The USB softball team nearly went undefeated in its final games of the SB Spring Break Bash, defeating Manhattan 5-1 before closing out its final home tournament with a 2-1 loss to South Dakota State on a windy Sunday.
UCSB vs. MANHATTAN
The Gauchos (8-17) held Manhattan (1-9) to just two hits in the win, the fewest they have allowed all season. Sophomore catcher Ashley Donaldson matched that single handedly with two of UCSB’s five hits.
Maci Fines and Madelyn McNally popped singles into left center on the first two at bats of the game. Fines later scored on a nicely placed sacrifice bunt by fellow senior Rayna Cohen.
The Jaspers tied the game on a double in the top of the third – their first hit of the game – but UCSB took the lead back in the next inning. Teah Thies hit a single through the right side and advanced to second on a Tyler Goldstein sac bunt. Sophomore Ashley Donaldson knocked a double down the right field line and Thies scored to make it 2-1.
That wouldn’t be Donaldson’s biggest highlight of the day, though. Facing two outs in the sixth, with runners on first and second, Donaldson sailed one over right field with the wind behind it, registering her first career home run to put UCSB up 5-1.
It was a strong performance for the defense overall, which included one of the best plays of the year on a diving catch by Goldstein to end the fourth inning. Pitcher Camryn Snyder (6-6) who went all seven innings in the circle giving up just two hits and one earned run with three strikeouts.
UCSB vs. SOUTH DAKOTA ST.
Looking to avenge their Saturday defeat at the hands of the Jackrabbits (13-7), the Gauchos held a 1-0 lead for nearly the entire game as they looked to beat the sunset.
UCSB scored its only run in the first inning. Fines led off with a hard hit single off the glove of the South Dakota State third baseman. McNally put her on second with a sac bunt. Donaldson hit a ground ball to second that should have resulted in the third out, but it wasn’t handled properly, allowing her to make it to first and Fines to score on the error.
Korie Thomas and McNally singled in the second and sixth innings, recording the Gauchos’ only two hits the rest of the way.
Despite the gusting winds often causing unpredictable movement on the ball, it was another stellar defensive performance for UCSB, which held SDSU to only five hits for the second straight day. Pitcher Alyssa Molina was just one out away from a seven-inning shutout, but with their backs against the wall, the Jackrabbits managed to steal the win late on a three-run homer by Allison Yoder in the top of the seventh. It was the first pitch Yoder faced on her first at bat of the game.
With their final tournament now behind them, the Gauchos will look ahead to next weekend’s Big West opening series against Hawaii. Conference play begins with a Saturday doubleheader at 1:00 p.m. at Campus Diamond.
Michael Jorgenson writes about sports for UCSB.