UCSB Splits on Opening Day of Gaucho Classic I

Jessica Soria
Jessica Soria

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara (6-1) opened its 2013 home slate with a split on the opening day of the Gaucho Classic I. The Gauchos fell to No. 7 Mizzou (1-0), 11-3, before rebounding with a gritty 5-4 victory over San Diego (2-2) on Friday afternoon at Campus Diamond.

In the afternoon game against San Diego, the Toreros – who were the designated home team – were able to come back from a 4-2 deficit and tie the game in the bottom of the sixth with a bases loaded walk, followed by a Gaucho throwing error. 

Sophomore Shelby Wisdom was able to drive home McKenzie Kane for the game-winning run when she grounded out to third base with one out at the top of the seventh. In the bottom of the inning, San Diego was able to get a pair of runners on with consecutive one-out singles, but Wisdom came up big in the circle, grabbing the last two outs on a fly out and strikeout to preserve the Gaucho win.

UCSB grabbed the initial lead in the top of the first when Kathryn Pilpil scored Jessica Soria and Wisdom with a bases-loaded, one-out single up the middle of the field.

San Diego countered in the bottom of the same inning when Chloe Kaneko drove Morgan Kurtz home with a single hit to deep left center field.

Keilani Jennings' RBI single to center field in the fifth, brought home Soria for the Gauchos' third run and one out later, Wisdom was able to score from third base on a passed ball. In the bottom of the same inning, the Toreros tacked on their second run off of an illegal pitch.

In the circle, Wisdom (4-1) captured the victory after tossing the final 2.0 innings. She did not allow a run and struck out two. Alex Pingree got the start and tossed five innings, allowing two runs on four hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Cassidy Coleman (1-1) suffered the loss for San Diego after tossing a complete game and allowing five runs – three earned – on eight hits while striking out seven.

Soria led the Gauchos offensively, going 3-for-4 with three runs and two stolen bases. Wisdom went 2-for-4 with two runs while Jennings and Kathryn Pilpil each went 1-for-3 with two RBI.

Against No. 7 Missouri earlier in the day, Wisdom came out strong, retiring the first three batters she faced. The Gauchos got the first two hits of the game in the first when Soria led off with a single, which was followed by a base hit by Arianna Palomares. Unfortunately, the Tigers caught Soria stealing and got out of the inning unscathed with a double play.

Consecutive solo homers by Nicole Hudson and Angela Randazzo in the second put the Tigers on the board. Jennings countered with a round trip of her own in the bottom of the inning, but the Mizzou slugfest continued in the third when Hudson hit her second homer of the day, this time driving in two additional runs.

The Gauchos were able to cut the Tigers' lead to two in the fourth when Lauren Boser hit a two-out home run over the left field fence, driving Jennings home in the process.

A six-run fifth inning by Mizzou spelt the end for the Gauchos, however, as they fell mercy to the run rule.

Soria went 3-for-3 in the losing effort while Palomares and Jennings each had a pair of hits. Wisdom suffered her first loss of the season after allowing five runs off of six hits in three innings of work. She struck out four.

UCSB will return to action at the Gaucho Classic I on Saturday, Feb. 16 when they take-on Fresno State at 9 a.m. at Campus Diamond.