SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Arianna Palomares's game-winning home run highlighted Saturday's doubleheader that UCSB (22-24, 5-6) split with Long Beach State (25-17, 5-6) at Campus Diamond.
Samantha Stark had a big day at the plate, going 5-7 through the two games with three RBIs.
The series rubber match will be played tomorrow starting at 1 p.m. Tickets will be available at the main entrance or can be purchased online.
Senior experience led the Gauchos in their 3-2 win over Long Beach State during their first game of this weekend's series.
Go-to pitcher Ashley Ludlow threw a complete game in the circle and earned her eighth win of the season with two walks and six strikeouts tallied on the day. Offensively, fellow seniors Arianna Palomares (1-3, HR) and Samantha Stark (2-3) had the clutch hits to bring in all three runs for the home team.
With one run in, two runners in scoring position and no outs, Long Beach cleanup hitter Darian Tautalafua hit a hard ground ball to shortstop Melanie Menor who threw home in a heads up play to record the first out of the game. A ground out and pop up ended the first inning threat.
UCSB answered back in the bottom of the first with Stark's first hit of the game, a RBI single up the middle. Kristen Clark reached earlier in the inning with a walk and then stole second, her seventeenth on the season, which brought up Stark and the tying run at 1-1.
The next run of the game would not come until the fifth inning. With two outs and bases loaded, Long Beach player Haley Tobler hit a ground ball deep into the 5-6 hole. Shortstop Menor attempted to beat LT Torres to third, both players sliding to the bag. Torres was ruled safe allowing the second Long Beach run to score during the play.
Down 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Kristen Clark managed to find her way onto first again after 49er third baseman mishandled Clark's line drive. With a gusty wind blowing, Palomares hit a ball high into right field, traveling just left of the foul pole, and over the fence- a two-run go ahead homer, putting the Gauchos up 3-2.
Long Beach was retired 1-2-3 in the seventh inning, the Gauchos able to hold on and earn their fifth league win. After a ground out to second base to start the inning, Nichole Fry hit a deep fly ball in the right center gap, but Stacy Cavazos expunged any hope for a 49er rally after laying out and making the diving catch for the second out of the inning. Darian Tautalafua lined out directly to Kristen Clark in left field for the last out of the game.
In its second home game against Long Beach State on a windy Saturday afternoon, UCSB struggled on the defensive side, conceding at least four runs in three different innings on the way to a 14-6 loss.
The Gauchos were only out-hit 13-11 for the day and actually scored in more innings (four) than their opponents (three), but key fielding errors allowed the 49ers their initial ten runs.
Santa Barbara got out to a quick start on the offensive side with its first two batters getting on base. Senior catcher Samantha Stark then stepped up and blasted a double to left field, bringing Kristen Clark and Jessica Johnston home to make it 2-0.
Stark was UCSB's biggest offensive producer on the day, finishing 3-4 with two RBI.
Heading into the next inning, the Gauchos began to run into problems. With two outs, UCSB was one away from getting out of the second unscathed, but a fielding error led to the first run of the game for Long Beach.
From there, the 49ers piled on four more runs to make it 5-2 before UCSB was finally able to get out of the inning.
In the bottom of the third, the Gauchos cut the lead to just one run when junior right fielder Stacy Cavazos doubled to center field. The wind seemed to push the ball just inches out of the reach of the 49ers' Alley Perkins, allowing senior Melanie Menor and junior Emily Brucelas to score their only runs of the game and make it 5-4.
Cavazos finished with two RBI, hitting 2-3 for the day.
For the second time, Long Beach retaliated in a big way, aided once again by a UCSB fielding error. The 49ers put up five more runs in the top of the fourth, increasing their lead to 10-4.
Facing a large deficit, UCSB's attempted comeback fell short after it was only able to put up two runs over the final four innings.
Clark scored on a sac fly by freshman first baseman Sierra Altmeyer in the bottom of the fourth. Altmeyer picked up a second RBI in the bottom of the sixth as senior second baseman Arianna Palomares made it home, bringing the score to 10-6.
The 49er Haley Tobler sealed the win for her team in the seventh inning after hitting a grand slam to left field, making it 14-6.