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Duran Has a Record-Breaking Weekend

Senior breaks UCSB's single-season home run record in Gauchos' 8-7 win. A day earlier, she set an RBI record.

UCSB’s softball team bounced back from a pair of losses Saturday and defeated No. 14 Long Beach State, 8-7, in a Big West Conference series closer Sunday at Campus Diamond. Senior Tisha Duran broke the school’s single-season home run record after hitting her 13th of the season in the second inning.

With Sunday’s loss, Long Beach State, which had captured the lead in the Big West standings Saturday after sweeping a doubleheader from the Gauchos, fell to 33-12 overall and 9-3 in league play. The Gauchos improved to 25-20 overall and 8-4 in conference.

Long Beach’s Jennifer Griffin opened the second inning Sunday with a solo home run over the left center field fence to put the 49ers ahead, 1-0.

Duran responded with her record-breaking homer in the bottom of the same inning, tying the game, 1-1. The former Ventura College and Buena High star who also set a new Gauchos single-season RBI record Saturday, broke Lindsey Herrin’s 2005 record of 12 home runs in a season with her 13.

In the bottom of the third inning, senior Nicole Churnock led off with a double to left center field and Christine Ramos’ bunt single on the next play put a pair of runners on the corners. Ramos then stole second before Jessica Ziegler‘s sacrifice fly to left field brought home Churnock and gave the Gauchos their first lead of the weekend. Junior Tiffany Wright singled during the next at-bat, driving home Ramos and stretching the lead to 3-1.

In the bottom of the fourth, Long Beach State hit three consecutive singles to load the bases. A fourth single to third base by Lacy Tyler brought Brooke LeSage home to cut the Gauchos lead to 3-2.

Bridgette Pagano followed with a fielder’s choice and Griffin was called out while trying to score. The Gauchos were ambitious and tried to beat Pagano to first, but an overthrow by the catcher gave Danielle Linke ample time to come home, again tying the game, 3-3.

Franciska Morlet hit an RBI single through the right side to send Tyler home and regaining the lead for the 49ers. Jessica Beaver followed with a single of her own, allowing Pagano to score. A fielder’s choice during the next play ended the inning and the Gauchos trailed, 5-3.

The lengthy inning stretched on in the bottom half as senior Ericka Hansen led off with a single straight up the middle. One out later, sophomore Priscilla Perez walked. Churnock grounded out during the ensuing at-bat, but moved both base runners in the process, putting runners in scoring position with two outs.

The Gauchos tied the game, 5-5, after Long Beach’s left fielder failed to catch a pop fly hit by Ramos that allowed her to reach first and both Hansen and pinch runner Jackie Conlin to score. Still with two outs, Ziegler took a pitch to the helmet before Wright doubled to left field, bringing two more runs home. Wright advanced to third on a throwing error on the same play and scored on Duran’s RBI single to shortstop. The inning ended with UCSB leading, 8-5.

The 49ers would not go down easily and with one runner on and one out in the top of the fifth, Linke hit a two-run homer over the center field fence, putting Long Beach within one at 8-7. The Gauchos replaced pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto with Tami Weston and, despite allowing two more base hits in the inning, they escaped without further damage.

Wright led the Gauchos at the plate, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run. Duran was also 2-for-3 with her home run and two RBIs.

In the circle, Matsumoto (7-8) captured the win after tossing 4.1 innings and allowing seven earned runs on nine hits with no walks and no strikeouts. Weston picked up her first career save after pitching the final 2.2 innings and allowing no runs on two hits. The junior from Ventura High walked just one and struck out two batters.

Pagano (12-8) took the loss for the 49ers after pitching the final three innings and allowing five runs (none of which were earned) on three hits. She walked one and struck out four. Brooke Turner pitched the first three innings and allowed three earned runs on four hits with one strikeout.

The Gauchos travel to UC Davis this weekend for a three-game series Saturday and Sunday.

Lisa Skvarla is UCSBs assistant media relations director.

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