UC Santa Barbara catcher Sami Stark’s three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning powered the visiting Gauchos to a 4-1 win over the University of Hawaii softball team in tonight’s opener of a three-game Big West series.
Stark’s second home run of the season broke a 1-1 tie and sent the No. 19/23 Rainbow Wahine to their third consecutive loss.
UH pitcher Kaia Parnaby struck out 14 and walked none in her return to action after suffering a broken nose last week. UCSB scratched out seven singles before Stark’s blast gave the Gauchos the lead in the ninth.
UCSB sophomore Shelby Wisdom struck out six and earned the complete-game victory.
UH (38-11, 15-4 Big West) closes the home schedule with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 2 p.m. UH’s five seniors will be honored after the series finale.
The start of Friday’s opener was first delayed by rain, then again when the stadium lights behind home plate went out.
UCSB (29-21, 10-9) took the lead in the third inning on Arianna Palomares’ two-out RBI single and UH answered with Leisha Li’ili’i’s solo home run in the fourth.
Parnaby and Wisdom preserved the tie into extra innings until two Gauchos reached on infield singles in the ninth and Stark lined a home run to left field.