UCSB Uses Two Homers to Top Pacific 5-3

Shelby Wisdom (By Tony Mastres)
Shelby Wisdom (By Tony Mastres)

Stockton, Calif. – It took 10 innings, but UCSB pulled off the hard fought 5-3 win to avoid the sweep against the University of the Pacific on Saturday.

The Gauchos improved their record to 21-13 overall and 2-4 in conference action.

The heart of the Gaucho lineup stepped up in a big way as Shelby Wisdom and Keilani Jennings showed off their power by collectively going 3-7 at the plate with two homeruns and four RBIs. 

Wisdom clubbed the first Gaucho blast to give UCSB its first lead of the game in the fourth inning. Pacific was up 2-0 at this point, while the Gauchos had yet to record a hit. Adrianna Palomares ended the hitless drought for her team with a lead off single hit up the middle.

Kathryn Pilpil followed the freshman by drawing a walk off a 3-2 pitch, setting the scene for Shelby Wisdom.

UCSB's cleanup hitter wasted no with her second visit to plate as she sent the first pitch sailing long over the center field wall for a three-run homer.

And with that one swing of the bat, UCSB took their first lead of the day at 3-2.

The goner was Wisdom's fourth of the season and her second in Big West play. 

The Gauchos threatened to light up the scoreboard even more in the fourth as Keilani Jennings knocked a double to left center and Jessica Reichner singled to the pitcher off a bunt in back-to-back at bats. The Tigers, though, would leave them stranded at the corners by retiring the next three batters. 

Despite the big offensive inning, the Gauchos still had plenty of work to do out in the field. 

Freshman Alex Pingree was called into the pitcher's circle in the third, and showed poise that typically comes with experience. But with two runners in scoring position in both the third and the fourth innings, Pingree was unfazed by the pressure and never allowed the Tigers to bring any of those four runners home. 

Pingree tossed a total of 3.2 innings while allowing five hits, while not giving up a single run. 

UCSB was able to keep the score in their favor at 3-2, but were unable to capitalize in the top of the seventh when they had runners at first and third with no outs. This gave Pacific the chance they needed to make a last minute offensive push and tie the game.

With Shelby Wisdom pitching in the circle, Pacific's third baseman, Megan Allen, was facing a 0-2 count but singled up the middle to send a runner home from second to knot up the game at 3.

Wisdom walked the next two batters and loaded the bases with the top of the Tiger's lineup on deck with only one out. 

The Gauchos found themselves in a pinch, but they had the advantage of having a force out at every base. Pilpil knew this and fielded a ground ball hit to her at second base and darted the ball over to home plate to get the second out for UCSB. The next batter flied out to center and the game went into extras. 

Both teams held the other off through the eighth and ninth, and Pacific's starting pitcher Carly Mortenson was tired out after pitching nine full innings. Coming in for relief was sophomore Dani Bonnet who pitched the Tigers to victory over the Gauchos in the series' second game. 

At first, the fresh arm had the edge as Pacific recorded two outs after facing the first two Gaucho batters, but Bonnet still had to pitch to Keilani Jennings to get out of the inning. Something that's easier said than done. 

Bonnett was one strike away from maintaining the tie, but Jennings crushed the 2-2 pitch over left field to put the Gauchos on top 4-3. 

Pacific hammered the nail in their own coffin when their centerfielder committed an error that allowed Jessica Reichner to round the bases off a hit that should have just been a single, giving UCSB the 5-3 advantage. 

Wisdom forced the Tigers to go three up, three down in the bottom of the 10th and sealed the victory for the Gauchos. 

Wisdom earned her 11th win of the season after pitching a team-high 4.1 innings and only allowed one earned run off two hits.

The Gauchos will continue their season next week with a two-game series at the University of Arizona.