TEMPE, Ariz.- Thanks to late game heroics, UCSB went a perfect 2-0 in the second day of the Kajikawa Classic, as it beat Ole Miss 3-2 and won a 10-9 shootout with UTEP that ended in eight innings.
Junior pitcher Ashley Ludlow threw a complete game in UC Santa Barbara's opening match of day three at the Kajikawa Classic. Allowing only two runs, one earned, in seven innings against the Ole Miss Rebels, as Santa Barbara homered its way to a 3-2 victory off a seventh inning 2-run blast by sophomore Emily Brucelas.
The Rebels got off to a quick start against Ludlow and the Gaucho infield as an early throwing error advanced a Rebel runner to third. With no outs in the bottom of the first, senior Allison Brown drove a sacrifice groundout to put up the first run of the match.
The bats of the Gauchos did not come alive until the top of the fourth. Still down 1-0, Arianna Palomares got things going as the junior drove a no out double down the right field line. After pinch runner Stacy Cavazos reached third due to a sac-fly by Shelby Wisdom, UCSB tied the ball game with a sac-fly by MeShalon Moore.
Ludlow continued to display a consistent performance in the circle as the junior did not allow an earned run until the bottom of the fifth inning.
Trailing 2-1 in the top of the seventh, UCSB needed a spark offensively. After a fly out and a strikeout to open the inning, the Gauchos faced its final out with no runners on base. Junior catcher Samantha Stark stepped up to the plate and delivered with a clutch two out double down the left field line. With Kayla Sisson pinch running for Stark, the Gauchos had more speed to run the bases. Sparks finally flew as sophomore Emily Brucelas drilled a stunning two out 2-run homer past left field to capture the eventual game winning runs.
Ludlow displayed dominance in the bottom of the seventh as the junior retired the side with two strikeouts and a groundout. With a quick one-two-three inning, UCSB captured its first win of the 2015 season in stunning fashion.
Behind a three-run sixth inning and Samantha Stark's game-winning single, UCSB came out on top 10-9 in an eight-inning shootout with UTEP.
Stark book the game in the books when she came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth with runners on the corners. To start the inning, the Gauchos put MeShalon Moore at second (tournament rule for extra innings) and was quickly sent over to third by her sister DeJanee with a bunt single. That brought up Stark – who drew a walk for an RBI in UCSB's sixth inning rally – for the game-clinching single to the shortstop.
Stark went a perfect 2-2 at the plate in setting team-highs with two RBI and three walks, while MeShalon Moore racked up the most hits in the game with three, including a triple.
In the circle, Lena Mayer was credited with the win after denying a Miner from reaching home despite having a runner on third in the top of the eighth. After an error moved Netana Kawehiokalani 60 feet away from the tiebreaker, the freshman forced a pair of fly outs and grounder to first base to help UCSB escape the half inning unscathed.
Alex Pingree started the game and clocked in seven innings of work and four strikeouts. The junior allowed the Miners 12 hits and nine runs (six earned).
The scoring got started early in the game with UTEP putting two on the board off a sacrifice fly and a fielding error. The Gauchos were able to respond quickly in a two-out rally. Shelby Wisdom got it started with a double belted to right center, while MeShalon Moore brought her home with a triple hit deep to centerfield. Naturally, Wisdom scored on the play, but Moore also found herself crossing home plate for the tying run thanks to an error by the centerfielder.
Two proved to be the magic numbers for both teams, as they each scored a pair of runs in both the first and second innings. With runners in scoring position, UTEP's Kawehiokalani connected on a single to send them both home. Keeping pace, UCSB had an RBI triple from Jenessa Jeppeson, while a throwing error would send her home two batters later.
Another UTEP error in the fourth gave the Gauchos the 5-4 lead, though it did not last long with the Miners registering two more runs the following inning.
UCSB would not get the lead back until its three-run sixth inning. The Gauchos first reached base with an error and soon loaded the bases with a Walk from Wisdom and a single from MeShalon Moore. With runners at every base and only one out, UTEP pitcher Kaitlin Fifield struggled through the next two batters in hitting DeJanee Moore and walking Stark, tying the game at 8-8.
After a change in the circle, UTEP still allowed another run, as Emily Brucelas patiently picked up a walk to give the Gauchos the 9-8 lead.
An RBI double from Kiki Pepi in the top of the seventh tied the game again and set the stage for Mayer's clutch eighth inning performance and Stark's game-winning single.