No. 16 UCLA prevails in back and forth battle with Gauchos

The UC Santa Barbara softball team put up a fight on Saturday as it took on No. 16 UCLA in a single game at Campus Diamond. The Gauchos battled back twice from multiple-run deficits before finally succumbing to the Bruins, 10-6.

With the loss, UCSB falls to 12-20 on the season. UCLA improves to 21-6 overall.

In the top of the first, freshman pitcher Shelby Wisdom was able to grab the first two outs quickly before she hit Andrea Harrison with a pitch. B.B. Bates followed with a home run hit over the center field fence to give UCLA an early 2-0 lead.

Jessica Soria got the Gauchos out to a good start in the bottom of the same inning when she hit a single to third base and then stole second. McKenzie Kane followed with a base hit of her own, which extended her current hitting streak to a career-best 10 games and put runners on the corners. Kane was caught stealing and an ensuing ground out brought the Gauchos to two outs. It looked like the Bruins were going to get out of the inning unscathed when Keilani Jennings hit a soft grounder to the pitcher, but she botched the pick-up and then the second baseman overthrew to first allowing Jennings to reach and Soria to come home.

Kathryn Pilpil then drew the first of her two walks during the game before Lainey DePompa hit a single through the right side, sending Jennings dashing home for the game-tying run.

In the third, Stephany LaRosa was hit by a pitch with one out and then driven home by Harrison’s double hit to the fence in center field, regaining the lead for the Bruins.

In the fifth, following a leadoff double by La Rosa, Harrison hit a single to right field and then moved to second on the throw. Andriana Collins came in to relieve Wisdom at that point, but Bates quickly loaded the bases with an infield single. The Gauchos were able to grab the first out of the inning at home plate when Dani Yudin hit into a fielder’s choice, but Kellie Fox followed with a grounder hit deep down the right field line. Two runs came home on the play as UCLA went up, 5-2.

Down, but not out, the Gauchos came roaring back in the bottom of the same inning. With two outs and Kane at second base, Jennings hit an RBI double to right field. Pilpil then drove Jennings home with a double of her own hit to left center field. The Bruins made a pitching change, but that didn’t calm down the UCSB rally as DePompa blasted her fourth home run of the season over the center field fence to grab a 6-5 lead for the Gauchos.

UCLA countered in the sixth when they loaded the bases on a double by Talee Snow, a single from Katie Schroeder, and a Gaucho error. One out later, Bates hit a single off of the shin of Collins to send Snow home and once again tie the game.

Yudin proved to be the hero for the Bruins during the next at-bat when she singled to center field, sending Schroeder home for what would prove to be the game-winning run. DeJanee Moore was unable to field Soria’s throw from center field during the play and two more unearned runs came home. The Bruins tacked on one more run off of an RBI single by Ally Carda to gain a 10-6 advantage, which it held onto for the win.

Collins (5-11) suffered the loss after tossing 1.2 innings and allowing five runs, only two of which were earned, on six hits. Wisdom tossed 5.1 innings and allowed five runs on seven hits. She walked three and struck out two.

Soria, Kane and DePompa all had two hits in the loss. DePompa was a standout as she went 2-for-3 with her homer and three RBI.

UCSB will head to Sacramento State on Monday for a doubleheader against the Hornets. The first game of the twin bill is scheduled for a 1:30 pm first pitch.

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