SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara won its Big West Conference opening series with a 3-1 win in Sunday afternoon's rubber game against Long Beach State at Campus Diamond.
The Gauchos improve to 15-23 on the season and 2-1 in league play. Long Beach State fell to 13-20 overall and 1-2 in the Big West.
Prior to starting the third game of the series, the teams had to tie up some loose ends because their second game had been halted due to rain on Saturday afternoon.
The 49ers had gotten out to a 2-0 lead before play was stopped in the sixth inning. On Saturday, Long Beach State capitalized on a pair of early Gaucho errors to put two runners on with two outs in the first inning. Nalani St. Germain hit a single up the middle to drive Cya Neal home and give Long Beach a 1-0 lead. A sacrifice fly by St. Germain drove pinch runner Alisha Rosen home in the fifth to push the 49er advantage to two runs.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Allison Taylor drew a walk and advanced to second and then third on a pair of wild pitches. The game was suspended with Keilani Jennings up to bat and a 2-2 count on the scoreboard. Jennings completed her at-bat by drawing a walk, but the runners were left stranded on the corners as pitcher Taylor Petty struck out the next batter to preserve the 49er lead.
In the seventh, Long Beach State tacked on another run when Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi drew a bases loaded walk.
Kathryn Pilpil, Lauren Boser and Jessica Soria were able to reach on a walk, error and hit by pitch, respectively, in the bottom of the inning, but the runners were left stranded as Petty ended the game with her eighth strikeout to seal the 3-0 win.
Petty (1-0) limited the Gauchos to just two hits and two walks on her way to the win. Andriana Collins (5-13) suffered the loss after allowing just one unearned run on two hits in 1.1 innings of work. Shelby Wisdom finished the game and allowed two runs, one earned, on 10 hits. She walked two and struck out three.
With the series tied at one game apiece, the teams began game three.
Petty was outstanding through the first four innings as she retired 12 batters in order. For her part, Wisdom kept the 49ers scoreless through the third inning, even digging herself out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the third.
Karli Sandavol led off in the fourth inning with a double hit to the fence in right center field and her pinch runner, Bree Stephan, was bunted over by St. Germain. Tupua-Tautalatasi followed with a fly ball hit to right field, sending the runner home and giving the 49ers a 1-0 edge.
The Gauchos were finally able to spoil Petty's perfect game in the fifth inning when Jennings led off with a single hit down the left field line. DePompa then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runner before Pilpil drew her fifth walk of the weekend.
Freshman Jenessa Jeppesen provided the heroics when she sent a blast over the left field fence, giving UCSB a 3-1 lead.
Wisdom kept the 49ers off of the base paths in the final two innings to seal the victory for the Gauchos. She improved to 10-10 on the season after limiting Long Beach to just one run on three hits. She walked one and struck out four.
UCSB will continue Big West action next week at Cal State Fullerton. The Gauchos will play a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 4 p.m. and then conclude the series at noon on Saturday.