SFT: Gauchos clinch series win over Mustangs

UC Santa Barbara’s softball team topped Cal Poly 2-1 in the rubber match of the series on Sunday afternoon at Campus Diamond. The Gauchos improve their record to 23-16 and 3-3 in Big West play.

One day after pitching a complete game shutout, Shelby Wisdom went the distance again, this time only allowing one run on four hits and two walks. Wisdom evened up her record at 11-11 and lowered her team-high ERA to 3.20.

The Gauchos jumped out to an early lead in the first inning when Kristen Clark led off with an infield single to shortstop. She quickly stole second for her 23rd swipe of the season. A walk to Dejanee Moore and a sacrifice bunt by Wisdom put both runners in scoring position for UCSB. MeShalon Moore came up next and hit a deep fly ball to center to sacrifice home Clark to give the Gauchos a 1-0 advantage.

Cal Poly was quick to answer back, bringing home a run of their own in the top of the second. With two outs and a runner on third, Mariah Cochilo hit a sharp line drive through the left side to score Courtney Tyler who walked to lead off the inning.

Hits were few and far between on the day as both pitchers were effective. Cal Poly’s Sierra Hyland registered eight strikeouts and held the Gauchos hitless from the second inning until the bottom of the fifth when UCSB would break the tie.

The Mustangs threatened in the top of the fifth inning, but a stellar defensive play got the Gauchos out of the inning. With runners on the corners, Kathryn Pilpil fielded a ground ball at second base. She threw the runner out at first and proceeded to throw to shortstop to tag the advancing runner. Emily Brucelas caught the ball and on a heads up play, threw out the runner heading for home for a routine 4-3-6-2 double play.

Samantha Stark led off the bottom of the fifth for UCSB and was hit by a pitch. Jessica Reichner came in to pinch run and advance to third base after the Mustang’s third basemen overthrew second base after a groundball from Clark. Clark took off for second on the next pitch and stole successfully, however Reichner was thrown out trying to head home. Dejanee Moore wouldn’t let the inning go to waste as she singled to right field just over the second baseman’s outstretched arms to score Clark from second and take a 2-1 lead.

After Cal Poly reached on an error in the top of the sixth, Wisdom set down the final six Mustangs in order to seal the victory.

UCSB continues Big West action when they hit the road next weekend and take on Cal State Northridge with a doubleheader beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, Apr. 12.