Kathryn Pilpil’s walk-off, two-out double in the bottom of the eighth inning scored Brooke Putich from second base to give UC Santa Barbara a 3-2 win in the first game of its Big West Conference doubleheader with the University of Pacific on Saturday.
The Tigers came back to win the second game, 6-2, and remain one game ahead of the Gauchos in the league standings.
After game one, UCSB (22-26 overall, 7-4 in the Big West) was temporarily tied with Pacific (29-15 overall, 8-3 in the Big West) for first place, but the Tigers rallied for the win in game two to move back in front.
The Gauchos jumped in front in the first game, scoring a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Allison Taylor led off with a double to right center and was pinch ran for by McKenzie Kane. After moving to third on a sacrifice by Keilani Jennings, Kane scored on a single to right by Laineye DePompa.
Shelby Wisdom (17-13 after pitching both games), carried a shutout into the top of the seventh inning. With one out, the Tigers’ Megan Foglesong singled throgh the right side of the infield. Pinch hitter Gabby Goyette hit a slow roller to Pilpil, but the Gauchos’ second baseman mishandled the ball and both runners were safe. A strikeout of Megan Hom meant that Pacific was down to its last wout, but Alexa Rivera singled up the middle and Foglesong sprinted home with the tying run. Kelsey Rodriguez poppped out and Wisdom was out of the inning, but not before the score was tied, 1-1.
UCSB went down 1-2-3 in the seventh and the Tigers obliged by doing the same in the top of the eighth. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Putich walked and was moved to second on a sacrifice by Jessica Soria, setting the stage for Pilpil’s clutch RBI double to end the game.
In game two, the Gauchos jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Pilpil was drilled by a Tori Shepard pitch and after Taylor flied to right field for the second out, Jennings belted her fourth home run of the season, a shot that cleared the fence in right field to give her team a 2-0 lead.
Pacific rallied for single runs in the second and fourth to tie the score and then took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth when Taylor Petty doubled deep to left field, scoring Rodriguez who had walked to start the inning. Nicole Matson, who was intentionally walked, stopped at third on Petty’s double, but both runners were stranded when Amy Moore fouled out to DePompa and Foglesong struck out looking.
The score remained 3-2 into the top of the ninth with Jennings’ home run being Santa Barbara’s sole hit.
The Tigers struck for three insurance runs in the top of the ninth. With one gone, Matson and Petty strung together back-to-back singles putting runners on first and second. After Wisdom induced Moore into a flyball out to Soria in center, Foglesong doubled off of Putich’s glove in left field to score both runners, went to third on the throw home and scrambled home on a throwing error to give Pacific a 6-3 lead.
UCSB put two runners on with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but a base running mistake gave Pacific the second out of the inning and Jenessa Jeppesen lined out to third, ending the game.
The Gauchos and Tigers will meet in the final game of the three game series on Sunday in a single game at Campus Diamond. First pitch is slated for noon.