SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge both took a game in Saturday's doubleheader at Campus Diamond. The Gauchos lit up the scoreboard in the first game and downed the Matadors 8-0 in five innings, but CSUN struck back in game two with a close 3-0 victory.
UCSB moves to 27-21 overall and 8-9 in Big West play, while CSUN's record stands at 21-28 and 7-10 in conference.
The Gauchos used a seven-run third inning and a two-hit shutout performance from Shelby Wisdom to mercy rule the Matadors 8-0 through five. In total, the Gauchos clubbed 10 hits with Jessica Soria and Keilani Jennings both leading the way with two hits.
Wisdom's strong performance in the circle was undeniable as she fanned six batters and allowed the Matadors only 15 at-bats. The win was her 15th of the season.
The Gauchos literally made quick business of the Matadors as the game was over in just one hour and fifteen minutes, and it all started in the bottom of the first.
Soria led off the inning with a single hit down the left field line. She went on to steal second base for her 21st stolen base of the season. The senior went a perfect 2-2 at the plate in game one.
Two consecutive outs were recorded before Keilani Jennings made her way into the batter's box for the first time.
Jennings made her visit to plate worthwhile as she crushed a single down the left field line to easily run Soria home, giving UCSB the early 1-0 lead.
After a scoreless second inning, the Gauchos decided to put on a show in the bottom of the third. The bases were loaded after the first three at-bats, setting the stage for UCSB's leading slugger Shelby Wisdom. And the sophomore delivered by bringing all three runners home off a double belted to deep right field.
Arianna Palomares joined the hit parade with a single to left field, which sent Wisdom home from third.
Lauren Boser extended the rally with a sharp single hit to the shortstop that would bring Jennings across home plate and also load the bases for Jessica Soria. The hit also signaled the end of Shelly Tait's day in the pitcher's circle, and Alexa Limon was called in for relief.
Limon started off rusty as she walked Soria and brought another Gaucho home.
Kathryn Pilpil capped off the seven-run rally with a single hit to left field. After an inning that had eight hits, seven runs, and 13 at-bats, the Gauchos held a dominant 8-0 lead.
Wisdom limited the CSUN to just one hit for the rest of the game, but Crystal Maas came to close to preventing the mercy rule finish.
With what would be her last at-bat of the game, Maas hit a ball to deep center field that seemed destined to be a homer. However, Jessica Soria followed the ball and robbed the homerun shot with an athletic catch as her arm was flung over the fence.
The catch sealed the 8-0 victory for UCSB.
After being shutout in the first game, the Matadors didn't wait long to put a run on the board in game two.
The Gauchos matched the Matadors with five hits in the game, but came up with no runs.
In the first play of the game, Korinne Randazzo got on base after Kathryn Pilpil mishandled a grounder at second base for an error. Randazzo was brought home when Tanna Bindi hit a sacrifice fly to left field, giving the Matadors the early 1-0 lead.
Wisdom was given the start in the circle after tossing a shutout in game one. Despite the Matadors finding their swings, Wisdom kept the game close for UCSB most notably in the top of the third when CSUN had the bases loaded with no outs.
The Gauchos' ace showed her pitching prowess by forcing three consecutive outs, including a strikeout, and not allowing the Matadors a single run that inning.
The game was stuck at 1-0 through the middle of the fourth inning, but the Matadors used three hits to add two more runs in the top of the fifth to extend their lead to 3-0.
UCSB looked poised to respond in the bottom half of the inning when Soria moved Jessica Reichner to second base her team-high second hit of the game with a single to left center. With only one out in the inning, CSUN's head coach Tairia Flowers brought in a fresh arm into the game as Jennifer Tyler came in for Alexa Limon.
The pitching change worked as Tyler was able to hold the Gauchos from scoring by forcing two straight outs.
After Wisdom pitched 9.1 innings in the doubleheader, Andriana Collins was called in for relief in the top of the fifth inning. Collins threw an efficient 2.2 innings by keeping CSUN scoreless off one hit, while also fanning one batter.
The teams will play the series rubber match at Campus Diamond on Sunday at 12pm.