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UCSB sweeps UH in softball doubleheader

    Hawaii's Lindsey Willmon (18) rounds third on her way home in the second inning of the UC Santa Barbara vs. Hawaii softball game at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

UC Santa Barbara rallied for five runs in the top of the sixth inning and held off Hawaii in a 5-3 win in  the opening game of a Big West softball doubleheader on Saturday at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

The Gauchos then claimed the series win with a 5-1 victory in the finale, going ahead on MeShalon Moore’s grand slam in the fifth inning.

UCSB’s sweep left UH at 27-21 overall and 8-7 in Big West play. The Rainbow Wahine trail Big West leader CSUN by  5 1/2 games with six to play.

UH led 2-0 in the first game before UCSB’s Shelby Wisdom led off the sixth with a home run and the Gauchos took advantage of two Rainbow Wahine errors and a wild pitch in the inning and snapped an eight-game losing streak.

The Wahine took the lead when Ulu Matagiese’s double scored Lindsey Willmon from second in the bottom of the second. Kayla Wartner led off the third with her ninth home run of the season to give UH a 2-0 lead.

UCSB left seven runners on base in the first five innings before breaking through against UH starter Kanani Aina Cabrales (12-14) in the sixth.

Samantha Stark followed Wisdom’s homer with a double to right field, advanced on DeJanee Moore’s single and scored the tying run when Jessica Johnston reached base on an error. Moore then scored on a wild pitch to push UCSB in front. Jaqueline Hinojosa singled in another run and MeShalon Moore’s sacrifice fly gave the Gauchos a 5-2 lead.

The bottom of the sixth was delayed by a lengthy discussion between UH coach Bob Coolen and the umpiring crew. In the end, UCSB’s Lena Mayer stranded two UH runners on base and the Gauchos took a three-run lead into the seventh.

Leisha Li’ili’i homered with two out in the bottom of the seventh, but Mayer got Willmon to ground out to shortstop to end the game.

UH edged ahead again in the second game on Heather Morales’ RBI single to score Keiki Carlos in the bottom of the third.

After two quick outs in the top of the fifth, UCSB loaded the bases on two infield singles and a walk. MeShalon Moore then homered to left field to give the Gauchos a 4-1 lead. Moore added an RBI single in the seventh.

UCSB’s Ashley Ludlow struck out four and walked none in a complete-game win. UH freshman Brittany Hitchcock (14-7) struck out five, walked three and gave up eight hits in the loss.

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