Gauchos Open Postseason Play Against Nevada

Sierra Altmeyer (Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge)
Sierra Altmeyer (Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge)

• The Schedule
UC Santa Barbara (31-25, 11-10) vs Nevada (28-23, 13-11)
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 4 p.m.
at Bill Simoni Field (University of the Pacific)

All-time record vs. Wolfpack: 10-5
Last Time: W, 9-5 (3/8/14)
Live Stats

UC Santa Barbara (31-25, 11-10) vs TBD (Cal Poly or Pacific)
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at TBD (1 or 4 p.m.)

• Cal State Fullerton Recap

UCSB closed out the regular season with a 2-1 series win over Big West champion Cal State Fullerton. After trailing 3-0 in the series-opener, the Gauchos pulled it together late, taking a 4-3 win on a grand slam by junior Jessica Johnston in the bottom of the sixth. After nearly coming back from a 6-0 deficit in the second game, eventually falling 6-5, UCSB would take a 2-0 win in its season finale. Junior pitcher Lena Mayer shutout the Titans through 12 innings pitched on her way to Big West Pitcher of the Week honors.

• Back in the Postseason

Tuesday's matchup with Nevada will mark the first time since 2007 that the Gauchos will be participating in postseason play. This will be UCSB's first appearance in the NISC Tournament, which is in its first year. The Gauchos have previously been to the NCAA Tournament three times.

• Opening Round Matchups

UCSB will face a Nevada team in the First Round of the NISC that just finished in fifth-place in the Mountain West standings. The Gauchos have a 10-5 all-time record against the Wolfpack, most recently defeating them by a score of 9-5 back on Mar. 8, 2014. Win or lose, Santa Barbara will play a second game against either regional hosts Pacific or familiar Big West foe Cal Poly.

• UCSB's Hits Leader Closes Out Career

This past weekend saw Kristen Clark play in her final home games at UCSB. She finishes her career having set the program records for hits (294) and batting average (.378). In 2014, she set the UCSB records for single-season hits (90) and batting average (.437). She also ranks second in program history in runs (136) and stolen bases (64), second all-time in the Big West for career hits, and is the only Gaucho ever to bat over .400 in multiple seasons. Clark has three career All-Big West selections, an Honorable Mention All-Pacific Region, and a Big West Freshman of the Year award.

• Watch Out For Sierra

Sierra Altmeyer currently ranks among the program's best all-time single-season marks in runs (37, T-7th) and home runs (9, T-6th). In Big West play, she was first in the conference in on base percentage (.460) and walks (30), second in runs (37), third in slugging percentage (.630), and fourth in home runs (9). On Feb. 26, she smashed two homers, including a two-run winner to give UCSB a 6-5 win over then-No. 20 Mizzou. It was the Gauchos' first win over a ranked opponent in over five years.

• Johnston's Career Year Continues

Outfielder Jessica Johnston is another Gaucho that sits near the top of the Big West in a number of offensive categories, including hits (61, 5th), runs (32, T-7th), batting average (.343, 8th) and slugging percentage (.522, 8th). A clutch player all year, Johnston had her biggest moment of the season this past Friday, hitting the game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the sixth in a 4-3 win over first place Cal State Fullerton. On Apr. 17, she became the first Gaucho this season to earn Big West Field Player of the Week Honors, playing a part in six of UCSB's eight runs in a 2-1 series win over CSUN (Apr. 14-15).

• Crunch Time

The Gauchos enter the postseason with a 20-6 record in games decided by two runs or less and a 6-1 mark in extra innings games. Of their 31 wins this season, 12 of them have come when they were either tied or trailing in the sixth inning or later. UCSB also has a perfect 21-0 mark in games where it held a lead following the fifth inning.

• Stringing the Hits

For the second straight season, UCSB is the top hitting team in the Big West, leading the pack with marks of 7.49 hits per game and 427 total. The Gauchos have reached double-digit hits 11 times total for the season. Over the last 42 outings, opposing teams have finished with more hits than UCSB just 12 times. Pacing the Gauchos in hits this year are Kristen Clark (63), Jessica Johnston (61) and Sierra Altmeyer (55).

• Aces in the Circle

Sophomore pitcher Veronika Gulvin enters the postseason after ranking third in the Big West in innings pitched (204) and complete games (16) and fourth in wins (17). Her 1.92 ERA during conference play was the ninth-best in the Big West. Junior pitcher Lena Mayer has also been outstanding of late, having won her last five games for a 5-1 record this season. After pitching 12 consecutive shutout innings against Fullerton this past weekend, she was named the Big West Pitcher of the Week for the first time. She gave up just seven hits to the Titans in two games, pitching the first seven inning shutout of her career on Saturday. It was the first time Fullerton had been shutout in 18 games as the Titans were held to a conference season-low four hits.