SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Trailing 4-3 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, it looked as though UC Santa Barbra was going to have to settle for a split during Saturday afternoon's doubleheader against Cal Poly, but junior Keilani Jennings' solo home run tied the game and Jenessa Jeppesen's fifth hit of the day drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth as the Gauchos captured the sweep.
UCSB won game one, 4-1, before posting the 5-4 victory in game two. The three-game Big West Conference series will conclude on Sunday, May 5 at noon at Campus Diamond. The pairing with the Mustangs will mark the Gauchos' final home game of the 2012 season.
With the wins, UCSB improves to 26-28 on the season and 11-6 in Big West play. Cal Poly falls to 12-33 overall and 4-13 in league.
In the top of the third inning of game one, the Mustangs' leadoff batter, Cami Brown, swung at the first pitch and sent the ball to deep left field for a double. She was able to move to third when Nora Sobczak grounded out second base one out later. Celina Lafrades' ground ball hit through the right side scored Brown and gave Cal Poly the early edge.
The lead proved to be short lived. Jeppesen led off for the Gauchos in the bottom of the same inning and sent the first pitch over the center field fence to tie the game.
In the fourth, Jennings hit a single and was bunted over to second by Lainey DePompa. Due to an error by the Mustang catcher on the play, DePompa reached first safely and Jennings moved to third. Shelby Wisdom followed with an RBI single hit to left field, giving UCSB its first lead of the day. Lauren Boser bunted both runners over a base and one out later, McKenzie Kane hit an infield RBI single to put the Gauchos ahead, 3-1.
UCSB tacked on one more run in the sixth when Jessica Soria hit a bases-loaded single to right field to score Boser.
Wisdom (20-14) got the win in the circle after tossing the complete game. She allowed just one run on four hits. She walked one batter and struck out seven.
Game two was more of a seesaw battle. This time the Gauchos took the initial lead in the bottom of the second. DePompa led off with a base hit up the middle of the field and a beautiful sacrifice bunt by Wisdom sent the senior to second. She moved to third when Boser grounded out to the pitcher and came home when Jeppesen hit a single to center field.
The Mustangs quickly tied the game with Madi Vogelsang's solo homer in the top of the fourth inning.
In the bottom of the same inning, Wisdom led off with a single hit to right field. Boser laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Wisdom and Jeppesen's single hit to right field gave pinch runner DeJanee Moore time to move to third base. Soria drove in her second run of the day with a base hit to left field, putting UCSB ahead, 2-1.
The Mustangs responded with another run in the fifth when Whitley Gerhart drove Sobczak home from second base with a base hit to center field. Cal Poly was able to load the bases with two outs, but Wisdom got out of the jam to keep the score deadlocked at 3-3.
In the sixth, Brown drew a walk to lead off for the Mustangs, prompting a Gaucho pitching change. Andriana Collins came in to relieve Wisdom and got the first out on a sacrifice bunt by Kim Westlund. Sobczak followed with a base hit to center. One out later, Gerhart drove Brown home and put Cal Poly up, 4-3, with a single to right field.
Trailing by one with two outs in the seventh, Jennings came through with the late-game heroics as she hit her sixth home run of the season to tie the game and force extra innings.
Westlund and Sobczak hit consecutive one-out singles in the eighth, but Collins pitched her way out of trouble and kept the Gauchos in the game.
In the bottom of the eighth, Wisdom hit a double to right center field and was able to move to third on the throw. During the next at-bat, Boser was nailed on the back of her helmet with a pitch, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Jeppesen followed by sending a 3-2 pitch to the gap in shallow left center field, driving Wisdom home for the game-winning run.
Collins captured the win to improve on 6-14 season after tossing three innings of shutout relief. She allowed four hits while striking out three.
At the plate, Jeppesen led the Gauchos during the twin bill going 5-for-8 with a home run and three RBI. Soria went 4-for-8 on the day with two RBI and a run. Every Gaucho in the lineup recorded at least one hit across the two games.