Sierra Altmeyer had three hits, including her eighth home run of the season, to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 4-2 win over UC Riverside in the first game of a softball doubleheader on Saturday.
The Highlanders rebounded with a 12-1 win in game two.
In game one, the Gauchos (21-19 overall, 2-3 in the Big West) got the jump on UCR (20-14, 2-3) with two runs in the second inning.
After Emily Brucelas led off with a double down the left field line, Kayla Krantz bounced back to the Highlander pitcher Taylor Misfeldt who looked to third base, anticipating Brucelas was headed there, but she was not and the play to first was late, putting runners on first and second. A sacrifice by Samantha Lujan put two runners in scoring position and Melanie Menor cashed them both in with a single to left.
Altmeyer made it 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth when she blasted a home run over the fence in right field.
Riverside scored a pair of unearned runs off of UCSB starter and winning pitcher Veronika Gulvin (14-8) in the bottom of the sixth to close within 3-2, but the Gauchos responded with a run of their own in the bottom half when Altmeyer singled home Jacqueline Hinojosa who opened the inning with a base hit.
Gulvin got the Highlanders out 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh to end the game.
Game two started with Altmeyer hitting a blast to left center field for what looked like her ninth home run of the season. But UCR center fielder Jenna Curtan made a spectacular leaping grab above the fence.
Highlander catcher Chelsey Holley started the scoring in the top of the second inning when she hit a wind-blown home run to right field. Hinojosa, UCSB’s right fielder, seemed to have a chance to make the grab as she jumped at the fence with her glove outstretched, but she couldn’t quite hold on and the ball and the score was 1-0.
Riverside blew the game open with eight runs on seven hits and three Gaucho errors in the third inning, taking an insurmountable 9-0 lead.
Game two was stopped after five innings of play.
UCSB and UCR will complete their three-game Big West series on Sunday afternoon at Campus Diamond. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m.