SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UCSB (8-19) pulled off the sweep in its doubleheader with Charleston Southern (16-10) to jump back into the win column on Thursday at Campus Diamond.
The Gauchos not only ended a four-game skid, while the Buccaneers dropped two-straight after entering the twin bill winning seven of its past eight games.
Late game heroics from Shelby Wisdom and MeShalon Moore completed a comeback win in the bottom of the seventh to take the first game, while the Gauchos again had a late-minute push to topple Charleston Southern 6-3 in the second contest.
UCSB will continue its season next week at the Santa Clara Round Robin before returning home on March, 28th for its Big West opener with Cal State Fullerton.
In its first match against Charleston Southern, UC Santa Barbara prevailed in walk-off fashion. Tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, junior catcher MeShalon Moore drove home Arianna Palomares with a single to right center, giving the Gauchos a 3-2 victory over the Buccaneers.
Junior pitcher Alex Pingree got the nod for the Gauchos, and pitched a complete game en route to her fifth win of the season. The Monterey, Calif. native allowed six hits, struck out four batters, and only gave up two earned runs.
The Gaucho offense produced at the plate, recording 12 hits against Charleston Southern. Second baseman Arianna Palomares and catcher MeShalon Moore both batted 2 for 4 today at the plate. Senior Shelby Wisdom was once again stellar, producing two RBI's in the match.
The day's action started off slow for UCSB, as the Bucs produced two runs in the opening inning. With no outs and runners on second and third, the Buccaneers rushed to an early 2-0 lead with a two RBI single by Cheyenne Gandara.
For much of the match, the Gauchos could not bring home any of its base runners. On the flip side, Pingree completely shutdown Charleston Southern's offense, as the Buccaneers could not produce a single run after its two-run first inning.
Still down 2-0 at the bottom of the seventh, the Gauchos needed some late game magic to turn the ballgame around. Sophomore Kristen Clark got on base safely with a beautiful bunt down the third base line. After consecutive singles by Jaqueline Hinojosa and Arianna Palomares, UCSB had one out with the bases loaded. Up at the plate, Wisdom delivered the game tying runs with a single up the middle. The score tied, and still only one out, the Gauchos faced its opportunity to seal the deal with a walk-off win. Catcher MeShalon Moore did just that, as the junior struck a single to right center to give the Gauchos the 3-2 victory.
The Gauchos completed the doubleheader sweep with a 6-3 win anchored by a solid performance from Ashley Ludlow (2-12) in the circle.
The junior secured her second win of the season in a complete game effort when she allowed three earned runs and struck out a season-high five batters.
Just like in the first game, UCSB hit a flurry of hits with 11, as four Gauchos (Clark, MeShalon Moore, Palomares, Wisdom) collected two hits each. While Santa Barbara left 10 runners on base, the offense came through in key scenarios.
Entering the fifth inning, UCSB trailed Charleston Southern 3-1 and got a jumpstart with a leadoff triple from Wisdom who delivered it to the warning track in right center. MeShalon Moore kept Wisdom's stay at third a short one, as she flared a single to left field to send her home.
Later in the inning, the Gauchos tied up the score thanks to an error from third baseman Brooke Lein when an Emily Brucelas groundball slipped between her legs and into left field. Rienanne Thomas scored from second base on the play to make the score 3-3.
Ludlow preserved the tie with a three up, three down top of the sixth. Her offense took advantage in the bottom of the inning in a two-out rally. Palomares first put UCSB into scoring position with her league-leading 10th double of the season to move Hinojosa over to third base. Following Wisdom swinging at strike three, MeShalon Moore kept the Gauchos going with a single to shallow left field, sending both runners home. Adding some extra cushion, Stark stretched the Gauchos' lead to three runs with a single poked through the left side.
The Buccaneers threatened UCSB's lead in loading the bases with just one out and the heart of their lineup on deck. Ludlow remained cool under pressure and forced Cheyenne Gandara into the game ending 643 double play.