UC SANTA BARBARA USES LATE COMEBACK TO BEAT SOFTBALL

UC SANTA BARBARA USES LATE COMEBACK TO BEAT SOFTBALL

SACRAMENTO -- Trailing, 6-2, in the seventh inning, UC Santa Barbara scored four times to tie, and eventually won in nine innings by an 8-7 score over Sacramento State on the second day of the Capital City Kickoff softball tournament on Saturday afternoon.

The Hornets are hosting the three-day tournament at Shea Stadium, which features four teams and nine games over three days. Sacramento State dropped to 1-1 at the tournament, which included a 6-2 win over Santa Clara yesterday.

Today's loss to UCSB lasted nearly three and a half hours and had a major impact on Sacramento State's scheduled game against Cal being cancelled. The Hornets and Bears were supposed to play at 3:15 p.m., but due to impending darkness because of previous tournament games going long, the game was cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later date.

In other scores from today, UC Santa Barbara defeated Santa Clara, 5-4, and Cal beat Santa Clara, 6-1. Tomorrow's schedule will see the Hornets taking on UC Santa Barbara at 9:30 a.m., Cal vs. Santa Clara at 12 p.m., and Cal vs. Sacramento State at 2:30 p.m. For complete tournament information, please click here.

Things looked good as the Hornets scored three times in the second inning and three times in the sixth to take a commanding 6-2 lead. With fourth-year senior Celina Matthias in the circle in relief of starter Savanna Corr, the Gauchos took advantage of two seventh inning singles, three walks, a sacrifice fly and a costly Hornet error to hang four runs on the scoreboard and tie things at 6-6.

With the extra inning tiebreaker rule in effect (teams place a runner at second base to start the inning), both the Gauchos and Hornets scored once in the eighth, and UCSB scored once more in the ninth while holding the Hornets scoreless.

Sacramento State got its first three runs in the second inning on an RBI-triple from Sydnee Strong, a perfect squeeze bunt by Marissa Maligad and an RBI-single from Zamari Hinton. After the Gauchos cut the Hornet lead to 3-2 with a pair of sixth inning runs, Sacramento State took a commanding four-run lead in the sixth on an RBI-single from Suzy Brookshire and two-run single from Mo Spieth.

However, that 6-2 lead was not enough as the Gauchos got the first six batters aboard in the seventh inning, and ended up sending nine batters to the plate in the frame. Sacramento State had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, but failed to score.

The Gauchos scored once in eighth, but Sacramento State was able to tie in the bottom half of the inning after Spieth singled home Brookshire. Once again, the Hornets had an opportunity to score more, loading the bases with one out, but could not push across another run. Leaving runners on base was a common theme throughout, as Sacramento State stranded 17 runners on base over nine innings.

UCSB got a sacrifice fly from Kayla Krantz in the top of the ninth, and that proved to the game winner as Sacramento State failed to score in the bottom half of the inning.

UCSB's Felisha Noriega (1-0), who started the game and lasted just 1.2 innings, eventually was re-inserted into the game and picked up the win. Matthias (1-1) got the loss in relief. Corr was effective as a starter, going five-plus innings, allowing seven hits and one run.

Sacramento State used 16 players in the game, and saw four finish with multiple-hit games. Hinton (3-for-5 with a run and an RBI) and Spieth (3-for-5 with three RBIs) both had three hits while Strong finished 2-for-5 with a triple and an RBI, and Brookshire was 2-for-6 with two runs. Spieth has now hit safely in 11 straight games dating back to last season. Hinton is off to a nice start to the season as she is 6-for-9 with thus far.