gauchos have now lost four in a row after doubleheader loss and previous sweep by Fresno State.

UCSB’s softball team realized all good things must come to an end Saturday as its six-game Big West Conference winning streak was snapped with a pair of losses at Cal State Northridge. The Matadors posted a 5-4 win in the opener of the three-game conference series and finished the twin bill with a 3-1 victory.

The Gauchos, in the midst of an eight-game winning streak at the beginning of the week, have now lost four straight after dropping two to Northridge and a nonconference doubleheader to No. 13 Fresno State on Tuesday. UCSB has a 23-18 overall season record and is 6-2 in the Big West, falling to second in the conference standings behind 7-1 Long Beach State. Northridge improves to 16-18 on the year, 5-3 in league play.

Each team tallied a single in the first inning, including junior Christine Ramos’ lead-off single off the first pitch. UCSB got two runners on in the top of the second when freshman Jessica Beristianos was hit by a pitch and senior Ericka Hansen walked, but a double play helped the Matadors escape unscathed.

In the bottom of the second, Northridge’s Micah Putnam led off with a double to center field and advanced to third when Tracy Allen hit a fly out to right. After pitcher Lindsey Correa struck out the next batter swinging, a wild pitch allowed Putnam to score, giving Northridge the 1-0 lead.

The Gauchos would not be down for long as senior Nicole Churnock opened the third inning with a double to left field. Ramos laid down a sacrifice bunt pushing Churnock to third before Jessica Ziegler hit an RBI single to center field, tying the game, 1-1. Junior Tiffany Wright followed with a two-run homer to left field to give the Gauchos a 3-1 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Alexandria Alvarado was hit by a Gauchos pitch and Jaclyn Rymer walked to put two runners on base. Alvarado then stole third before Christina Saenz singled to center field to sen her home. A wild pitch during the next at-bat brought home Rymer and tied the game, 3-3. Putnam’’s second hit of the day, a single to right field, brought home one more Matadors run and recaptured the lead for Northridge.

In the fifth, Putnam posted her second double of the game and Allen reached on a single. An RBI single off the bat of pinch hitter Kristen Mihm sent Putnam home for the eventual game-winning run.

Three Gauchos walked in the sixth, loading the bases with two outs, but a fielder’’s choice ended the inning with the runners stranded.

After the next three Northridge batters went down in order, the Gauchos got their last chance to come back from the 5-3 deficit. Ramos led off with a single down the left field line and moved over to second when Ziegler grounded out on the next play. One out later, Tisha Duran, a senior from Ventura College and Buena High, doubled down the right field line to drive home Ramos and cut the Northridge lead to 5-4. Northridge third baseman Karla Chaparo caught a foul during the next at-bat, ending the game and grabbing the 5-4 win for Northridge.

Ramos led the Gauchos at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Correa (10-6) took the loss after pitching the first 4.1 innings and allowing five runs on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts. MeLinda Matsumoto pitched 1.2 innings in relief and allowed one hit, walked one and struck out one batter.

For Northridge, Mercedes Lovato picked up the win and improved to 13-11 on the year after tossing six innings, allowing three runs on five hits with four walks and a strikeout. Amanda Pitzenberger threw the final inning, allowing one run on two hits.

After posting two hits in the first, but failing to bring either runner home in the second game of the day, UCSB again posted a pair of back-to-back singles in the top of the second inning off the bats of Beristianos and Danielle Meyers. Beristianos advanced to third on Meyers’ single and came home when Hansen hit a sacrifice fly to left field during the next at-bat to give UCSB a 1-0 advantage.

UCSB had a chance to build on its lead in the fifth inning when Priscilla Perez and Churnock recorded consecutive singles. The Matadors made a pitching change and they proceeded to record three-straight outs to get out of the inning without any damage.

Northridge’‘s Amanda Peek opened the bottom of the fifth with a walk and, after a sacrifice bunt moved her to second, the Matadors got on the board when Alvarado doubled to left field. Rymer singled to left field during the next at-bat, sending home Alvarado to give Northridge a 3-1 advantage.

The Gauchos again got two runners on base in the top of the sixth when Wright opened with a single and Duran reached first after being hit by a pitch. The next three batters went down in order, however, ending the inning.

Northridge’’s Lauren Olivas singled with two outs in the sixth, but it would be the final hit of the game as Northridge finished with the 3-1 win.

Wright led UCSB in the loss, going 2-or-3 at the plate. Tami Weston (8-4) pitched the full game, allowing three runs on seven hits. The junior from Ventura High walked four and struck out four.

Pitzenberger (3-5) picked up the win for the Matadors after tossing the final three innings and forfeiting just one hit. Samantha Schroeder pitched the first four innings, allowing one run on six hits.

UCSB will play at Northridge at noon Sunday.

Lisa Skvarla is UCSBs assistant media relations director.

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