SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Despite trailing Santa Clara (7-23) by seven runs heading into the bottom of the fifth, UCSB (17-14) managed to maintain its perfect weekend thanks to an 8-0 spurt in the fifth and sixth innings. The Gauchos went on to defeat the Broncos 9-8 after nine hard-fought innings, giving them an undefeated 5-0 mark at the Gaucho Classic II.
Strong performances from freshmen Alyssa Diaz and Kayla Krantz led the way on offense. Diaz tallied a team-high three RBI for the third time this season, while Krantz put up a career-best three hits on four at bats.
Coming off four consecutive wins, UCSB found itself in a tough spot after the Broncos put up runs in four of the first five innings to take a 7-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth. That's when the Gauchos took over, as they tallied seven hits and eight runs in the fifth and the sixth to take their first lead, 8-7.
UCSB's first run came after senior Kristen Clark grounded out to the shortstop, giving Krantz enough time to make it home from third. After a single from sophomore Melanie Menor and a walk from sophomore Sierra Altmeyer loaded the bases, Diaz stepped up to deliver a big three-run double to left center, cutting the lead to 7-4.
That would remain the score until the bottom of the sixth, when a Santa Clara fielding error led to two more runs by senior Stacy Cavazos and Krantz. Senior Jacqueline Hinojosa would tie things up at 7-7, scoring on a pass ball, before Clark put UCSB up one off a sac fly from junior Jessica Johnston.
Needing to shutout Santa Clara in the top of the seventh to end the game, the Gauchos conceded a pair of doubles early on, eventually sending it into extra innings tied at 8-8. Following a scoreless eighth, UCSB was able to put the game to bed in the bottom of the ninth, as Johnston scored the winning run on a single from Whitney Pemberton.
The Gauchos finished with 12 hits – the most they had all weekend – compared to 11 for Santa Clara. Complementing Krantz' team-high three RBIs were Cavazos and Hinojosa, who both went 2-4. Johnston, Krantz and Hinojosa all had two runs to lead the way.
Sophomore pitcher Veronika Gulvin (11-6) improved her record for the weekend to 3-0. Her six strikeouts were her third-highest mark of the season.
UCSB is now 8-2 at home this season and 4-0 in extra innings games. The nine runs were tied for their third-highest mark, while the seven-run deficit made it the largest comeback of the year.
The Gauchos will head back on the road for midweek games against Sacramento State (Tuesday) and Cal (Wednesday) before opening up their conference schedule at Cal Poly on Saturday, April 1.