HONOLULU, Hawai'i – Keilani Jennings became UC Santa Barbara's all-time home runs leader Saturday by knocking two homers in game one of the doubleheader at Hawai'i. The Gauchos dropped the first game 11-9 despite Jennings capturing history, and fell 8-0 in part two of the doubleheader.
UCSB drops to 29-23 overall with a 10-11 mark in Big West play, while Hawai'i moves to 40-11 overall and 17-4 in conference.
After struggling during Friday's game (0-4), Keilani Jennings wasted no time in the doubleheader to earn her first hit in Hawai'i. But not only did she make a hit, she also made history.
With two outs and a runner on second, Jennings took a 3-2 pitch for a ride over the centerfield wall for her 30th career home run, tying Tiffany Wright for the most of any Gaucho. And for icing on the cake, the goner also gave UCSB the early 2-0 lead.
Not satisfied with just tying the record, Jennings clubbed career number 31 to set herself apart from every other player to wear the Gaucho uniform in the top of sixth. With UCSB trailing 10-6, Jennings sent the first pitch sailing over right center to put the Gauchos within one.
Hawai'i would not allow another Gaucho run in the game, but by no means was this an easy win.
After the Gauchos went up 3-0 in the first, the Rainbow Wahine took their first lead of the game when they recorded two homers in the bottom of the second to gain the 4-3 edge.
Their lead would be short lived, though, as UCSB took it right back in the top of the third. Arianna Palomares hit a leadoff double to right center and advanced to third on the next at-bat. McKenzie Kane replaced the freshman as a pinch runner before Pilpil came up to bat. However, Kane wouldn't have to use her speed to cross home plate because Pilpil knocked a single through the left side to easily run her in. Pilpil and Jennings, who was previously hit by a pitch, would eventually be sent home after Hawai'i's pitcher committed a throwing error.
Now down 6-4, the Rainbow Wahine put up six unanswered runs to regain the lead and then some with a 10-4 score. Jennings' record-breaking home run in the top of the sixth narrowed the deficit down to one, but Hawai'i kept UCSB scoreless for the rest of the game to nab the 11-9 win.
Hawai'i clinched the series victory with an 8-0 win over the Gauchos. The Rainbow Wahine put together four home runs in the mercy rule decision.
Collins was credited with the loss, but tossed an efficient 2.1 innings. She came limited Hawai'i to just two hits and one earned run to go along with a strikeout.
In the top of the third, the Gauchos had an opportunity to get on the board. Sami Stark led off with a single hit up the middle and was replaced by McKenzie Kane as a pinch runner. Jessica Soria then slapped a single over to second, which also advanced Kane into scoring position. Arianna Palomares loaded the bases when she wisely took a walk. Now with a force out at any base, Shelby Wisdom hit a grounder over to the shortstop who quickly made the throw to beat Kane at the plate four number two. Keilani Jennings was the last out when she grounded out to the shortstop one at-bat later.
The Rainbow Wahine broke away from the Gauchos in the fourth inning when they put up four runs off two homers. The first was a solo shot hit to right center to put Hawai'i up 4-0. Andriana Collins came in to relieve Wisdom after the dinger and found immediately recorded an out when she forced Leisha Li`ili`i to fly out to right field. One batter later, though, Jazmine Zamora homered to left center to move her team's lead to 7-0. Collins was able to stop the bleeding by striking out the next batter to end the inning.
To solidify the five-inning finish, Hawai'i's Jessica Iwata sent a pitch over the center field wall for the walk off home run.
Despite the loss, UCSB grinded out a tough win on Friday and Keilani Jennings became the Gauchos' all-time homerun leader. The team will return home on Friday to host UC Riverside in their final series of the season. Tickets are available here.