The UCSB softball team picked up its best win of the season in a 4-1 victory over No. 22 Hawaii Friday before losing its next two games in Saturday’s doubleheader.
The Gauchos are now 29-23 overall and drop to fifth in the Big West at 10-11. Hawaii, on the other hand, improved to 40-11 overall and 17-4 in conference with the series victory.
In the first game of the weekend, UCSB faced one of the top pitchers in the conference in senior Kaia Parnaby, who going into the weekend led the league in ERA at 1.30 and batters struck out with 301. Luckily for the Gauchos, sophomore pitcher Shelby Wisdom and the rest of the team’s defense were also on point.
After Wisdom held the Rainbow Wahine scoreless with just one hit through the first three innings, freshman designated player Arianna Palomares got her team on the board with a single to left field that brought junior first baseman Lauren Boser in from second base.
Then in the fourth inning, Hawaii finally got their breakthrough with a solo home run from sophomore first baseman Leisha Li’ili’i.
The score stayed at 1-1 as both teams played solid defense all the way into the ninth inning, when Boser stepped to the plate with two runners on base and delivered one of the biggest hits for the Gauchos all season, knocking a three-run homer over left center to give UCSB a 4-1 lead.
Wisdom, who totaled six strikeouts and allowed just five hits in the game, finished off Hawaii by retiring the next three batters she faced. The win was the Gauchos’ first against a top-25 ranked team this year.
The second game of the weekend was a completely different story as both teams’ offenses couldn’t be stopped. UCSB got off to a terrific start with senior shortstop Keilani Jennings hitting a two-run home run in the top of the first inning.
Freshman utility Jessica Tetzlaff followed with a single to bring junior second baseman Kathryn Pilpil home and increase the Gauchos’ lead to 3-0.
UCSB did not have control for long though, as Hawaii took a 4-3 lead with home runs by junior catcher Sharla Kliebenstein and senior centerfielder Kelly Majam in the second inning.
An RBI from Pilpil and a throwing error by Hawaii in the third gave UCSB the lead again at 6-4, but two more home runs by the Rainbow Wahine put them back on top 7-6 and ended Wisdom’s day at pitcher.
With Hawaii leading 10-6 in the sixth, Jennings made program history for Santa Barbara. With her second home run of the day, Jennings not only brought her team within one run, but she also picked up her 31st career home run, the most ever by a Gaucho.
Nevertheless, Hawaii kept the momentum as senior shortstop Jessica Iwata put the icing on the cake in the sixth inning with her team’s fifth home run of the day, sealing an 11-9 victory.
Jennings’ five RBIs tied her career-high for most in a single game.
In the final game of the weekend, Hawaii played more like the dominant team that they have been all year. In just five innings, the Rainbow Wahine hit four home runs to earn a quick 8-0 lead and end the game on the run rule.
UCSB’s will return home next weekend to play UC Riverside in its final three games of the season.
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of May 6th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Peter Vandenbelt of the Daily Nexus.