49ers Edge Gauchos 2-1 in Regular Season Finale
May 13, 2006
SaNTA BARBARA, Calif. - Jennifer Davis turned in another tremendous performance in the circle and hit her second home run of the series, but it was not enough as UC Santa Barbara fell 2-1 to Long Beach State in its final regular season contest of the year Saturday at Campus Diamond. Michelle Turner kept the Gaucho offense in check all day and earned her second victory of the series for the 49ers.
The Gauchos closed out their 2006 slate with a 24-20 overall record and a 8-10 mark in the Big West with the loss, while the 49ers improved to 30-20 (13-5 Big West).
After splitting the first two contests, Saturday's rubber game came down to a pitching duel between two of the premier hurlers in the conference. Turner surrendered just one run on five hits for LBSU, while Davis allowed one earned and one unearned run on a total of six hits for UCSB.
The pair carried shutouts into the sixth inning until the 49ers were able to strike first. Jonae Perez led off the inning with a single left field, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and then moved to third on a groundout. The next batter was Brooke LeSage who singled up the middle, plating Perez for the 1-0 lead.
The Gauchos came back in bottom of the sixth and looked poised for a big inning, but could not come up with the big play. With one out, junior center fielder Kendra Singly reached base on a perfect bunt down the third base line, junior shortstop Brittany Putich singled to center field and sophomore catcher Ericka Hansen walked to load the bases. Turner then got freshman first baseman Tiffany Wright to line out to the shortstop and Singley, who was caught too far off the bag, was tagged out at third on the play to end the inning.
An error by Davis in the top of the seventh led to what proved to be the winning run for Long Beach State. With Melanie McCauley on base, Davis made a wild throw to first on a liner from Kourtnee Gervasi and McCauley advanced to third. Breezy Goad followed with a ball hit sharply back to the shortstop, picking up McCauley for the 2-0 lead.
Davis responded at the plate, belting her third home run of the year with one out in the last of the seventh, but Turner retired the next two batters and the 49ers held on for the 2-1 victory.
Turner struck out four and walked two in the win. She improved to 25-9 on the year. Davis, who pitched every inning for the second consecutive weekend, fanned two and walked one. She fell to 18-15 with the loss.
UCSB was unable to get to Turner until the last two innings for the second time in the series and only managed two hits through the first five innings. The Gauchos left six runners on base and fell to 8-3 in games decided by one run.
"When we in the game until the very end," head coach Kristy Schroeder said. "We had one or two things that didn't go our way and we couldn't come through when we needed to. Today kind of epitomized all of our games in conference this year."
The Gauchos still have an outside shot at an at-large berth into the NCAA Regionals and will find out if they will play again this season when the selections are made Sunday, May 14.