Gauchos Travel to Cathedral City to Take On Nation's Best

Keilani Jennings (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Keilani Jennings (Photo by Tony Mastres)

• The Schedule
Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, California.

Friday, February 22, 2013
UC Santa Barbara (8-2) vs. No. 1/2 Oklahoma (10-0), 3:30 pm
All-time series record vs. Sooners: 0-2
Last time vs. Sooners: L, 12-1 (Feb. 8, 2008)

 Saturday, February 23, 2013
UC Santa Barbara vs. BYU (4-6), 2:30 pm
All-time series record vs. Cougars: 1-6
Last time vs. Cougars: L, 12-4 (Feb. 11, 2012) 

Saturday, February 23, 2013
UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 4 Tennessee (10-0), 8:00 pm
All-time series record vs. Volunteers: 0-2
Last time vs. Volunteers: L, 7-0 (Feb. 9, 2012)

Sunday, February 24, 2013
UC Santa Barbara vs. Nevada (5-5), 2:00 pm
All-time series record vs. Wolfpack: 8-4
Last time vs. Wolfpack: W, 8-1 (Feb. 26, 2012)

• On The Road Again
Coming off of a 3-2 effort at the Gaucho Classic I last week, the UCSB softball team will take to the road again as they visit Cathedral City this weekend for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. UCSB will face No. 1/2 Oklahoma, BYU, No. 4 Tennessee and Nevada during the three-day tournament.

• Tough Early Tests
UCSB faces two top-five teams this weekend, the first being Oklahoma, which earned the coveted No. 1 spot in the Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll for the second consecutive week. No. 4 ranked Tennessee also holds a 10-0 record after going unbeaten at the USF Four-Team Tournament in Tampa, Fla. UCSB lost twice to No. 7 ranked Missouri in last weekend's Gaucho Classic I.

• Quick Bats
After the first 10 games of the season, seven total Gauchos are batting for an average of .300 or higher. That list of players includes freshmen Jessica Tetzlaff (.333) and Arianna Palomares (.412), sophomore Shelby Wisdom (.306), juniors Lauren Boser (.333) and Kathryn Pilpil (.375), and seniors Jessica Soria (.394) and Keilani Jennings (.438). As a team, UCSB is batting .317 – which is best in the Big West Conference – and slugging .449.

• Feeling The Momentum
The Gauchos have won 15 out of their last 17 matchups dating back to the end of last season, an unprecedented feat in UCSB softball history. The second-best run by the Gauchos came back in the 1982 season when they took 14 games out of 16 played[l1] .

• Leaders Keeping The Pace
All of last year's standouts for the Gauchos—seniors Keilani Jennings, Jessica Soria and sophomore Shelby Wisdom—continue to tear it up on the diamond in 2013. 

Jennings is white hot at the plate, hitting for an average of .438 and slugging .906 with four homeruns and 13 RBI's. She looks to break Tiffany Wright's career home run record (30) from the 2006-2009 seasons after passing Tonya Dias for the number two spot with 26[l2] .

Following up last year's stellar season that garnered her All-Big West First team honors, Jessica Soria continues to produce in almost every category for the Gauchos. After leading the team in hits (58), runs (29) and stolen bases (25) in 2012, she leads the team again this season so far with nine hits and six swipes. 

Wisdom has been making it happen from the hitter's box and the circle after her Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year campaign last season. She's batting .306 with seven RBI's and one homer, but has been particularly impactful from the pitching slot. Even after being tested[l3]  by a hard-hitting Missouri team in last weekend's tournament, she dons an impressive 2.62 ERA with a 34:9 K/BB rate. Wisdom looks to improve on last season's marks, which included the single season records for UCSB in both wins (24) and strikeouts (247).

• Young Blood
Newcomers Arianna Palomares and Alex Pingree have both given the Gauchos something to get excited about for the rest of the season and coming years.

Palomares has been a nuisance for opposing pitchers thus far as she is averaging .412 with two doubles and two triples in her 10 starts as a freshman.

Pingree has been a fantastic addition to the Gauchos' rotation. Wielding a 2.14 ERA and an 11/3 K:BB ratio to start her freshman campaign, she provides a solid option for UCSB in the second pitcher slot.

• The Galicinao File
Head coach Brie Galicinao, who is now in her sixth season at the helm of the UCSB softball program, has coached the Gauchos to a 136-142 cumulative record for a .489 winning percentage, the second best since the softball program went Division I in 1982.

Galicinao has coached three players to All-Region honors, two players to Big West Field Player of the Year accolades, two Big West Freshmen Pitchers of the Year and 27 All-Big West Conference selections. Last season, she was named the Big West Coach of the Year for the second time; she was named Co-Coach of the Year in 2008, her first season at the helm of the program.