SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Offense took center stage in the battle for the Big West Title, as UC Santa Barbara fell short in the 10-9 extra innings thriller to Long Beach State.
UCSB finishes the regular season with the best winning percentage in program history at 34-20 (.630). The team finished the year in second place at 14-7, while Long Beach State won the league with a 15-6 record, finishing 38-17 overall.
In the circle, Wisdom pitched all nine innings for Santa Barbara and struck out three batters.
The Gauchos stormed out of the gates with six runs in the first. Wisdom started the game by forcing the 49ers into a three up, three down inning. The junior pitcher also found early success on offense when she blasted a two-run homer over the right field wall to give UCSB a 3-0 lead.
Palomares initially got the Gauchos rolling with a one-run double to left center, sending Clark across home plate. Following Wisdom's home run, three players got on base before DeJanee Moore belted a two-run double to left center, increasing UCSB's lead to 5-0. Stacy Cavazos capped off the rally with a cleanly placed sacrifice bunt to the pitcher that sent Pilpil home.
UCSB held the commanding lead until the fourth inning when the 49ers caught fire and scored eight runs to jump ahead 9-6.
Unfazed by the comeback, the Gauchos tied the game at 9-9 behind a clutch triple from Pilpil.
Palomares led off the inning with an infield single to the shortstop, while Wisdom moved her into scoring position with a double driven down the left field line. After Long Beach State forced back-to-back groundouts, Pilpil delivered one of the biggest hits of the game with a triple she crushed to deep right center. Still trailing by one, Emily Brucelas gave UCSB the game-tying run with a blooper to shallow right field, easily sending Pilpil in for the score.
After two scoreless innings, Long Beach State was able to nab the game-winning run in the top of the ninth off a single to left field.
For four Gauchos, it was their final home game of their careers. Lauren Boser, Andriana Collins, Jessica Reichner, and Kathryn Pilpil were honored after the game, as they all helped UCSB complete one its most memorable seasons in recent years.