ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The UC Santa Barbara softball team is off to a great start at the 2020 Susan Craig Classic after defeating Northern Colorado in come-from-behind fashion, 17-10 in eight innings on Friday afternoon at Lobo Softball Field.
The Gauchos came back from an 8-5 deficit to take the lead in the seventh inning before Northern Colorado forced extra innings with a run in the bottom half of the frame. In the eighth, the Gauchos exploded for eight runs, for which the Bears had no answer.
Sophomore right fielder Ally Nodohara continued her stellar start to the season at the plate with a 4-for-5 showing, while the group consisting of junior centerfielder Rayna Cohen, redshirt senior first baseman Sierra Altmeyer, junior second baseman Maci Fines, and freshman infielder Hannah Damore each recorded 3 RBI on the day.
After giving up a run in the first inning, Fines tied the game up in the top of the second by scoring Altmeyer on a fielder's choice to shortstop.
A sac fly RBI got the Bears back ahead in the third, but the Gauchos put together a response in the following inning after freshman outfielder Sam Denehy singled to center while pinch hitting for senior third baseman Kayla Krantz, scoring Fines.
The Gauchos claimed the lead for the first time in the game thanks to a Rayna Cohen two-run double to left field, bringing in Denehy and senior infielder Carissa Felix, leading 4-2 at the halfway point of the fourth.
As quickly as Santa Barbara earned the go-ahead run, Northern Colorado took it right back in the bottom half of the inning, scoring four runs on two singles and a defensive error, to jump ahead 6-4.
Fines got the Gauchos within a run after her sacrifice fly got Altmeyer across the plate in the fifth, but the Bears extended the lead in the sixth with a pair of RBI singles, leading 8-5 with just the final inning remaining in regulation.
With the bases loaded and sophomore catcher Teah Thies at the plate, a wild sequence saw the Gauchos nab two runs as her single to left field resulted in defensive havoc for the Bears as Nodohara scored and senior OP Devan Sperry came across the plate on a throwing error.
In the next at-bat, the unraveling continued for Northern Colorado, as freshman shortstop Korie Thomas put UCSB up 9-8 with a two-run single to right.
The Gauchos couldn't hold on to their one-run lead in the seventh, as a throwing error proved costly in allowing a run that tied the game up at 9-9.
The big inning came in the eighth, as the Gauchos came alive for eight runs.
After Cohen was placed on second base and Nodohara singled, Cohen raced home during Altmeyer's at-bat when the Bears' second baseman committed a throwing error, opening the floodgates for the Gauchos' onslaught.
Fines scored Nodohara two plate appearances later, and RBI doubles from Damore and Altmeyer, as well as an RBI single from Cohen, completed UCSB's most productive inning of the season and gave the Gauchos a commanding 17-9 lead.
Northern Colorado put a run on the board in the bottom of the eighth, but it was far from enough as UCSB picked up its second win of the season and first of the weekend.
Santa Barbara's stint at the 2020 Susan Craig Classic continues tomorrow with a noontime rematch against Northern Colorado and a 5 p.m. game against New Mexico. Live stats are available for both games, while the second game will be livestreamed. Links for both are available on UCSBGauchos.com.
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