Feb. 11, 2010
ST. GEORGE, Utah - UC Santa Barbara (1-0) had a wild start to the 2010 season on Thursday afternoon as it rallied back from a two run deficit at the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Northern Colorado (0-1) on the opening day of the Red Desert Classic being played this weekend in St. George, Utah.
Trailing by two runs at the bottom of the seventh inning with no outs and the bases loaded, freshman Kelly McDonald hit a walk-off homer in her Gaucho debut, catapulting UCSB to the 6-4 victory.
Redshirt freshman Keilani Jennings got things started in the seventh when she singled to left field. Junior Jessica Beristianos then earned a walk before Kelsey Anderson, who came in to pinch hit, singled to second, loading the bases and setting the table for McDonald's heroics.
Northern Colorado got out to a 2-0 lead at the top of the third inning when Kailee Vessey hit a two RBI single to right field with two outs.
UCSB was able to get on the scoreboard at the bottom of the fifth when sophomore transfer Jamie Adishian tripled to right field and then was sent home two outs later on an RBI single to third base off the bat of Beristianos.
The Bears scored again at the top of the sixth on a solo home run by Kelli Henderson, but UCSB responded with another run at the bottom of the same inning. McDonald and senior Priscilla Perez hit consecutive singles to put two runners on with one out. The runners each stole a base before Adishian walked, loading the bases. McDonald came home one out later on a wild pitch, but Northern Colorado pitcher Henderson calmed down and struck out the next Gaucho batter looking to hold onto the lead for one more inning.
At the top of the seventh, Northern Colorado stretched its lead to two with an RBI double from Erin Wilkinson. Unfortunately for the Bears, the Gauchos still had plenty of fight left and captured the win in the final inning.
In the circle for UCSB, sophomore Krista Cobb (1-0) got the win after tossing a complete game. She allowed four earned runs on eight hits, walked four and struck out eight.
In her first game back since redshirting the 2009 season, Jennings went 2-for-2 with a run and two walks. McDonald, meanwhile, went 2-for-4 with two runs, including her game-winning homer, and a stolen base. Senior Jessica Ziegler also went 2-for-4 with a stolen base.
"This win was a total team effort," head coach Brie Galicinao said. "People were really working their at-bats, we were switching players in and out and there were some big defensive plays, and obviously a big hit."
The Gauchos will continue action in St. George on Friday as the take-on Tulsa and BYU at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.
UCSB will open its 2010 home schedule on Wednesday, Feb. 17 against No. 6 UCLA at Campus Diamond. To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or click here.