Wisdom’s no-no highlights doubleheader sweep, Gauchos keep title hopes alive

Freshman pitcher Shelby Wisdom’s first career no-no highlighted UC Santa Barbara’s doubleheader sweep of Cal State Northridge on Friday afternoon at Matador Diamond. The Gauchos posted two shutout wins to stay in the hunt for their first Big West Conference title.

Wisdom tossed a complete game no-hitter in game one, which the Gauchos won, 2-0, and stretched her streak to 21 consecutive shutout innings with an 8-0 victory in game two. She did not allow a walk while striking out nine Northridge batters in the first game. In game two, she allowed five hits and one walk while fanning five.

The performances brought her season strikeout total to 241, which surpasses Jennifer Davis’ single season school record (234). The no-hitter was the Gauchos’ first since Krista Cobb tossed a no-no on April 16, 2011 against UC Riverside.

The two wins on Friday bring the Gauchos’ season record to 29-28, marking the first time this season that they have been at or above .500. UCSB is now 14-6 in league, marking its most Big West wins since 2004 when the Gauchos finished with a 14-7 record. The Gauchos have won their last six games, tying their longest win streak of the season.

Northridge falls to 10-41 overall and 5-15 in conference.

The sweep keeps the Gauchos’ Big West title and NCAA Tournament automatic berth hopes alive. UCSB will need to complete the series sweep against Northridge tomorrow; Long Beach State (15-5 Big West) must lose its series finale against Pacific (13-7 Big West); and UC Davis (13-6 Big West) must drop one of its two remaining games against Fullerton in order for the Gauchos to claim the tournament berth.

In game one, UCSB got runners on base in each of the first four innings, but Northridge pitcher Mia Pagano held the Gauchos off.

For her part, Wisdom kept the base paths clear through the first three innings, retiring nine-straight batters to open the game. The first Matador to get on base was as a result of Wisdom’s own throwing error in the fourth inning. She promptly retired the next three batters and then struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth to maintain her shutout.

Kathryn Pilpil tallied her second hit of the game with a leadoff double to left center field in the top of the sixth, she was moved to third base by a sacrifice bunt from Allison Taylor, but the Gauchos couldn’t get the runner home and the game remained scoreless.

Another UCSB error in the bottom of the sixth gave Northridge its second base runner of the game. A sac bunt from Tiffini Lucero moved Adrienne Martinez and a sacrifice fly by Madeline Sale got her to third, but a ground out ended the inning.

Lauren Boser got the ball rolling on the Gauchos’ seventh-inning rally when she led off with a single hit to left field. One out later, her pinch runner, DeJanee Moore, stole second. After the second out of the inning, Jessica Soria provided the offensive heroics with an RBI single hit to left field. Pilpil then drove Soria home with her third hit of the game to put the Gauchos up, 2-0.

The two runs were all UCSB would need as they took down the final three Matador batters in order to seal the win.

In the second game of the twin bill, neither team had trouble getting on base, but after three innings and nine stranded runners, the game was still deadlocked in a 0-0 tie.

The Gauchos were able to break through in the fourth inning. Lainey DePompa led off with a base hit to left field and Moore, who once again came in to pinch run, was bunted over to second by Wisdom. Boser followed with an infield single, which put runners on the corners with one out. Jenessa Jeppesen’s infield single loaded the bases, setting the table for Brooke Putich.

The senior benefitted from a fielding error at first base and Moore came home on the play. The Matador’s were able to earn the second out when Soria hit into a fielder’s choice, but it was only a momentary setback.

Pilpil hit a two-RBI single to second base and Taylor followed with a two-RBI single to left field. When the damage was done, UCSB had a 5-0 lead.

In the seventh, DePompa once again led off with a base hit, this time a bunt to the pitcher. During the next at-bat, Wisdom swung at a 0-1 pitch, sending the ball over the left center field fence for her fifth home run of the season. The two-run shot gave the Gauchos the 7-0 advantage.

With the wins, Wisdom improves to 23-14 on the season. She has pitched three straight shutouts, including last Sunday’s win over Cal Poly.

She also led the Gauchos at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a home run, two RBI and two sacrifice bunts. Pilpil went 5-for-8, including a 3-for-3 performance in game one.

UCSB wraps up the series against Cal State Northridge, and its regular season, on Saturday at Matador Diamond. First pitch is slated for noon.