SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara (14-22, 1-0) won its Big West Conference opener against Long Beach State (12-19, 0-1), 5-4, on Saturday afternoon at Campus Diamond. The Gauchos were trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning during game two when a rainstorm came charging through Santa Barbara. The game will resume at 11 a.m. on Sunday, prior to the final contest of the three-game series.
In the first game, the Gauchos were led both offensively and defensively by freshman pitcher Shelby Wisdom (9-10). She tossed the complete game and allowed just four runs – one earned – on eight hits. She struck out 12 batters, marking a new season high. At the plate, she went 2-for-2 with a run, three RBI and a walk.
With two runners on and two outs in the bottom of the second inning, Wisdom hit a single down the left field line to score Lainey DePompa from second base and give the Gauchos the early 1-0 advantage.
The 49ers battled back in the fourth. Cya Neal led off with a single and Nalani St. Germain reached on a fielder's choice to put two runners on. One out later, Ashlynn Booker drove Neal home with a base hit to left field.
Karli Sandavol hit into a fielder's choice on the following play, but the Gauchos botched a throw trying to catch the runner moving to third, allowing the 49ers to load the bases. Shayna Kimbrough's timely base hit to center field drove in St. Germain before Megan Denio drew a bases loaded walk, giving Long Beach State a 3-1 lead.
In the bottom of the same inning, the Gauchos climbed back into the game with a two-out rally. DePompa hit a single to left field before Kathryn Pilpil reached base on balls. Jennessa Jeppesen hit an infield single to load the bases before Wisdom once again came up big. This time, the freshman hit a single through the left side sending DePompa and Pilpil home to tie the game at three runs apiece.
The Gauchos then grabbed the lead in the sixth inning. Pilpil opened with her third walk and one out later, Wisdom also reached base on balls. An error by the 49er third baseman allowed Brooke Putich to load the bases.
Jessica Soria hit into a fielder's choice during the next at-bat, but the shortstop overthrew to first base, allowing her to reach safely and then advance to second. Pilpil and Wisdom both came home on the play to give UCSB a 5-3 lead.
Long Beach knocked at the door in the top of the seventh. The 49ers loaded the bases on a pair of singles followed by a Gaucho error. Jennifer Madigan grounded out to second base with one out, to send home Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi and cut the UCSB advantage to one. Wisdom struck out the final batter swinging to secure the win.
In game two, the 49ers capitalized on a pair of early Gaucho errors to put two runners on with two outs in the first inning. St. Germain hit a single up the middle to drive Neal home and give Long Beach a 1-0 lead.
A sacrifice fly by St. Germain drove pinch runner Alisha Rosen home in the fifth to push the 49er advantage to two runs.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Allison Taylor drew a walk and advanced to second and then third on a pair of wild pitches. The game was suspended with Keilani Jennings up to bat and a 2-2 count on the scoreboard. The contest will resume at 11 a.m. and will be followed by the third game and final game of the conference series.