UCSB Takes On Long Beach State for Big West Crown
Friday, May 9, 2014 at 12 & 2 p.m. (DH)
UC Santa Barbara vs. Long Beach State
All-time record vs. 49ers: 32-75-1
Last Game: W, 2-1 (Apr. 21, 2013)
Last Series: L, 2-1 at Long Beach State (Apr. 20-21, 2013)
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com
Walk Off Weekend
Come out and celebrate two tremendous seasons during Walk Off Weekend for UCSB baseball and softball. Both teams are enjoying terrific years, are driving towards the postseason and have had tremendous support from fans all season long. As a thank you to the fans, there will be giveaways, ticket specials, merchandise offers, and discounted food during this weekend's home events. Specifically for softball, tickets will only be $5 per game.
Week in Review
Last weekend, UCSB pulled off a sweep at UC Riverside and tied Long Beach State for first place in the Big West with a 13-5 record. The Gauchos made it look easy against the Highlanders, as Shelby Wisdom limited them to just four runs through the series, highlighted by a 3-0 shutout in game two. Offensively, UCSB saw three of its players hit .600 or better over the weekend, as Kathryn Pilpil led the team with a .625 mark (M. Moore, Wisdom both hit .600).
This weekend's series versus Long Beach State could be one for the record books. If UCSB wins the series (winning at least two games), it will claim the Big West Title for the first time ever and also set the program record for most wins in a single season. The 2003 team set the current record of 34 wins, but failed to reach the postseason. The last time the Gauchos competed in an NCAA Regional was in 2007 when the team finished 30-23. Long Beach State will be vying for its seventh conference title with its most recent one coming in 2012 when they edged out UCSB by one game in the Big West standings.
Only a freshman, Kristen Clark has put together one of the most prolific seasons ever by a Gaucho. The outfielder crushed the program's single season hits record (then 75) with 83 base knocks and is also one pace to break UCSB's single season batting average record of .417 with her .432 mark. Both numbers currently lead the Big West. In addition to her work at the plate, Clark has also been a threat on the bags, as she has collected 25 stolen bases (fourth in the league), which ties her with Jessica Soria ('12) for the sixth-most in a single season by a Gaucho.
With 21 wins under her belt, Shelby Wisdom has become the first Gaucho pitcher to nab two 20+ win seasons and has tied the program record of 62 career victories. With just one more win, Wisdom will become UCSB's all-time winningest pitcher, passing Sandy Ortigies who has held the record since 1987. While she has been dominant in the circle, Wisdom is also leading the roster with six home runs and is tied for the team-high with 28 RBI.
Shelby Wisdom and MeShalon Moore picked up weekly player awards after leading the team to a 3-0 weekend. Wisdom was voted as the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Player of the Week, while Moore earned her first ever Big West Field Player of the Week award after slugging for .800 with a pair of doubles. Moore's biggest game of the weekend came in the series finale when she went 4-4, knocking in a pair of runs and scoring two herself in the 5-3 victory.
Extra (Base) Credit
While Hawai'i's big hitters have recorded a conference-leading 56 homers, UCSB is one of the top teams in getting extra base hits in the league when excluding home runs. The Gauchos' total of doubles and triples (74) is the second-most in the Big West and only trails Long Beach State's 78.
Seventh Inning Strength
The seventh inning has been UCSB's highest scoring inning in conference play as the team has tallied a total of 20 runs. The team's strongest example of coming through in late game scenarios was against Hawai'i when the team recorded eight seventh inning runs. Those runs pushed the first two games of the series into extras.
Walking the Walk
Through its first six series of conference play, UCSB has drawn the most walks in the Big West with 68. In conference play, the Gauchos have made a dramatic improvement in drawing walks. During its nonconference schedule, UCSB recorded walks in a league-low 6.9 percent of its at bats, while it has raised that mark to a Big West-leading 14 percent against conference opponents.
Freshman of the Year
Kristen Clark was named one of the Top 25 Finalists for the National Freshman of the Year award by National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Clark was one of three Big West players to be included on the list. Cal Poly's Sierra Hyland and CSUN's Taylor Glover are the others.
Slapping Them Silly
Kristen Clark has emerged as one of the Big West's top hitters after a strong start to her freshman campaign. She leads the league with 83 hits and a .432 batting average. Most of her hits are singles, but she is also tied for third in the conference with four triples. The freshman's hit total makes up over 20-percent of all UCSB's hits this season. The closest Gauchos to that mark are Kathryn Pilpil and MeShalon Moore who have recorded 48 and 47 hits, respectively.
Santa Barbara Swipers
The Gauchos are third in the league with 43 stolen bases, primarily thanks to their two freshman outfielders. Kristen Clark (25) ranks second in the Big West in swipes, while Stacy Cavazos (10) is tied for seventh. UCSB players have only been caught stealing 13 times this season out of 55 attempts which equates to a 78 percent success rate.
UCSB has shown a knack for triples this season as it is third in the league with 11. Aside from Kristen Clark's club-leading four triples, MeShalon Moore is second with a pair of triples, while five other Gauchos have recorded one each. Cal Poly currently leads the league with 13 triples, while Long Beach State is in second with 12.