UCSB Splits Pair at Sacramento State

Keilani Jennings (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Keilani Jennings (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara (13-21) softball team had two strong defensive performances on Monday afternoon as it split a pair of games against Sacramento State (17-9) at Shea Stadium.

In the first game of the twin bill, the Gauchos snapped the Hornet's nine-game winning streak with a 4-0 victory. The win marked UCSB's first shutout since its Feb. 25 game against UNLV and just its second overall this year. Sacramento State was able to outlast the Gauchos in game two, 2-1.

Freshman pitcher Shelby Wisdom (8-9) threw a gem in the first game, allowing just four hits in a complete game effort. She walked just one batter while striking out 10.

She was backed by stellar offensive performances from several Gauchos, including Keilani Jennings, who went 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBI. McKenzie Kane, Lainey DePompa and Lauren Boser all had multiple hits in the victory.

Jessica Soria opened the game with a single to left field before she stole second base. She was moved to third when Kane grounded out the pitcher and one out later, a failed pickoff attempt by the Hornet catcher gave her time to tag home. Jennings followed with a solo home run hit over the left center field fence to give UCSB an early 2-0 advantage.

The top of the order was effective once again in the third inning when, with one out, Kane hit an infield single to third base. She stole second and Jennings sent her home with a base hit to center field.

A solo blast to left center field by Allison Taylor in the fifth inning brought the Gauchos' lead to 4-0.

In the day's second game, UCSB once again got a strong pitching effort, this time from Andriana Collins (5-12). The sophomore tossed all six innings and allowed just three hits and two unearned runs. She walked one and struck out four.

The Gauchos out-hit Sacramento State, 5-3, in the losing effort. Kathryn Pilpil led the way going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Kane, meanwhile, extended her current hitting streak to 12 games.

Sacramento State got on the scoreboard first in the second inning. Kaitlyn Taylor led off with a double to right field and her pinch runner, Shannon Kaufman, came home on the next play after the Gauchos committed a throwing error following a sacrifice bunt by Yessinia Alcala.

Trailing 1-0, UCSB battled back in the top of the next inning. A Hornet error allowed Brooke Putich to reach first and Soria followed with an infield single to put two runners on. Sacramento State managed to get the first two outs of the inning before Jennings loaded the bases with a walk. A timely single by Pilpil to right field scored Putich to tie the game at one apiece.

With two outs and a runner on first base in the bottom of the same inning, another Gaucho throwing error allowed pinch runner Jessica Abelia to score. The run would be the last of the game.

In the top of the seventh, UCSB attempted to rally after DeJanee Moore reached on a throwing error. Putich and Soria both grounded out moving the runner to third, but the Gauchos were unable to bring her home.

UCSB will finish up its current road swing tomorrow, March 27 when it heads to Fresno State for a single game against the Bulldogs at 6 p.m.