The UCSB softball team ended its weekend with a bang, picking up a big win at University of the Pacific to end its four-game losing streak.
With the win, the Gauchos improve to 21-13 overall and 2-4 in the Big West.
“We’re in a good place,” freshman outfielder Arianna Palomares said. “Our team is determined to keep fighting and playing good ball, we’re very positive.”
Coming into their third straight game against Pacific on Saturday, the Gauchos were hungry for a win after a disappointing 1-4 start to their conference schedule. After falling just one run short in each of their last two games, UCSB was able to come up clutch on both sides of the ball in this one.
The Gauchos had no hits through three innings, but that would change when they strung together three straight in the top of the fourth, capped off by sophomore pitcher Shelby Wisdom’s fifth home run of the season. The homer brought in Palomares and junior second baseman Kathryn Pilpil to give UCSB a 3-2 lead.
The Tigers were able to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh on a single by senior infielder Megan Allen and the Gauchos found themselves in a do-or-die position with only one out and facing loaded bases.
Pilpil came up with a clutch out by firing the ball home before Allen could come in for the winning run. The next batter popped out to center field and the game went into extra innings.
Neither team found a breakthrough until the tenth inning when senior shortstop Keilani Jennings stepped up to the plate and knocked one of her team-leading seven home runs over left field to give the Gauchos a 4-3 lead. Junior infielder Jessica Reichner scored on an error to increase the lead to 5-3 and Wisdom picked up three straight outs to seal the win.
“The difference between the last four games and this game is we continued to fight back and hit the ball harder,” Wisdom said about the win. “We can work on [having] a cleaner defense and stringing on hits.”
The second game against Pacific on Saturday went down to the final pitch, but the Gauchos were unable to climb back from a 3-1 deficit in the seventh inning.
Going scoreless through the first five innings, UCSB scored its first run when Jennings doubled down the left field line to bring Pilpil home, making the score 2-1. A double by Allen in the bottom of the sixth extended the Tigers’ lead to 3-1, but the Gauchos kept fighting.
Freshman catcher Sami Stark hit a clutch home run to start the seventh inning, bringing the Gauchos within one run. However, the next three Gaucho batters would be retired in succession, cutting the comeback short.
The previous game against Pacific on Friday was a heartbreaker as Pacific took a 6-5 win off a throwing error by Jennings in the bottom of the seventh.
Junior outfielder McKenzie Kane gave one of her best efforts of the season with three RBI.
“We were fighting really hard these last four games but the outcomes just didn’t end up in our favor,” Palomares said. “This last game we just stuck to our plan and kept the positive energy going.”
The Gauchos will have a break in conference play with two games at Arizona next weekend, the first of which is on Saturday at 6:00 p.m.
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of the Daily Nexus.