TUCSON, Ariz. – Arizona's five-run first inning was too much for UC Santa Barbara to overcome as they fell to the Wildcats 11-2 on Saturday. UCSB falls to 21-14, while the Arizona improves its record to 25-13.
Sami Stark led the Gauchos with two hits, both singles, off her two at-bats.
Despite the convincing loss, UCSB secured the first lead of the game in the top of the first inning.
Jessica Soria led off with a single hit through the left side. She advanced to second base thanks to a sacrifice bunt laid down by Arianna Palomares. Soria remained at second until Shelby Wisdom hit a RBI single up the middle to give UCSB the 1-0 advantage.
That lead would be short lived as the Wildcats lit up the scoreboard in the bottom of the first with five runs.
Andriana Collins, who started in the circle for the Gauchos, gave up all five of those runs including a three-run homerun from Wildcat freshman Lauren Young. After allowing the homer, Collins was pulled out and Alex Pingree was dealt the task of getting UCSB out of the nightmare inning.
The freshman delivered as she recorded the final two outs, striking out the last batter with two Arizona runners on base.
Jessica Reichner tried to help her team make up lost ground by crushing a moon shot over the left field wall to lead off the second inning. The solo shot was Reichner's first of the season and made the score 5-2.
In the fifth inning, the score was 9-2 Arizona and the Gauchos were just one out away from guaranteeing a seven inning game, but they would never get that out. Lauren Young, who already hit a three-run jack in the first inning, sealed the mercy rule victory for the Wildcats with another towering three-run homer over left field.
Arizona scored at least one run in every inning to force the mercy rule finish and the 12-2 final score.
UCSB used all three of its pitchers during the game. Shelby Wisdom made her first appearance in the circle at the top of the fourth inning and fanned a Wildcat for her first out.