Gauchos and Titans Split Pair of One-Run Battles

Allison Taylor (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Allison Taylor (Photo by Tony Mastres)

FULLERTON, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara opened its Big West Conference series at Cal State Fullerton by splitting a pair of one-run affairs in front of a sold out crowd at Anderson Family Field on Friday evening. The Titans captured a 2-1 victory in game one before the Gauchos captured the nightcap with a 5-4 win. 

With the split, UCSB is now 16-24 on the season and 3-2 in Big West play. The Titans own a 15-18 overall record and are also 3-2 in league games. This weekend's series will be decided on Saturday with a noon rubber game. 

In the first game, Fullerton's Nicole Johnson hit an RBI double to drive home the tying run in the sixth and Eliza Crawford followed with the game-winning single as the Titans rallied from a one-run deficit to top UCSB, 2-1. 

Freshman pitcher Shelby Wisdom (10-11) carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, retiring 12 consecutive batters before Adriana Martinez reached on an infield single for Fullerton's first hit of the game. Johnson was up next and tied the game with a shot to the warning track in left center field.

Freshman Jenessa Jeppesen had given the Gauchos the early lead when she belted her third home run of the season over the center field fence to leadoff the third inning.

Fullerton's Desiree Ybarra (10-9) grabbed the win after limiting the Gauchos to two hits and walking just one batter. 

The Gauchos returned the favor in Friday's second game, coming from behind in the seventh inning to defeat the Titans, 5-4. Senior Allison Taylor hit a two-out, two-run shot to propel the Gauchos to the victory.

UCSB gained the early lead when Keilani Jennings hit a two-out RBI double to drive Taylor home in the top of the first inning. The advantage was short lived as Fullerton scored four unearned runs in the bottom of the same inning. UCSB committed three errors in the inning as it saw the Titans take the 4-1 lead.

The Gauchos closed the gap to one run in the third inning as a one-out error, walk, and single by Taylor loaded the bases. Jennings drew a four-pitch walk to make it 4-2 and Lainey DePompa singled to right field to score Kathryn Pilpil to make the score 4-3. 

In the seventh, Jessica Soria extended her hitting streak to a season-best 11 games with an infield single. Taylor then put UCSB ahead for good when she hit a 0-1 pitch over the wall for the 5-4 lead. 

The Titans got a runner on with a one-out walk in the bottom of the inning, but Wisdom served up a pair of strikeouts to clinch the Gaucho win.

Wisdom allowed just five hits and struck out six in 6.1 innings of relief work to earn the win and improve to 11-11 on the season. Taylor led the team going 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI off of her home run. Jennings also supplied two RBI and DeJanee Moore went 2-for-3 at the plate.