HONOLULU, Hawaii – Fueled by stellar pitching from Andriana Collins and clutch hitting by DeJanee Moore, UC Santa Barbara (7-12) defeated Radford (4-5), 2-1, in its second game at the Bank of Hawaii Invitational on an expectedly beautiful morning in Honolulu.
UCSB got a pair of runners on base at the bottom of the first inning after consecutive infield singles from Jessica Soria and McKenzie Kane. Allison Taylor laid down an effective sacrifice bunt to move both the runners into scoring position, but the next two batters were retired on a pair of fly balls hit to the outfield, as Radford escaped the inning unscathed.
The Highlanders opened the second inning with a base hit to left field by Ryndee Ruch. The next batter, Jackie Warr reached on a fielder's choice, but third baseman Moore overthrew to second base, allowing Ruch to advance to third base. Warr stole second before Jessica Agee hit a sacrifice fly to left field to drive Ruch home for the unearned run.
Kathryn Pilpil led off at the bottom of the same inning with a single to the right field. Lauren Boser attempted to bunt the runner to second, but the Highlanders were able to beat Pilpil with the throw to second. Keilani Jennings reached on a fielder's choice as well and Boser was out at second on the play.
With a runner on first and two outs, Brooke Putich and Jessica Soria reached on consecutive walks, but Radford pitcher Jackie Jenkins was able to strike out the next Gaucho batter to end the inning with three runners stranded.
After Collins retired the Highlander side at the top of the third inning, UCSB's offense went back to work. With two outs, Moore hit a single to left field. Radford left fielder Jessie Hutchens attempted a diving catch, but couldn't keep the ball in her glove. Pilpil followed with a double hit deep over center fielder Hannah Ojeda's head to score Moore and knot the game at 1-1.
Moore broke the tie at the bottom of the fifth when she hit a two-out home run – the first of her collegiate career – over the center field fence, giving UCSB a 2-1 lead.
At the bottom of the sixth, Jennings led off with a single hit to the right center field fence. Putich followed with a sacrifice hit to third base, moving the runner into scoring position. One out later, Kane proceeded to lay down a gorgeous bunt, giving herself ample time to reach first and Jennings to move to third, but the Highlanders were able to collect the final out to hold off the Gauchos.
Radford attempted to rally at the top of the seventh when pinch hitter Meredith Moore led off with a double hit to deep center field. One out later, Agee grounded out to second, moving the batter to third. Collins was able to assist on the final out though, as Hannah Ojeda grounded out to the pitcher sealing the Gaucho win.
Collins (3-7) pitched a complete game and allowed just one unearned run on three hits. She did not allow a single walk and she struck out seven batters, which was just one shy of her season-high.
At the plate, Kane and Pilpil each had a pair of hits. Moore led the way going 2-for-3 with two runs, including her solo homer.
UCSB will continue action at the Bank of Hawaii Invitational with a second game on Saturday afternoon. The Gauchos will face host No. 22 Hawaii at 5 p.m. (Pacific Time).