Gauchos to Compete in Fresno State Kick-Off
Friday, February 14, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. CSU Bakersfield
All-time record vs. Roadrunners: 20-9
Last Time: W, 6-0 (2/9/2014)
Friday, February 14, 2014 at 11:45 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Sacramento St.
All-time record vs. Hornets: 21-16
Last Time: L, 2-1 (3/26/2012)
Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 11:45 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs.CSU Bakersfield
Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 4:15 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Southern Utah
All-time record vs. Thunderbirds: 5-0
Last Time: W, 3-0 (2/8/2003)
Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 3:45 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Fresno St.
All-time record vs. Bulldogs: 13-55
Last Time: W, 5-2 (2/16/2013)
*All games to be played at Bulldog Diamond
Week in Review
For the first time since 2009, UCSB opened its season at home by hosting the Gaucho Classic I. The team finished 2-2 on the weekend, including a dominant 6-0 shutout over CSU Bakersfield. Shelby Wisdom finished tournament play with two homers (both in the opener against Dayton) and hit for .417 while slugging at a .533 clip. Three freshmen also made their first collegiate starts at the Classic with Emily Brucelas impressing fans with a clutch solo shot to force extras in a nine-inning victory against Dayton.
Shelby Wisdom opened her junior campaign with back-to-back homers on Friday against Dayton. The Gaucho utlilty player walked in her first plate appearance, but she didn't wait long to record her first hit of the season with a towering shot over the right field wall that gave UCSB a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third. She followed that with yet another moon shot, this time blasting it over left field in leading off the bottom of the fifth. She finished the weekend tied for the team-highs in RBI (3) and walks (3).
After one week of play, UCSB finds itself ranked second in the league in both on-base percentage (.418) and slugging percentage (.529). Along with Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos are just one of two teams to have a collective OBP over .400. So far Santa Barbara has hit for five doubles, a pair of triples, and four home runs.
Wisdom in the Circle
In addition to her performance at the plate, Wisdom is also serving as UCSB's ace pitcher for the third consecutive season. Wisdom put in 8.1 innings of work in her season debut when she also dealt five punchouts. The game yielded a no-decision for the junior, but she would pick up her first win against CSU Bakersfield in the tournament finale. She tossed a complete-game, two-hit shutout to the the Roadrunners, as the Gauchos coasted to a 6-0 victory.
Pingree on Point
UCSB's two wins last weekend featured standout performances from last year's top two pitchers. In the season opener against Dayton, Alex Pingree's number was called in the top of the ninth after the Flyers jumped out to a two-run lead. The sophomore, who was a 2013 All-Big West honorable mention, helped UCSB get out of the half inning by retiring the two batters she faced. She forced the first into a fielder's choice then closed finished the job with strikeout.
The Gaucho coaching staff opted to use three freshmen in the starting lineup in all four games last weekend. Kristen Clark has fit in comfortably in her lead off position and has collected a .357 batting average (along with a triple) while playing left field. Emily Brucelas has filled in the void left by Keilani Jennings ('13) at shortstop. The Fountain Valley native forced extra innings against Dayton with a clutch leadoff homer in the bottom of the seventh. Stacy Cavazos, UCSB's starting center fielder, put Bakersfield out of reach with a three-run shot to give the Gauchos an overwhelming 6-0 lead.
Analyzing the Competition
At the Fresno State Kick-Off, UCSB will face CSU Bakersfield for the second and third time this young season, while they are also scheduled to play Sacramento State, Southern Utah, and the host Fresno State. The Bulldogs are coming into their own tournament with a 3-2 record with their only loses coming against Pac-12 teams (Oregon, Arizona). Southern Utah enters this weekend with a 1-5 record (including a pair of mercy-rule losses), while Sacramento State will be looking for its first win of the season (0-1). The Hornets were supposed to open their season with a three-game series at Pacific, but the games were called due to inclement weather. Including last Sunday's shutout, UCSB is riding a six-game winning streak over CSU Bakersfield.
The 2014 Big West Preseason Coach's Poll showed little change at the top of the conference as the top four teams voted were also the top four finishers from a year ago. Hawai'i was the favorite after receiving four first-place votes for 59 points overall. Long Beach State is right behind the reigning conference champs with 55 points and three first-place votes. UCSB landed the fourth spot, while Cal State Fullerton was third and also picked up one first-place nod.