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The UCSB softball team comes out of this weekend in a four-way tie for first place in the Big West after winning two out of three from the University of the Pacific this past weekend at Campus Diamond.
“I think we’re in a fantastic position,” senior catcher Lainey DePompa said. “I think that we’re getting better with each game and we’re learning from each game, and our goal is to be peaking right at the end of conference.”
After the two wins, the Gauchos improve to 23-26 overall and 8-4 in conference play. The Tigers are now 29-16 overall and 8-4 in the league. Both teams will now battle against UC Davis and Long Beach State for top position in the conference with three weekend series remaining for each team.
Game one of Saturday’s doubleheader was a pitchers’ duel between freshman pitcher Shelby Wisdom and junior pitcher Nikki Armagost. In the fourth inning, the Gauchos got on the board first; senior outfielder Allison Taylor doubled and was brought home on a single by DePompa. Down to their last out, Pacific was able to tie the game on an unearned run to send the game into extra innings.
With a runner on second in the bottom of the eighth, second baseman Kathryn Pilpil delivered the game-winning double to left center to win 2-1.
“[Pilpil], who had an error in the box in the top of the seventh, picked herself up and got a double,” Head Coach Brie Galicinao said. “She got the winning run but it was key pitching, key defensive plays that held [Pacific’s] offense.”
UCSB carried momentum to the next game of the doubleheader, scoring two runs in the first inning before Pacific was able to put up a run in the second inning. With the game tied at two apiece, the Tigers took a one run lead in the fifth before putting the game away in the seventh inning, scoring three runs on three hits.
“We had a couple miscues, and we didn’t do our best job,” DePompa said. “We could’ve done a lot better on offense and defense, basically just fundamentals.”
The rubber match on Sunday seemed to be a back-and-forth contest early on, as each team scored two runs in the first inning. In the third inning, however, the Gauchos unleashed an offensive fury, scoring nine runs. The scoring started on a three-run homerun by Wisdom; the Gauchos put seven consecutive batters on base, with three RBI doubles coming from junior shortstop Keilani Jennings, Taylor and DePompa.
Pacific was unable to score in the fourth, and the game was called off after the top of the fifth inning, 11-2, due to the mercy rule.
“This was their best game of softball; they put together a great offensive effort,” Galicinao said, “Even though Pacific hit a homerun in the first inning, the team came right back.”
With three weekend series remaining in the season, UCSB now goes on the road to face first-place UC Davis on Saturday.