With the loss, UCSB falls to 28-22 on the season and 11-7 in Big West Conference games. The Gauchos are still in second place in the Big West standings, two games behind Long Beach State (13-5) and one game ahead of a three-way tie for third between Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge, all 10-8 in conference games.
Pacific improves to 24-32 overall and 6-12 in conference. Sunday’s win marked Tigers head coach Brian Kolze’s 500th career victory.
After two scoreless innings, the Tigers got on the board in the top of the third. With two outs, Nicole Matson singled to left field before stealing second base. Alyce Jorgenson followed with a single to left center and advanced to second on the throw as Matson scored to put Pacific ahead, 1-0. An error on the next play allowed Kellee Wilson to reach first and Jorgenson to come home for the unearned run. Lauren Weyman’s home run stretched the Tigers’ lead to 4-0.
In the top of the fourth, Pacific added one more run when Casey Goldsand singled in Mandy Hickman. The UCSB drought ended during the same inning when Tiffany Wright hit a solo homer over the left field fence to cut the Pacific lead to 5-1.
Unfortunately for the Gauchos, Pacific continued its onslaught in the top of the fifth. With one out, Weyman singled and then stole second. Karie Wilson singled to left field before Hickman homered to stretch the Pacific advantage to 8-1.
In the bottom of the same inning, UCSB was able to load the bases, but failed to bring anyone home. The sixth inning was a different story for the Gauchos, however. Wright led off with a single to right field and Tisha Duran, a senior from Ventura College and Buena High, followed with a walk. Ericka Hansen singled to left field, loading the bases. Freshman Jessica Beristianos came up to bat and hit a three-run double. Beristianos advanced to third during the same play on a Tigers error, so when Priscilla Perez hit a fly ball to center field during the next at-bat, the runner scored, cutting the deficit to 8-5.
In the bottom of the seventh, Christine Ramos led off with a double to center field and one out later was driven home by Wright, who doubled down the left field line. With two outs and one runner on, Hansen walked and Wright was able to move to third on a wild pitch. The Tigers earned the final out of the inning on a foul fly, leaving the Gauchos’ tying run stranded.
Wright led UCSB in the loss, going 3-for-4 with two runs, a home run, a double and two RBIs. Her homer Sunday was her 10th this season and the 21st of her career. She is just two shy of tying Tonya Dias’ UCSB career home run record of 23.
All three Gauchos pitchers saw time in the circle. MeLinda Matsumoto (8-10) took the loss after pitching the first three innings and giving up four runs, only one of which was earned, on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Tami Weston pitched 1.1 innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits with one walk. Lindsey Correa completed the game, tossing 2.2 innings with two hits, one walk and three strikeouts.
For the Tigers, Chelsea Engle (15-17) picked up the win and allowed five runs, four earned, on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts in five innings of work.
The Gauchos conclude the 2008 regular season on the road next weekend at Cal State Fullerton. The two teams will play a doubleheader at 4 p.m. Friday before completing the series with a noon Sunday game.
Lisa Skvarla is UCSB’s assistant media relations director.