Gauchos Outlast St. Mary's 5-2 in Extra-Inning Battle

Emily Brucelas (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Emily Brucelas (Photo by Tony Mastres)

FRESNO, Calif. – In scoring three runs in the eighth inning, UCSB put away St. Mary's (Calif.) in closing out the Louisville Slugger Bash with the 5-2 victory.

With the win, Santa Barbara improves its record 5-15, while the Gaels fall to 5-11. The team also avenged a 14-6 loss St. Mary's previously handed UCSB at the Gaucho Classic.

Emily Brucelas and Arianna Palomares each collected two hits in the game, while Shelby Wisdom recorded a pair of sacrifice flys.

Alex Pingree (3-2) outlasted Gael pitcher Lujane Mussadi in the circle, as she went the distance and allowed just one earned run, five hits, and picked up a strikeout.  

The junior came through in the clutch for the Gauchos, as she picked up three quick outs in the seventh to force extra innings. She did not allow the Gaels to get into scoring position and opened the inning in getting Shannon Low swinging. She later forced a fielder's choice and a lineout.

In the eighth, Stacy Cavazos started at second base per tournament rules and quickly moved to third base on a passed ball. Palomares then hit her league-leading ninth double of the season to left center for what proved to be the game-winning RBI.

To keep the Gaels out of reach, UCSB tallied two more runs starting with a sac fly from Wisdom and DeJanee Moore connected on a two-out RBI single to left field.

The Gaucho infield took care of the rest when St. Mary's took its final at bats. Pingree forced a pair of pop ups, while Moore got the Gaels lead runner out at the third on an unassisted play.

UCSB found the scoreboard first as the designated away team in the top of the first. With a pair of walks and a single, the team loaded the bases for Wisdom who drive in her first run of the day with a sacrifice sly to right field.

St. Mary's offense was in a rut early, as Pingree allowed just one hit through the first four innings and were only had two runners reach scoring position. The Gaels eventually scored in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single put through the left side and tied the game at 1-1.

In facing two outs, Brucelas regained the lead for the Gauchos on a single delivered to left field, sending MeShalon Moore home from third.

With two runners in scoring posititon, the Gaels knotted the score again in the bottom of the inning off a groundout to third.

As the game eventually rolled into the eighth, UCSB broke away with its three runs. The Gauchos are now 2-1 in extra inning games this year.

UCSB will be heading to Las Vegas next week for the UNLV Rebel Classic. The team will open the tournament on Friday with Eastern Kentucky at 3:45 p.m. and Houston at 6 p.m.