UCSB’s softball team picked up a 6-4 win over Illinois-Chicago on Saturday morning before dropping its final game of the Loyola Marymount Tournament to host LMU, 11-4. With the split, the Gauchos’ record now stands at 15-12.
Against Illinois-Chicago in the first game of the day, Tisha Duran, a senior from Ventura College and Buena High, went 3-for-4 with a home run, a triple, another run and two RBIs. Three pitchers saw time in the circle for UCSB, but it was Tami Weston (4-1), a junior from Ventura High, who picked up the win. She pitched the final two innings with no runs on two hits with one walk and a strikeout.
In the top of the second inning, Illinois-Chicago’s’ Nicole Robinson led off with a double down the right field line. Melissa Marinacci struck out looking, but was able to reach on a passed ball to put two runners on. A double to left center by Stephanie Chavez brought home two runs for the Flames. Illinois-Chicago managed one more hit during the inning, but the Gauchos escaped, trailing by just two runs.
With one out in the bottom of the same inning, freshman Jessica Beristianos singled to center field and was brought home during the next play when junior Tiffany Wright doubled down the left field line, cutting the Flames’’ lead to 2-1.
In the third, an RBI single from Danielle Meyers tied the game, 2-2. But Illinois-Chicago responded with a run of its own in the top of the fourth. With one out and two runners on base, Nikki Rogers singled down the right field line to regain the lead for the Flames, 3-2.
The see-saw continued as the Gauchos scored one in the bottom of the fourth and then both teams posted a run apiece in the fifth inning. Tied 4-4 in the top of the seventh, the Flames loaded the bases with just one out before a pair of fielder’‘s choices earned the Gauchos the final two outs of the inning.
Sophomore Jessica Ziegler led off with a walk in the bottom of the seventh before Duran homered to left field, capturing the 6-4 victory for the Gauchos.
In the second game of the day against host LMU, Beristianos led the Gauchos, going 2-for-3 with a run, while senior Nicole Churnock went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Sophomore pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto (4-8) took the loss after allowing five runs on four hits in the first 0.1 innings of the game.
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the first inning, Amy Charpentier scored on a wild pitch before a Christine Foley single sent home the second Lions run. LMU scored four more runs in the inning, including two off of a Kristen Slouber single, to stretch its lead to 6-0.
The Gauchos got a pair of runners on base in the bottom of the same inning, and, with two outs, Churnock hit a single straight up the middle to bring home Kelsey Anderson, a sophomore from Santa Maria’s Righetti High.
LMU continued its offensive onslaught in the top of the second when the Lions loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a double from Chelsie Tysdal. The Gauchos turned a double play to earn the first two outs, but the Lions were still able to bring two runs across the plate when J.J. Hartung hit a double down the left field line, extending the Lions’ lead to 8-1.
In the top of the fourth, Beristianos continued her strong weekend showing with a lead-off triple to left field. Wright singled during the next at-bat to send her home. Senior catcher Ericka Hansen hit a home run over the left center field fence to post two more runs for the Gauchos. Churnock was able to reach on a single one out later, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Christine Ramos, but she would remain stranded on second as the Lions earned the third out.
Unfortunately for the Gauchos, those would be their last runs of the game. LMU added a pair in the bottom of the fourth and one more run in the bottom of the sixth to make it an 11-4 final.
LMU pitcher Melissa Dykema (8-5) earned the win, her third straight against the Gauchos, after allowing four earned runs on seven hits, with two walks and three strikeouts.
UCSB — off next week for winter quarter finals — will host UCLA in a March 25 doubleheader at Campus Diamond.
Lisa Skvarla is UCSB’s assistant media relations director.