The UC Santa Barbara softball team finally came home to play in the Gaucho Classic tournament, but it came up empty in its first pair of games, falling 6-4 to Bradley and 11-7 to Portland State on Friday afternoon at Campus Diamond.
Bradley 6, UCSB 4
Bradley went up big in the first two innings, but UCSB nearly pulled off the comeback with a stellar offensive response in the third and fourth.
Stacia Seeton singled in Lucy Mead in the top of the first to score the first run of the game and weekend.
Then, the Braves scored four runs in the top of the second to extend their lead, with a Brooklyn Bane single, Seeton double, and Kealia Wysocki single putting Bradley up 4-0.
UCSB started on the comeback trail in the third, with two consecutive sacrifice flyouts from sophomore catcher Teah Thies and senior first baseman Sierra Altmeyer getting the Gauchos on the board.
A two-run double in the bottom half of the fourth from junior right fielder Rayna Cohen got the Gauchos within one run, down 5-4 to Bradley.
In the top of the seventh, however, the visitors added a run via a Lucy Mead sacrifice flyout to right to extend their lead to 6-4, and they were able to hold off the Gauchos to nab the win.
Portland State 11, UCSB 7
The Vikings built up an 8-0 advantage early, from which the Gauchos could not claw back from despite a valiant effort in the middle innings.
All eight runs were scored in the first three innings for Portland State.
First, an RBI single and sacrifice flyout to right in the first inning gave a 2-0 advantage to the visitors.
Then, Tayler Gunesch and Marrisa Bruno hit run-scoring doubles in consecutive at-bats, each adding a run onto the tally.
The following frame, Ashley Doyle crossed the plate on a UCSB error before a Gunesch sacrifice and Bruno triple.
Junior left fielder Sammy Fabian’s speed helped UCSB find its first runs of the game after she hit an inside-the-park home run to score Korie Thomas in the third inning, cutting the deficit to 5-2.
Junior second baseman Maci Fines tripled to right center in the following inning, scoring both senior utility Devan Sperry and Cohen, getting UCSB within four.
Another sac fly ended up on the right side of things for the Gauchos, with sophomore catcher Teah Thies scoring second baseman Maci Fines.
A single up the middle from Sperry helped Santa Barbara to its sixth run of the day, but Portland State all but wrapped up the game with three runs coming in the seventh.
All told, it was a successful day at the plate for the Gauchos with 18 hits registered. Cohen went a fantastic 5-of-8 in today’s action to lead the team.
The Gauchos continue play at their home tournament Saturday morning with a 9 a.m. matchup against Bradley, and then they take on Saint Peter’s at 1:30 p.m.