TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Gauchos notched their third straight victory to open the Unconquered Classic as they defeated Northern Iowa 3-2 on a walk-off single by Kathryn Pilpil in the eighth inning. UC Santa Barbara (9-3) has now won eight of their last nine games.
Alex Pingree (3-0) picked up the win in a stellar pitching display for the Gauchos. She went all eight innings for the complete game and only allowed four hits and two runs, while striking out four.
Trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Gauchos would need to put a rally together to get back in the game. They did just that with a leadoff single by Pilpil to get the offense going. Lauren Boser followed with a single to left field to move Pilpil into scoring position. After a wild pitch, both runners moved up a base to set-up Emily Brucelas. Brucelas, who homered in yesterday's game against the Panthers, stroked a one-out double down the left field line to tie the score at 2-2.
In the top of the eight, Northern Iowa led off with a double to put pressure on the Gaucho's defense. Pingree regrouped and shut down the next three batters in a row to end the inning.
Arianna Palomares led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a base hit up the middle. MeShalon Moore sacrificed her into scoring position with Shelby Wisdom stepping up to the plate. Wisdom would reach on a fielder's choice back to the pitcher and Palomares would advance to third. With runners on the corners, Pilpil lined the first pitch she saw down the left field line to score Palomares and win the game 3-2.
Pilpil led the Gauchos at the plate going 2-for-4 with an RBI and helping to start the rally in the seventh and finish the rally in the eighth. Boser added two hits for the Gauchos and Brucelas was 1-for-3 with 2 RBI's.
In a contest between two red-hot teams, #10 Florida State (13-1) was able to get the edge on UC Santa Barbara (9-4) in a 5-2 victory. The tenth-ranked Seminoles have won thirteen straight games since dropping their season opener, while the Gauchos had won eight of their last nine, including three in a row in the Unconquered Classic.
The story of the game was Florida State's pitcher Lacey Waldrop. Waldrop (7-1) carries a 0.50 ERA and has racked up 67 strikeouts in just 56 innings pitched this season. This game was no exception and she tallied 10 strikeouts in dominating fashion.
Shelby Wisdom (4-3) was in the circle for the Gauchos and has been effective this season with a 2.67 ERA. The Seminoles bats, however, got to her in the second inning to take a 4-0 lead.
Lauren Harris and Courtney Senas each hit two-run homers to put Florida State up early.
In the top of the sixth inning, with the score still 4-0, Arianna Palomares singled through the right side to lead off the inning. MeShalon Moore doubled to left to put runners at second and third. After a groundout by Wisdom, Kathryn Pilpil hit a grounder to third base who overthrew the first baseman allowing two runs to score. Lauren Boser followed with a groundball to first base who made a fielding error on the play but was able to gather and throw out Pilpil who was trying to score on the play. Despite two fielding errors by the Seminoles, the two runs would be all the Gauchos could manage in the inning.
Florida State tacked on one more run in the sixth to bring the score to its final of 5-2.
The Gauchos will wrap up the Unconquered Classic tomorrow as they take on Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Fla.