April 19, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - No. 14 Long Beach State captured the lead in the Big West Conference standings on Saturday after posting a pair of wins over UC Santa Barbara at Campus Diamond. The two teams were tied for the top spot heading into the conference series with their 7-2 records. The 49ers took game one by way of an 8-6 score before using a strong seventh inning to overpower the Gauchos, 5-2 in the latter half of the twin bill.
With the losses, UCSB fell to 24-20 on the season and 7-4 in Big West games. After jumping out to a 6-0 start in conference, the Gauchos have lost four of their last five Big West contests. Long Beach State improves to 33-11 overall and 9-2 in the BWC.
The day did have its high points for the Gauchos, most notably senior Tisha Duran's two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning during game one. The home run brought Duran's season total to 12, which ties the Gaucho single season home run record set by Lindsey Herrin in 2005. The two RBI during the same play helped Duran reach 46 total, which marks a new single season RBI record, surpassing the 44 hit by Jami Trinidad in 2004.
Long Beach opened the first game with a leadoff walk by Jessica Beaver and Jonae Perez quickly bunted the runner over to second. A home run over the left field fence by Brooke LeSage during the next at-bat quickly put the 49ers on the board, 2-0. The Gauchos quickly made a pitching change from Lindsey Correa to MeLinda Matsumoto, but that did not stop the Long Beach rally as Jennifer Griffin posted a home run to right field during the next play. Matsumoto earned two straight outs to end the inning, but the Gauchos trailed 3-0.
Lacy Tyler opened the fourth with a leadoff double to center field. A bunt by Ashley Levine should have been a mere sacrifice, but bad defensive positioning on the part of the Gauchos allowed her to reach, putting two runners on with no outs. A sac bunt by Ashley Weber pushed both runners over one base before a ground out to second base by Brianna Goad brought home Tyler and an error by the Gauchos allowed Levine to score an unearned run, stretching the lead to 5-0.
With one out in the bottom of the same inning, sophomore Jessica Ziegler singled to left field before the next batter struck out swinging. Duran was next up to bat and she pounded one over the right field fence to put the Gauchos on the board, 5-2. Freshman Jessica Beristianos doubled during the ensuing at-bat, but a foul ball caught by the 49er catcher ended the inning with the Gauchos trailing by three.
Long Beach State's Griffin hit an RBI single in the top of the fifth and a fielder's choice by Levine helped Griffin score, stretching the 49er lead to 7-2 in the top of the fifth. UCSB responded at the bottom of the same inning when junior Christine Ramos hit a fielder's choice sending Mary Episcopo home for a Gaucho run.
The Gaucho offense continued to fight back in the sixth inning when junior Tiffany Wright led-off with a home run over the left field fence. Duran then walked before a fielder's choice followed by a series of 49er errors allowed Beristianos to reach third and Duran to come home, putting the Gauchos within one at 7-6.
Brooke LeSage was hit by a pitch at the top of the seventh and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. With one out, Danielle Linke reached on a Gaucho throwing error to put two runners on. A single from Tyler sent LeSage home before UCSB was able to take the next two batters down in order.
Senior Nicole Churnock reached on an error at the bottom of the seventh and one out later she attempted to reach third when Ziegler singled to right field. The 49ers beat her to third base earning the second out and a foul fly caught by the left fielder ended the game with the 8-6 Long Beach State victory.
Brooke Turner picked up the win after tossing a complete game, allowing six runs, three earned, on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts. She improves to 21-4 on the season.
In the circle, Correa took the loss after giving up two earned runs on one hit with a walk in the first inning. She falls to 10-7 on the year. Matsumoto pitched 6.2 innings, allowing six runs, five earned, on 10 hits with no walks and no strikeouts.
Ziegler led the Gauchos going 2-for-4 with a run while Duran was 1-for-2 with two RBI, a walk, and two runs in the loss.
The teams, which rank one and two defensively in the Big West, combined for seven total errors in the contest. Long Beach committed four and the Gauchos had three.
The second game of the day was all about the seventh inning for both teams. The 49ers loaded the bases in the top of the second and left two on-base in the fifth, but it was not until the seventh inning that they were able to get a run across.
Pitcher Bridgette Pagano singled to second base to open the seventh inning, but the Gauchos got her out during a fielder's choice by Brianna Goad during the next play. A home run by Beaver over the center field fence put the 49ers on the board, 2-0. A pitch hit Jonae Perez during the ensuing at-bat and a double from LeSage put two runners on.
Griffin followed suit with a double to right field bringing both runners across home plate. A single by Linke followed before pitcher Tami Weston struck out Tyler looking. A walk followed before Long Beach's Pagano came up for her second at-bat of the inning. Pagano once again singled sending Griffin home and stretching the lead to 5-0. The following batter struck out swinging, finally putting an end to the Long Beach onslaught.
After Duran grounded out to the shortstop at the top of the order, Beristianos reached after being hit by a pitch. A single up the middle by Ericka Hansen followed by an error in center field allowed the runner to cross home plate, finally putting the Gauchos on the board. Episcopo grounded out sending Hansen home, but it would be the final run of the game as UCSB fell, 5-2.
Pagano picked up the complete game victory after allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits with one walk and two strikeouts. She improves to 12-7 on the year. Weston takes the loss after allowing five runs on nine hits. She walked four and had six strikeouts. She falls to 8-5 on the season.
Hansen led the Gauchos with a 2-for-2 showing with a run and a walk. Sophomore Priscilla Perez was 2-for-3 at the plate for UCSB.
The Gauchos will conclude the three-game series with Long Beach State on Sunday at noon at Campus Diamond.