Gauchos Head to Florida State for Unconquered Classic

Alex Pingree
Alex Pingree

The Schedule 
Friday, February 21, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. 
UC Santa Barbara vs. Northern Iowa
All-time record vs. Panthers: First Time

Friday, February 21, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. 
UC Santa Barbara vs. Wichita State
All-time record vs. Shockers: 5-2
Last Time: W, 7-1 (2/8/2013) 

Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 6:00 a.m. 
UC Santa Barbara vs.Northern Iowa 

Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. 
UC Santa Barbara at Florida State
All-time record vs. Seminoles: 0-2
Last Time: L, 13-4 (5) (3/4/2012)  

Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 6:00 a.m. 
UC Santa Barbara at Florida A&M
All-time record vs. Lady Rattlers: First Time 

*All times in Pacific Standard Time
*Games will be hosted at Florida State, except for Sunday's game at Florida A&M

Week in Review
In its first tournament away from Campus Diamond, UCSB came up with a 4-1 finish, including a pair of shutouts, at the the Fresno State Kick-Off. The Gauchos were led by Big West Pitcher of the Week Shelby Wisdom who finished the weekend with a 1.25 ERA. The Gauchos picked up two wins against CSU Bakersfield, including their 6-0 shutout of the team this season, and also downed Sacramento State and Southern Utah. UCSB's lone loss came in the finale against Fresno State who won 6-5 in eight innings.    

What Sophomore Slump?
Arianna Palomares has started her sophomore campaign as one of the top hitters in the Big West. She currently is second in the league with both a .469 batting average and 15 hits. She leads the Gauchos with a .514 on-base percentage, the only starter over .500. She is following up her freshman year in which she finished with a .307 BA and 50 hits (both second on the team).

Santa Barbara Swipers
The Gauchos are the league leaders with 13 stolen bases, primarily thanks to their two freshman outfielders. Kristen Clark (7) leads the Big West in swipes, while Stacy Cavazos (5) is tied for third. UC Davis is the only other school with as many players in the conference's top five. The Gauchos piled on their stats this past weekend with 11 steals, 10 coming from the freshman duo. While Clark had at least one swipe in every game, Cavazos picked up three in the tournament finale against Fresno State.

Triples Threat
The Gauchos have shown a knack for triples this season, having already racked up a league leading seven this season. Leadoff hitter Kristen Clark has the most on the club with three, while she is followed by Lauren Boser, Emily Brucelas, Palomares, and Shleby Wisdom who have one each. Clark is the only Big West player to have more than one triple this season. 

Wiz Kid
Shelby Wisdom was named the Big West's Pitcher of the Week after going 2-1 over the weekend.  The junior started three of UCSB's five games and finished the weekend with a 1.25 ERA. Perhaps her best performance came against CSU Bakersfield which she shut out for the second time this season. Against the Roadrunners, she only faced 27 batters and gave up just five hits. Wisdom showed tenacity in the circle versus Sacramento State, as she clocked in eight innings of work before pulling out the 3-2 win. Clutch in the top of the eighth, Wisdom set the stage for UCSB's win after she held the Hornets scoreless despite having a runner on third base with just one out. Against Fresno State, the Elk Grove, Calif. native allowed only two earned runs after pitching 7.1 innings. 

Pitch Perfect
Aside from Wisdom, two other Gaucho pitchers nabbed wins at Fresno State this weekend. Alex Pingree opened the weekend with a 5-3 win over CSU Bakersfield. The sophomore tossed a pair of strikeouts while only giving up one earned run. Andriana Collins dominated Southern Utah in a one-hit shutout. She fanned five Thunderbirds, which is the most punchouts a UCSB pitcher has had in one game this year.  

Analyzing the Competition 
At the Unconquered Classic, the Gauchos will be facing Northern Iowa (UNI) and Florida A&M for the first time, and will also meet Wichita State and Florida State. UNI enters this week matching UCSB's 6-3 record, winning five of their past six games. They are led by Julia Hunter's .464 batting average and .821 slugging percentage. Florida A&M bring a 1-9 record into the tournament and has dropped its past six games. Whitney Farris's .333 BA leads the team, while Amber Fullwood paces the club in the circle with 16 strikeouts. Despite going undefeated in their season opening tournament, Wichita State went 1-3 last weekend at the UT-San Antonio Classic. Host Florida State sport a 10-1 record and has racked up the most runs in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 85.          

Preseason Poll
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.