Lost Chances Bite The Tigers As UCSB Steals It In The 10th

#15 Carly Mortensen - Photo by: Anthony Habib
#15 Carly Mortensen - Photo by: Anthony Habib

Stockton, Calif. - Lost opportunities and timely htting by the Gauchos proved to be too much for the Tigers to overcome on Saturday, Mar. 30 as Pacific fell 5-3 in 10 innings of action at Bill Simoni Field. For Pacific the loss snapped a five-game winning streak and dropped their record to 20-17 overall and 5-1 in the Big West. UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) won for the first time in five tries and moved to 21-13 on the year and 2-4 in conference play with the victory.

Two mistake pitches and a bevy of missed chances at the plate proved to be the difference on the day as the Tigers fell for just the third time at home in 2013 and the first time in Big West play.

Getting out to a quick start once again, the Tigers jumped on the Gauchos in the first inning for the third-straight game as Pacific notched a single run in its first trip to the plate. Beginning with a single from senior Megan Hom, the Tigers manufacted the opening run of the game as a sacrifice and a single by senior Nikki Armagost posted the tally. However, the Tigers would leave a pair of runners on in the inning as a theme began that would bite them in the end.

In the second, the Tigers once again notched a solo run as a pair of singles set up the score while an error allowed Pacific to plate its second run on the day. In each of the next two innings, the Tigers would threaten to break the game open, but in the end they would come up empty as Pacific left a pair of runners on without scoring a run.

The misses over the first four innings of play proved to be even more costly as the Gauchos took control of the game in the top of the fourth on one swing of the bat. After racing through the UCSB order over the first three innings, freshman Carly Mortensen found herself staring at trouble in the fourth as the Gauchos struck for their first hit of the game. With a walk putting a pair on, Mortensen made her one and only mistake of the afternoon as she left the first pitch to Shelby Wisdom over too much of the plate and the sophomore sent it flying over the center field wall for three runs.

Down for the first time in the weekend, the Tigers continued to battle at the plate, coming up with the bases loaded in the sixth, only to be shut down by Wisdom, who entered the game in relief to try to save the game. After being pushed away once, the Tigers again rallied, this time in the seventh inning as a leadoff single by Armagost put the tying run aboard. After the pinch runner was moved to second, senior Megan Allen came up with the hit the Tigers had desperately been looking for all game as she drove a ball back up the middle to score junior Gabby Goyette from second. The run tied the game at 3-3, but once again, Pacific could not parlay the momentum into the game-winning run as the Tigers left the bases loaded for the second-straight inning.

With the game even, the Tigers had their chances to come away with the late game victory, only to be rebuffed by Wisdom. Pacific's best chance came in the ninth inning when the Tigers put runners at the corners only to leave the game-winning run stranded at third.

Not being able to score late ended up being the Tigers' downfall in the game as the Gauchos finally broke through in the top of the 10th inning as UCSB again used the long ball to do their damage. After nine long innings of work, Mortensen gave way in the 10th to sophomore Dani Bonnet who appeared as if she was going to pick right up where the freshman had left off. However, with two outs in the 10th, the Tiger sophomore made a critical mistake as she grooved a 2-2 pitch to the Gauchos' Keilani Jennings who turned on the mistake and deposited it over the left field fence. In addition to the home run, the Tigers would bury themselves on a three-base error that led to the fifth and final run crossing the plate.

In all, the Tigers outhit the Gauchos 11-to-8 on the day, but in the end left 16 runners on base. Hom went 3-for-6 in the loss as she picked up singles in each of her first three trips to the plate.

In the circle, Bonnet (4-8) was charged with the loss as she went 1.0 inning while giving up two hits and two runs. For Mortensen, the freshman threw 9.0 innings while giving up six hits and three runs while picking up the no decision.

Wisdom (11-8) grabbed the win after picking up the blown save in the seventh inning. She threw 4.1 innings of relief while giving up two hits and one run while walking four. Adriana Collins started the game for the Gauchos and lasted just two innings as she gave up four hits and two runs while Alex Pingree went 3.2 innings while giving up five hits and no runs.

The Tigers will look to shake off the late inning loss on Saturday, April 6 as they hit the road for a doubleheader against Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The first game of the day is scheduled for 12:00 pm.