Softball Rallies To End Season On Six-Game Winning Streak
Darian Tautalafua's three-run home run is the difference in a 5-4 victory.
Long Beach, Calif. - Darian Tautalafua's three-run home run completed the comeback for the Beach, as Long Beach State rallied from a 4-0 deficit to win 5-4 against UC Santa Barbara on Senior Day at the 49er Softball Complex.
Tautalafua finished the weekend homering in all three games, hitting .667 and driving in seven RBI in a monster weekend as Long Beach State (28-25, 15-6 Big West) closed out the sweep against UC Santa Barbara (19-35, 6-15 Big West)
Christina Clermont worked three hitless innings on the way to her 20th win of the season, but ran into trouble in the fourth inning.
The Beach had some early chances to score erased by solid defensive plays by the Gauchos, and UCSB turned that momentum into a lead in that frame. After a leadoff walk to Jaqueline Hinojosa, an Ariana Palomares single put two runners on for Shelby Wisdom, who hit a three-run home run to left field to make the score 3-0. After a double by Emily Brucelas, a DeJaneee Moore single scored another run as UCSB took a 4-0 lead.
The 49ers would work their way back into the contest. A leadoff walk led to a run in the bottom half of the fourth inning, as Julia Lombardi would eventually score on a wild pitch from UCSB starting pitcher Lena Mayer.
Long Beach State then made the Gauchos pay for mistakes in the bottom of the fifth inning. A tapper back to the circle was overthrown by Mayer, allowing Kimbrough to reach base, and then smart baserunning by the 49ers on a single from Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi allowed the senior shortstop to score on the play to cut the lead in half.
A bunt single by Haley Tobler kept the inning alive, and with two runners on, Tautalafua skied a monster home run to left field, putting the Beach in front 5-4.
UCSB mounted one last chance in the 7th inning. With a runner on second base and two outs, Palomares and Clermont engaged in a 17-pitch at-bat, but Tobler caught the resulting fly ball against the wall to close out the 19th complete game of the year for Clermont.
The win also marked win No. 300 for head coach Kim Sowder, who just finished her ninth season at Long Beach State.
After closing the season winning 13 of their last 15 games, the 49ers must sit and wait to find out their postseason fate, finishing second in the Big West. The 2015 NCAA Softball Selection show will be broadcast live on ESPNU at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 10.
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