The UC Riverside softball team (32-20, 9-9) put on an offensive clinic Saturday during the first two games of the series against UC Santa Barbara (18-33, 5-13). After giving up four straight runs in the first inning, the Highlanders outlasted the Gauchos 13-11 in game one. They then got off to a quick start in game two and picked up a 9-3 win. Things only got better for the Highlanders offensively in the third game as they finished the sweep with a dominant 14-0 performance.
Game one: Highlanders 13 – Gauchos 11
UCSB opened up the series scoring four runs in the top of the first, but the Highlanders responded with seven runs of their own in bottom of the inning to take a 7-4 lead. Sophomore Emma Ramelot and senior Jenae Lockwood each collected RBI singles to cut the lead in half and junior Brittney Garcia gave UCR its first after she crushed a grand slam over the left field wall. Junior Hannah Rodriguez added the final run of the inning on a sacrifice-fly to score sophomore Danielle Ortega from third, putting the Highlanders up 7-4.
The Gauchos fought back to tie the game in the second inning at 7-7, but the Highlanders responded with a solo shot by Lockwood and an RBI single from Ortega to put the home team up 9-7.
Garcia drove in her fifth RBI of the game in the fourth inning, tying for the second most RBI in a single game in UCR’s Division I era. Freshman Seanna Garewal wrapped up the inning by tying a Division I record of her own, roping in her fifth triple of the season to bring in two runs, giving UCR a 12-7 lead. Garewal now stands as the out-right leader in the Big West Conference in triples.
UCSB kept it competitive in the sixth inning by adding four runs, but the Highlanders were able to prevent a comeback by adding a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, holding on for a 13-11 victory.
Game two: Highlanders 9 – Gauchos 3
The second game of the doubleheader marked just the second start of the year for pitcher Jacy Boles. The sophomore picked up her first win of the season, tossing a complete game and giving up just three runs on seven hits.
It was the Highlanders who got off to the hot start this time around, adding four runs in the first two innings off of two RBI singles from Rodriguez, a Garcia sac-fly and a Curtan double. Curtan’s double marks her 37th career double, which breaks an all-time program record.
UCSB added two runs in the fourth to cut the lead in half, but Riverside responded with five more runs in the next two innings to cap off the team’s scoring efforts for the day.
The Gauchos would cross home plate again in the seventh inning but the Highlanders would hang on to win game two 9-3.
Rodriguez had a stellar game, going 3-for-4 with three RBI, one run and several defensive plays from shortstop to help UCR complete the doubleheader with two wins.
Game three: Highlanders 14 – Gauchos 0
UC Riverside opened up game three with yet another quick start, bringing home four runs in the first two innings thanks to a 3-RBI performance from Ramelot, and Rodriguez tagging home off a wild pitch.
The Highlanders continued to bombard the Gauchos offensively, scoring six runs in the third inning alone to expand the lead to 10-0. Lockwood opened up the inning with a double down the right field line, as Ortega followed that up with a triple of her own to right center.
A Rodriguez fly out to infield brought in Ortega to score and wrap up the scoring efforts for the Highlanders in the fourth inning. UCR finished the game with a 14-0 victory to complete the sweep against the Gauchos.
After the game, the team honored graduating seniors Chelsea Holley, Jenae Lockwood, Tayler Misfeldt and Jenna Curtan.