Gauchos Turn the Tide at Gaucho Classic

Sammy Fabian (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Sammy Fabian (Photo by Jeff Liang)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara softball team completed its home tournament, the Gaucho Classic, on Sunday afternoon at Campus Diamond, finishing the weekend on a four-game win streak.

UCSB 6, Bradley 4 (Saturday)

UCSB earned its first win of the weekend, in its third matchup of the tournament, over Bradley.

The Gauchos set the tone early in the game when junior left fielder Sammy Fabian hit a leadoff triple in the bottom of the first. Junior right fielder Rayna Cohen followed that up with a sac fly to left field bringing Fabian across the plate for the game's first run.

Both sophomore OP Ally Nodohara and senior first baseman Devan Sperry reached base in the following two plate appearances, and Nodohara scored on a passed ball in sophomore catcher Teah Thies' turn at the plate, doubling the lead to 2-0.

The game was scoreless for the next two innings until Bradley's Allison Apke hit a two-run home run in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game up at 2-2. 

With two outs and bases loaded in the second half of the fifth, Nodohara blasted a grand slam over the fence to push the Gauchos to a 6-2 lead.

Bradley's Kealia Wykoski and Apke hit solo home runs in the sixth to keep things interesting, but the Gauchos were able to hold on for the win.

UCSB 4, Saint Peter's 1 (Saturday)

The Gauchos claimed their second win of the tournament against Saint Peter's.

Senior pitcher Felisha Noriega started for the Gauchos in the circle, pitching six innings of one-hit ball and striking out six batters, and sophomore Alyssa Molina nabbed the save in the seventh.

Fabian started off the first inning by reaching first on a bunt and then advancing to second base after Rayna Cohen got on board thanks to a throwing error by the opposing third baseman.

With Ally Nodohara up to bat, Cohen was caught stealing at second by Fabian managed to score on the throw from the catcher to second base, granting the Gauchos a 1-0 lead.

A pair of RBI singles, coming from Fabian and Cohen, got the Gauchos ahead 3-0 after the second inning.

The score went unchanged throughout the next two innings until Teah Thies hit an RBI triple, scoring Sperry to tack another run onto the count.

Saint Peter's managed to score one run, thanks to an RBI single up the middle, in the sixth inning, but the Gauchos were able to lock up the 4-1 win.

UCSB 10, Portland State 1 (5 innings) (Sunday)

Five Gaucho runs in the first turned into a seven-run advantage after the third inning, and Sperry walked off the game with a double as the hosts thumped Portland State.

Thies kickstarted a productive two-out rally with a two-run double to left center, scoring Cohen and junior shortstop Maci Fines, going ahead 2-0.

Following a walk earned by freshman Sam Denehy, sophomore centerfielder Tyler Goldstein had a two-run double of her own, this one to right field.

In the final play of the inning, Maci Fines dropped a single into left field and Goldstein scored, but senior third baseman Kayla Krantz was put out at home on an excellent throw from left field to the Vikings' catcher.

A Thies RBI groundout and Nodohara RBI single registered the sixth and seventh runs of the game, respectively, before Portland State's Darian Lindsey hammered a solo homer to center in the fourth, bringing an end to the shutout bid.

The Gauchos got right back to work in the fifth inning, getting Fines and freshman Hannah Damore on at first and second for Nodohara to single in Damore in her at-bat to make the score 8-1.

Sperry walked the game off with a two-run double, scoring Fines and Nodohara, to keep the momentum going into the final game of the Gaucho Classic.

UCSB 7, Saint Peter's 1 (Sunday)

The momentum did keep going into the tournament's finale between UCSB and Saint Peter's, with a top performance from Molina in the circle highlighting the proceedings.

Thies doubled in Cohen and Sperry in the first to get the early 2-0 lead.

Krantz was responsible for batting in the next three runs, first with a two-run single to left center in the third inning, and then with a double to left to score Thies and extend UCSB's grasp on the game to a 5-0 lead.

All the while, Molina was moving down batters in the circle, striking out 11 of the first 16 batters she faced.

Saint Peter's Brandi Feeney brought an end to that run by sending a home run over the fence in a solo effort in the sixth.

All told, Molina had 14 strikeouts in the affair.

Thies capped the game, and ultimately the weekend, off with a two-run double to center to score Cohen and Sperry.

Now, the Gauchos head north to San Jose to take on Utah State, San Jose State, Saint Mary's, Washington, and Santa Clara in a tournament next weekend. The action begins on Friday against Utah State at 1 p.m. Live stats will be available on UCSBGauchos.com.

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