LONG BEACH, Calif. – With a scoring frenzy in the top of the seventh, UC Santa Barbara (10-4) completed the 6-4, comeback victory over Nevada (10-6) to open the Louisville Slugger Invitational.
The Gauchos had their work cut out for them in the top of the seventh in being down two runs, and got their offense rolling early with four consecutive single. The third of those base knocks was from Arianna Palomares who delivered her hit through the right side to send Stacy Cavazos home to put her team within one.
A Nevada pitching change didn't detour UCSB's batters, as MeShalon Moore roped yet another single to center field for the game-tying RBI.
The senior took a while to find her rhythm as she allowed a walk with her first at bat and allowed that runner to advance to third after a pair of wild pitches. However, Collins made sure that runner would be left stranded as she delivered the final out of the inning by catching Caylin Campbell looking at called strike three.
Collins went on to secure the win for the Gauchos by forcing the Wolf Pack into a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the seventh.
A Wolf Pack error gave UCSB its first lead at the top of the sixth, as Pilpil scored thanks to an error from the third baseman.
The Gauchos' first run came at the top of the third inning when the team was behind 1-0. Kristen Clark moved UCSB into scoring position with a single to left field, which gave Cavazos the chance to head to second. Hitting exclusively singles, Clark finished the game with a perfect 4-of-4 performance at the plate.
Palomares completed the job with a sacrifice fly hit to deep right field and tied the game at 1-1.
UC Santa Barbara improved to 11-4 on the year with a balanced offensive attack and solid pitching in a 7-0 shutout against a winless Utah Valley (0-11) team.
A combined pitching effort by Andriana Collins, Shelby Wisdom and Ashlee Ludlow held the Wolverines to just two hits in the game while totaling eight strikeouts. Collins (4-1) picked up the win in her fourth start of the season and gave three solid innings of work. Wisdom came in with three more shutout innings notching four strikeouts and allowing just one hit. Ludlow closed the door in the seventh striking out the final two batters of the game.
Offensively, the Gauchos scored in the first four innings to get out to an early lead and they never looked back. Leadoff hitter Kristen Clark led the way at the plate going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
In the top of the first inning, Clark managed a leadoff walk and promptly stole second base for her team-leading 10th on the year. A walk to Arianna Palomares and Wisdom hit-by-pitch loaded up the bases for Kathryn Pilpil. With one out, Pilpil hit a fly ball to left to bring home Clark for a 1-0 lead.
In the second inning, Lauren Boser reached by getting hit by a pitch and later came around to score on a throwing error by the pitcher. A single by Jessica Reichner brought Clark up to the plate who hit an infield single scoring Emily Brucelas, who reached on the throwing error, making it 3-0.
The second error of the game for the Wolverines cost them another run in the third inning, when Pilpil, who walked and stole second base, advanced to third on an error by the shortstop. Boser would hit a grounder to first base to score Pilpil.
UCSB tagged on three more runs total in the fourth and sixth innings to go up 7-0. Samantha Stark had a big day at the plate going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a double and Brucelas had two hits on the day as well.
The Gauchos are back in action tomorrow when they take on Oregon State to continue play in the Louisville Slugger Invitational.