Gauchos win, fall short of conference title

NORTHRIDGE  – UCSB finished its season by completing a series sweep of Cal State Northridge with a 4-1 victory at Matador Diamond on Saturday afternoon.

Heading into today’s series’ finales, UCSB and Long Beach State were both still in the hunt for the Big West Conference title and its accompanying automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The 49ers were able to capture the league crown with a series win over Pacific.

UCSB took second – matching the program’s best finish – for the third time and the second time under head coach Brie Galicinao. The Gauchos’ 15-6 conference mark is their best league record in program history. UCSB finished with a 30-28 overall record marking its fourth winning season with Galicinao at the helm. The team ends the season amidst a seven-game winning streak, its best of the year.

Freshman pitcher Shelby Wisdom, who pitched all 21 innings of this weekend’s series, got her third victory of the weekend after limiting the Matadors to one run on three hits. She walked one and struck out six. She ends the year with a 24-14 record.

At the plate, Jessica Soria and Lainey DePompa each went 2-for-4 with a run scored.

The Gauchos struck early as leadoff batter Jessica Soria opened the first inning with an infield single and then stole second base. The runner was able to advance to second when Kathryn Pilpil grounded out to the second baseman and one out later, Keilani Jennings hit her team-leading seventh home run of the season over the right field fence to put UCSB up, 2-0.

In the third, the Matadors cut the Gauchos’ lead in half when Mikayla Thielges drove Madeline Sale home from third base with an RBI single hit up the middle of the field.

The game remained tight until the sixth inning. Lainey DePompa hit a one-out single through the right side and with two outs, Lauren Boser reached on a Matador fielding error. Jenessa Jeppesen was able to load the bases with an infield single and Brooke Putich followed with an RBI single hit through the left side to push the UCSB lead to 3-1.

The Gauchos tacked on one more run in the seventh when DePompa reached on a two-out error by Northridge and Allison Taylor dashed home from second on the play.

Saturday’s game marked the last for Gaucho seniors Krista Cobb, Lainey DePompa, Jenny Liepman, Brooke Putich and Allison Taylor.