Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 1:00 / 3:00 p.m.
UC Riverside (23-22, 5-10) at UC Santa Barbara (8-38, 2-13)
at Campus Diamond in Santa Barbara, Calif.
2018 Series: UCR 3-0
All-time Series Record: 46-13
Live Stats: Gm 1 | Gm 2 | Video
Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 12:00 p.m.
UC Riverside (23-22, 5-10) at UC Santa Barbara (8-38, 2-13)
Live Stats | Video
Gauchos Welcome UCR for Home Finales
UC Santa Barbara (8-38, 2-13) closes out its 2019 home schedule this weekend against a UC Riverside (23-22, 5-10) team that enters the weekend having lost six straight games. UCSB has historically dominated the all-time series, owning a 46-13 edge, but last year, the Highlanders earned a 3-0 sweep over the Gauchos in Riverside. The Highlanders have been a middle-of-the-pack team statistically since the start of conference play, ranking fourth in batting average (.264) and sixth in runs scored (46). Their 3.66 team ERA is good for seventh in the Big West. They have been led offensively by junior Danielle Ortega, whose .388 batting average just barely edges out Sammy Fabian for No. 2 in the conference. Pitcher Jacy Boles leads the defensive unit with a 10-6 record as a starter and a 3.67 ERA.
Two Gaucho seniors will be playing in their final series at UCSB's Campus Diamond this Saturday and Sunday. Pitcher Veronika Gulvin has 31 wins to her name over 509 innings pitched since 2016. Her 3.66 strikeouts per seven innings as a senior are good for the second-highest average of her career. Infielder Melanie Menor has compiled 144 hits, 58 RBI and 58 runs over that same span. Menor's numbers are second on the team only to Sierra Altmeyer, who is redshirting the year and therefore will not be joining her fellow fourth-years for the pregame Senior Day celebrations.
Steady As She Goes
Outfielder Sammy Fabian continues to have one of the most consistent and efficient seasons in program history. Her 55 hits and .385 batting average place her in second and third in the conference, respectively. She put together 15 multi-hit efforts through her first 25 games of the season, currently leading the Gauchos with 17 total. The sophomore is also 10th in the conference in on base percentage (.417). Her current .385 batting average is the fourth-highest in a single season in program history. Fabian also has at least a share of the UCSB team-high in runs (16), doubles (6), total bases (61), stolen bases (8), sac bunts (6) and slugging (.427).
UCSB's infield duo of second baseman Melanie Menor and shortstop Maci Fines has improved its offensive production since the start of league play. Menor had just 10 hits through her first 31 appearances, but since the conference opening series against Cal State Fullerton has been UCSB's most consistent batter, leading the way with a .325 average and six RBI. Right behind her is Fines, who owns a .275 conference batting average and has put up team-highs in runs (6), hits (14) and total bases (17) in Big West games.
Ramirez Stepping Up
Junior Genesis Ramirez has been one of UCSB's top producers this season, ranking top-three on the team in RBI (13, 2nd), runs (15, 3rd), doubles (4) and on base percentage (.327). Her team-leading 21 walks are also good for eighth in the conference and she has one of UCSB's three home runs on the year.
First-year Gauchos Teah Thies and Tyler Goldstein have made an impact for UCSB in their freshmen seasons. No Gaucho has recorded more RBIs this season than Thies, who has a team-leading 14, top-five among Big West freshmen. She opened conference play with a big offensive week in which she batted at a team-high .444 clip and tied a career-high with three hits in a game for the second time this season. Goldstein meanwhile joins Ramirez and Menor as the only two Gauchos to have reached double-figures in all of the following categories: runs (11), hits (30), RBI (10) and walks (13).
A Big Missing Piece
While the Gauchos' 6.6 hits per game place them just outside the conference's top-4, UCSB has struggled to put up runs, averaging just under 2.5 per contest. A big reason for this has been the absence of infielder Sierra Altmeyer, who has played in just 12 games this season. Now a redshirt junior, she boasts the most career accolades of any Gaucho currently on the roster, with three All-Conference selections. Last year, she was named to the All-Big West Second Team, after leading the Gauchos in a ton of categories: runs (33), RBI (31), doubles (11), home runs (8), walks (28), on base percentage (.420) and slugging (.557). Before coming out of the lineup this season, she was putting up career-bests in batting average (.375) and on base percentage (.512), both of which would place her in the top-10 of the conference.
Four different Gauchos have seen time in the circle this year, but pitcher Felisha Noriega has gotten the most consistent results thus far. The junior from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. leads UCSB in ERA (3.73), wins (6), strikeouts (76) and innings pitched (116.1).
Ally Nodohara and Genesis Ramirez both hit home runs at the Bulldog Classic in early March, the first two of the season for the Gauchos. Nodohara's solo blast against CBU on Mar. 8 – the first hit of her career – ended a run of 17 straight games without a Gaucho homer dating back to last May. Ramirez's home run came in the top of the sixth inning during the rematch against CBU just two days later. It was the third of her career. Surprisingly, UCSB's third home run of the year from Carissa Felix would also come against the Lancers, when the Gauchos met them for a third time at the LMU Tournament on Mar. 15.
UCSB brings six newcomers to Campus Diamond in 2019, including Utah State transfer Devan Sperry Jr. (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) and Mt. Sac standout Carissa Felix (Montclair, Calif. / Ontario HS) along with four freshmen. Sperry posted career-highs across the board as a sophomore last year, finishing with 20 hits, four doubles, three homers and 15 RBI at USU. Meanwhile, Felix dominated at Mt. Sac, helping lead the Mounties to a 41-7 record while totaling 59 hits and 41 runs on a .415 batting average.
Rounding out the newcomers are Gaucho freshmen infielders Teah Thies (Laguna Hills, Calif. / Laguna Hills HS) and Ally Nodohara (Morgan Hill, Calif. / Ann Sobrato HS), pitcher Alyssa Molina (Los Angeles, Calif. / Notre Dame S.O.) and outfielder Tyler Goldstein (Agoura Hills, Calif. / Agoura HS).