SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara softball team picked up a pair of wins over UC Riverside on Saturday afternoon at Campus Diamond, defeating UC Riverside 3-0 and 9-8 to improve to 12-30 on the season and 9-11 in Big West play.
Game one: UCSB 3, UC Riverside 0
Junior pitcher Emily Schuttish struck out a season-high nine batters in the first game of the series, pitching a complete game in which she only allowed four hits and walked one batter.
The scoring came early, as junior left fielder Sammy Fabian took advantage of a passed ball by the UC Riverside catcher to head to third base and then headed home to score after the catcher sent an errant throw past the third baseman.
In the bottom of the second, Fabian got Donaldson across the plate with an RBI groundout to go up by three runs, which the Gauchos maintained for the remainder of the game.
Game two: UCSB 8, UC Riverside 7 (9 Innings)
The Gauchos and Highlanders battled in an exciting three-hour marathon, as Riverside fought back from a 4-0 deficit and took a late lead but the hosts came through with the game-tying run in the sixth inning and then the walk-off game-winner in the bottom of the ninth on an error by the UCR defense.
Once again, UCSB got going early in the matchup, with Fabian, junior second baseman Maci Fines, and junior first baseman Rayna Cohen loading the bases for sophomore catcher Teah Thies to hammer home her first home run of the year, a grand slam to send the Gauchos ahead 4-0.
Riverside pulled a pair of runs back in the second on a Kennedi Sorensen two-RBI double, but Madelyn McNally's RBI single in the fourth kept UCSB up 5-2.
In the fifth, the visitors once again closed the gap with another two scores, first on a Lauryn Garewal RBI double and then when she headed home from third base on a Gaucho throwing error.
However, sophomore centerfielder Tyler Goldstein then scored Thies on a single to left field in the bottom half of the frame, again extending UCSB's lead to two runs at 6-4.
The tide turned in the top of the sixth when Riverside found its groove, scoring on a bases-loaded walk, and RBI singles from Marissa Burk and Katherine Montuya.
With the Gauchos behind for the first time in the game, Nodohara came up big in the bottom half of the sixth with a single to bring in freshman shortstop Madelyn McNally.
The two squads kept each other in check until the bottom of the ninth inning, when Nodohara and Donaldson reached on a fielder's choice and a single, respectively, to put the winning run on second base.
With Goldstein up at the plate, she sent the ball towards Riverside's second baseman who was unable to cleanly field the ball, allowing for Nodohara to reach home as the Gauchos walked off the Highlanders in a thrilling conclusion to the contest.
The Gauchos will take the field for the series finale against UC Riverside on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The team's Senior Day ceremony will be conducted prior to the contest, recognizing the program's lone graduating senior in Emily Schuttish.