Honolulu, Hawai'i. – UC Santa Barbara's Shelby Wisdom outdueled Hawai'i's Kaia Parnaby in a nine-inning marathon to help give the Gauchos the 4-1 win in Honolulu on Friday.
After facing on of the most prolific lineups in the Big West, Wisdom held the Rainbow Wahine to just five hits and one earned run through nine innings, while fanning six batters.
It was Wisdom who kept the Gauchos competitive, but it would be her catcher, Sami Stark, who gave UCSB the win. The freshman entered her fourth at-bat hitless in the game, but, in the top of the ninth, she would find the greatest hit of her young career. With two outs and runners on first and second, Stark swung at the first pitch she saw and crushed it over the wall in left centerfield. The towering shot was her second dinger of the season and it gave UCSB the 4-1 game winning score.
UCSB moves to 29-21 overall and 10-9 in conference, while Hawai'i drops to 38-11 with a 15-4 Big West mark.
The Gauchos found the scoreboard first in the top of the third inning. Lauren Boser led off the inning with a bunt single hit perfectly down the first base line. She was moved into scoring position after Jessica Reichner took a pitch to her forearm, earning a free base. Arianna Palomares would bring Boser home with a single roped to left field, giving UCSB the 1-0 lead.
The Rainbow Wahine threatened to tie the game just a half inning later. Trying to put together a two-out rally, Hawai'i had runners on first and second, but both would find themselves in scoring position after Shelby Wisdom threw a wild pitch. Wisdom, however, wouldn't let them move any farther as she struck out Kayla Wartner to get the Gauchos out of the jam.
Hawai'i would put up the tying run in the fourth when Leisha Li'ili'i with her 11th homerun of the season.
After committing a fielding error a batter before, Kathryn Pilpil made one of the most crucial plays of the game to preserve the tie. With a runner on first, Keiki Carlos sharply hit a ball that seemed destined to drop in shallow right center field, but Pilpil made the leaping grab for the out. Already well on her way to second base, Wartner was caught off guard by the catch and ended up paying the price when she was doubled off when Pilpil's throw beat her to first.
The game was a pitcher's dual and Wisdom showed some of her best work in the clutch. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning and the game-winning run on first, the Rainbow Wahine looked to freshman pinch hitter Kristina Akiona. But Wisdom would catch Akiona looking at strike three to send the game into extra innings where the Gauchos would clinch the victory.
UCSB will play in a doubleheader tomorrow starting at 5pm PST. You can listen to all the action here.