March 16, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Kendra Singley went 3-for-4 with a three-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the tenth inning lifting UC Santa Barbara to a 5-2 victory over Radford University in game one, while Jennifer Davis homered and Ginger Gutierrez earned her second straight shutout victory as the Gauchos prevailed 1-0 in game two Thursday afternoon at Campus Diamond.
UCSB has now won five straight and improves to 14-9 overall with the sweep, while Radford falls to 16-12. The Gauchos remain unbeaten at home in 2006 at 4-0.
"Lately we have been relying solely on pitching and defense to win games," head coach Kristy Schroeder said. "It was good to see the heart of the order come through today and we got some timely hitting to compliment our pitching and came out on top."
The Gauchos took an early lead in game one in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, Santa Barbara loaded the bases on a walk to sophomore catcher Ericka Hansen and singles by junior shortstop Brittany Putich and Davis. Junior third baseman Shelby Hensler then hit a grounder back to the pitcher and Ramos was thrown out at the plate. When the Highlander catcher over threw the first baseman attempting to nab Hensler at first on the play, Putich scored for the 1-0 lead.
Radford responded with a run in the fourth when catcher Amanda Walling hit a solo homerun to left field.
Third baseman Shelby Rector's homer an inning later gave the Highlanders a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the fifth.
UCSB wasted no time knotting the score at 2-2 as freshman second baseman Christine Ramos doubled to left center with one out. After advancing to third on a fly out, Ramos scored on a single up the middle by Singley.
Davis, who made her team-high 15th start of the year, retired the side in order in both the sixth and seventh innings, but Bre Felix came on in relief of Highlander starter Ashley Taylor in the sixth and took care of the Gauchos as well, sending the game into extra innings.
After neither team could muster a legitimate scoring opportunity in the eighth or ninth innings, the Gauchos finally broke through in the bottom of the tenth. Hensler was placed on second base per NCAA rules to start the inning and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by freshman first baseman Jackie Conlin. With one out, junior left fielder Jessica Hejna drew a walk. Singley then stepped up to the plate and sent a towering fly ball over the right field fence delivering the 5-2 victory.
It was the junior center fielder's second homerun of the year and 13th of her career, which ranks sixth all-time at UCSB.
Davis picked up the win and improves to 9-6 on the year after allowing just two hits--both homeruns. She struck out ten and walked two in ten complete innings.
Felix took the loss for the Highlanders after giving up three runs on one hit--Singley's homer-- n 4.2 innings of relief.
After coming from behind to win the opener, the Gauchos never trailed in the nightcap.
Davis came through at the plate for Santa Barbara with a solo homerun to left field to lead off the third inning. It was the only run of the game.
RU's only real scoring opportunity came in the top of the fifth when they put runners at the corners with one out, but a pop out and a ground out by the next two batters closed out the inning.
Gutierrez held the Radford offense in check all afternoon. She allowed no runs on just four hits while striking out two and walking none. The Ventura, Calif. native improved to 4-2 on the year after tossing her second shutout in row and third overall this season.
Felix got the nod in game two for the Highlanders and pitched a gem but was forced to take the loss after her team failed to score. She allowed just two hits, struck out four and walked one. Last week's Big South Pitcher of the Week fell to 7-6 after Thursday's defeats.
The Gauchos return to action Saturday, March 25 when they host Loyola Marymount in a doubleheader at Campus Diamond. The first pitch is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.