Late-inning heroics propelled the UCSB softball team to a sweep of Cal State Bakersfield yesterday in a nonconference doubleheader at Campus Diamond. After a close win in the first game, the Gauchos staged a late-inning rally to win the second game in extra innings.
“This was big for us because Bakersfield is similar to teams we see in conference,” sophomore first baseman Lauren Boser said. “So playing teams that are like other teams in conference is good for us — it’s good work, it’s good practice and a W is always good.”
With the doubleheader sweep, the Gauchos head into the weekend with an 18-25 overall record and are still 3-3 in conference. CSUB leaves with a 10-30 record overall and 3-5 in their respective conference.
In the first game of the doubleheader, UCSB got out to an early lead in the first inning, scoring two runs. With the bases loaded and one out, senior catcher Lainey DePompa singled down the left field line to bring home two runners.
Santa Barbara tacked on one more run in the next inning as senior right fielder Brooke Putich tripled in freshman pitcher Shelby Wisdom. Three runs were all Wisdom needed as she pitched another complete game, giving up one run on two hits.
“[Wisdom’s] been working on having the same demeanor — same go at ‘em, all-out attitude,” Head Coach Brie Galicinao said. “Pitching is always a little bit easier when you have a couple-run cushion.”
Right after a narrow win that saw the Gauchos go up early, Bakersfield returned the favor by putting up two runs of their own in the first inning of the second game, scoring on a wild pitch and then on a throwing error by DePompa.
The game would see no scoring until the sixth inning when the Gaucho bats broke out. Junior shortstop Keilani Jennings belted a homerun to left field and, one out later, Boser tied things at two runs apiece when she homered to center field.
“You don’t go up to bat trying to hit a homerun; you just try to put the ball on the ground,” Boser said. “She threw me a good pitch and happened to make good contact.”
The Gaucho rally did not end there, as they took the lead when Putich singled, bringing in a run to go into the seventh up by one. Sophomore pitcher Andriana Collins started the inning by giving up a double, which was later cashed in on another double to send the game into extra innings.
CSUB threatened in the eighth inning, advancing a runner to third base before Wisdom retired the final batter and sent the game into the bottom of the eighth. With a runner already on second base in accordance with the extra inning rule, Wisdom stepped up to the plate and hit a sharp grounder to third base that was errantly thrown, hitting Wisdom’s back and scoring the runner from second base, earning the 4-3 win.
“We’ve been struggling with adjustments and for us to be able to come back at the bottom of the sixth and tie, it’s good momentum for this weekend,” Galicinao said.
The Gauchos now resume conference play this weekend against UC Riverside for a three-game series.