With the Big West Title Still in its Sights, UCSB Rounds Out Regular Season in Northridge

Allison Taylor (By Tony Mastres)
Allison Taylor (By Tony Mastres)

May 11 Weekly Release

• The Schedule
Friday, May 11, 2012 at Matador Diamond
UC Santa Barbara (27-28, 12-6) at Cal State Northridge (10-39, 5-13), 1:30 & 3:30 pm
All-time series record vs. Matadors: 24-48-1
Last time vs. Northridge: W, 4-2 (April 23, 2011)
Live Stats • Live Audio

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at Matador Diamond
UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Northridge, 12 pm
Live Stats • Live Audio 

• This Week in Gaucho Softball
UC Santa Barbara, which is still in the hunt for its first Big West Conference title, will wrap-up the regular season this weekend at Cal State Northridge. The Gauchos and Matadors will play in a 1:30 pm doubleheader on Friday and conclude the series with a noon game on Saturday.

• For The Record
With just three games remaining on its regular season slate, UCSB currently stands at 27-28 on the season. The Gauchos have the potential to post their first 30-win season since 2008. In Big West play, UCSB currently holds a 12-6 record. 

• How The Big West Was Won
With just one week to go in the regular season, four teams are still in the hunt for the 2012 Big West Conference title, which comes with the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Long Beach State is in the diver's seat with a 14-4 record while UCSB, UC Davis and Pacific are all tied for second with 12-6 marks. In order for UCSB to claim the NCAA berth, the following must happen: the Gauchos sweep Cal State Northridge, Pacific wins at least two of its three games with Long Beach State, and UC Davis loses one of its three games against Cal State Fullerton. Long Beach will claim the outright league title with a series win over Pacific. 

• Weekend Rewind
The Gauchos are coming off of a series sweep of Cal Poly. The Gauchos won game one, 4-1, before battling through eight innings to take game two, 5-4. On Sunday, UCSB posted an 8-0 mercy rule win in six innings to pick up its second Big West sweep of the season and its fourth series win. 

• Notes On Northridge
Cal State Northridge enters this weekend with a 10-39 overall record and a 5-13 mark in conference. The Matadors are coming off of a series loss to UC Riverside, which swept last weekend's three-game set. Northridge has lost its last five games. UCSB won its 2011 series against the Matadors, two games to one. The Gauchos have not swept CSUN since the 2005 season.

• Jeppesen Earns First Career Big West Player of the Week Honor
It may have been the senior's weekend at Campus Diamond, but freshman Jenessa Jeppesen proved the future is bright for the Gauchos after an outstanding three-game series against the Mustangs. Jeppesen accumulated a .700 batting average (7-for-10) over the weekend, tallied two home runs and six RBI on her way to her first career honor. The freshman tallied two hits in game one of the series and her solo home run in the bottom of the third inning tied the game at 1-1. In game two, she gave UCSB an early 1-0 lead with an RBI single and then drove home the game-winning run in the eighth inning to give the Gauchos a 5-4 victory. In the third and final game of the series, she hit a three-run homer to give UCSB an early 3-0 lead. The Gauchos went on to post an 8-0 mercy win in six innings. In addition to her .700 batting, she posted a 1.300 slugging percentage and a .700 on-base percentage. 

• Drama Queens
The Big West season has been dramatic thus far with eight of the Gauchos' 18 games being decided by a single run. In those contests, UCSB has posted a 5-3 record. Another three games have been decided by a two-run margin; the Gauchos have gone 2-1 in those pairings. 

• Looming Milestones
A sweep this weekend over Northridge would give UCSB its best Big West record since 2004 when it posted a 14-7 mark. The Gauchos have not posted 15 or more wins in league since 1987 when they went 17-19. A series win this weekend would mark the Gauchos' fifth of the year, a feat that they have not achieved in the conference's current eight-team configuration. Lastly, if UCSB grabs at least one win, this will mark the first season since 2008 that they have avoided a sweep at the hands of a conference opponent. 

• Following The Freshmen
Freshmen Jenessa Jeppesen and Shelby Wisdom have certainly hit their offensive stride in Big West play. Jeppesen leads the team batting .390 in league games to go along with 11 RBI and a .683 slugging percentage. Wisdom, meanwhile, is batting .385 with a team-leading 13 RBI. 

• Sharing A Little More Wisdom
In addition to her impressive bat in league games, Wisdom has posted a 1.61 ERA and an 11-4 record in Big West contests. For the season, she has compiled a 21-14 record and a 2.48 ERA. Nationally, she ranks 43rd in wins (21) and 27th in strikeouts (227). Wisdom has already surpassed the UCSB record for single season wins, ranks sixth in innings pitched (245.2), 10th in complete games (25) and second in strikeouts. She needs seven more K's to surpass Jennifer Davis' 2006 school record. 

• Speedy Soria
Wisdom isn't the only Gaucho climbing the ranks in the single season records. Junior Jessica Soria  has moved into a tie for sixth with her team and league-leading 23 stolen bases. The outfielder leads the Gauchos in hits (55) and runs scored (26), ranking third and ninth, respectively, in league. She has reached safely in 25 of the last 26 games, including multiple hits in the last three straight games. Soria leads the squad with 13 multiple hit games this year. 

• Moving On Up 
Junior Keilani Jennings is making her mark in the UCSB career record book. She is eighth in doubles (29), fourth in home runs (21) and is ninth in RBI with 79. Jennings leads the Gauchos in doubles (10) and home runs (6), ranking fifth in conference, and is third in the league in walks (25). The junior has reached first base safely in 24 of the last 26 games and is amidst a season-best eight-game hitting streak, which ties the longest streak of her career. 

• Take A Pilpil
Sophomore Kathryn Pilpil has been extremely effective at getting on-base, posting a team-leading .367 on-base percentage. The second baseman has reached safely in 24 of the last 26 games, a span in which she has tallied 17 hits and 19 of her 24 walks. 

• What's At Stake
If the Gauchos secure the Big West's automatic berth into the 2012 NCAA Tournament, the postseason appearance will be their first since the 2007 season and fourth overall.