By BRITT CALVILLO
UCSB SPORTS WRITER
The UCSB softball team fell to New Mexico in Thursday’s South Coast Invitational opening doubleheader at Campus Diamond, coming up just short in a 3-1 defeat before losing 11-7 in the second game.
The New Mexico Lobos came out of the first inning with two runs but were held there until the fifth where their third baseman brought the score up 3-0.
The Gauchos’ center fielder Tyler Goldstein got a hit in the bottom of the fifth with a single to left field but unfortunately it did not translate into a run.
An incredible defensive play by shortstop Madelyn McNally came in the top of the sixth where she had an over-the-shoulder diving catch in left center, ending the inning with a Lobo on base.
In the bottom of the seventh, Maci Fines led off for the Gauchos and notched a single up the middle, recording her 16th hit of the season. Goldstein then came in and got a base hit with a liner out to left field.
Sophomore third baseman Korie Thomas followed it up with a single up the middle and brought Fines across the plate. However, Santa Barbara came up short and the game ended at 3-1.
The first inning was quiet for both teams. In the top of the second, New Mexico plated one and then three more in the third. UCSB entered the bottom of the third behind 4-0.
Sophomore left fielder Chloe Stewart reached first on an error by the Lobos’ second baseman and quickly stole second on the next pitch. Stewart then advanced to third after Fines flied out to center field.
Sophomore catcher Ashley Donaldson then doubled through the left side, racking up her second RBI of the season as Stewart crossed home plate and brought the score to 4-1 in the bottom of the third.
In the bottom of the fourth, the bases were loaded for the Gauchos after sophomore Korie Thomas was hit by a pitch, senior Rayna Cohen singled to center, and Stewart was also hit by a pitch.
Fines came up to bat and hit a deep single to right center, enough to bring Stewart and Cohen home and move the score to 4-3.
Pitcher Ilona Sullivan held the Lobos scoreless in the fifth, but allowed a single hit and two runs in the sixth, bringing the score to 6-3.
Unfortunately, New Mexico then plated five more runs. With the game now 11-3, the Gauchos came alive in the bottom of the seventh and found four late runs.
UCSB put up six of its season-high 14 hits in the final inning. Goldstein had an RBI single, her third of the season. With the bases loaded, Cohen hit a two-run single towards second base. Fines also had an RBI single through the right side, making it six straight at bats with a hit.
The Gauchos put up a good fight, but in the end couldn’t make up the difference and received the loss with the score at 11-7.
Britt Calvillo writes about sports for UCSB.