Gauchos Open at Home this Weekend with Softball By The Beach Invitational

Gauchos Open at Home this Weekend with Softball By The Beach Invitational

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• The Schedule
Games No. 5, 6, 7, 8
UC Santa Barbara's Softball By The Beach Invitational
at UCSB Campus Diamond (500)

Friday, February 16, 2007
UCSB vs. Nevada, 9:00 a.m.
Northern Colorado vs. Nevada, 11:00 a.m.
Nothern Colorado vs. Long Beach State, 1:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 17, 2007
UCSB vs. Long Beach State, 9:00 a.m.
UCSB vs. Northern Colorado, 11:00 a.m.
Long Beach State vs. Nevada, 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 18, 2007
Nevada vs. Northern Colorado, 9:00 a.m.
Nevada vs. Long Beach State, 11:00 a.m.
UCSB vs. Northern Colorado, 1:00 p.m.

• No Place Like Home
UC Santa Barbara opens at home this weekend as it hosts the seventh annual Softball By The Beach Invitational. Nevada, Long Beach State and Northern Colorado will each make the trek to Campus Diamond for the three-day tourney that runs Friday, Feb. 16 through Sunday, Feb. 18. UCSB will play Nevada and Big West foe Long Beach State once and Northern Colorado twice over the weekend.

• In Case You Missed It: Gauchos Split Four Games In San Diego
Last weekend, UCSB opened the 2007 season at the Campbell/Cartier Classic hosted by San Diego State. The four-day tournament featured five teams that all made appearances at the 2006 NCAA Tournament. The Gauchos faced Kansas in both team's season opener Thursday. Trailing 3-0 in the seventh inning, junior catcher Ericka Hansen tripled bringing in the Gaucho's first run of the game which was followed by a sacrifice fly by senior shortstop Brittany Putich, which brought Hansen in to bring the Gauchos within one at 3-2, but it wasn't enough as UCSB dropped its first game of the year. UCSB turned things around Friday as they took an 8-6 win over No. 23 Massachusetts. Sophomore Tiffany Wright went 2-for-4 with two runs, a triple and an RBI against the Minutewomen while freshman pitcher Lindsay Correa picked up the win in her collegiate debut. Later in the day, UCSB took on host San Diego State. After seven and a half innings the game was scoreless, but with two runners on base and two outs at the bottom of the eighth, Putich singled to left field driving in the lone run of the evening and capturing the 1-0 win for the Gauchos. Unfortunately UCSB was on the other side of the shutout on Saturday evening when it fell 2-0 to No. 10 Cal in what turned out to be the final game of the tournament for Santa Barbara as Sunday's closer against No. 6 Oregon State was cancelled due to inclement weather. The Gauchos now stand at 2-2 overall on the young season.

• A Peek At The Past: 2006 In Review
The UC Santa Barbara softball team posted a 24-22 record with an 8-10 mark in the Big West Conference in 2006 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in program history, all without one senior on the roster. The 2006 team had a stacked schedule, playing 17 games against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. UCSB also played five opponents ranked in the Top-25, with its biggest win of the year coming against No. 5 Stanford, 2-0 on March 4. The Gauchos finished fourth overall in the Big West and four players earned All-Big West honors. UCSB's season ended with losses to Notre Dame and Southern Illinois at Regionals.

• Taking On The Best
Once again in an effort to prepare themselves for the high level of competition in the Big West and qualify for postseason play, the Gauchos will play yet another challenging nonconference slate in 2007. UCSB is scheduled to face a total of 12 opponents (10 nonconference) that advanced to the Big Dance in 2006, seven of which are currently ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Top-25 Poll.

• Poll Points
Speaking of polls, this week's poll released on Feb. 13 listed UCSB in the "Others Receiving Votes" category with one vote. In the 2007 Big West Preseason Poll released in late January, the Gauchos were picked to once again finish fourth in the competitive conference. UCSB was tied in the fourth place spot with Pacific, which each received 25 points in the coaches' poll. Cal State Fullerton was picked to repeat as the conference champion while Cal Poly and Long Beach State rounded out the top three spots in the poll. The official Big West season will not start for Santa Barbara until it hosts Fullerton on March 31 and April 1.

• Freshening Things Up
The Gauchos welcomed six freshmen to the 2007 squad and three had an immediate impact last weekend as UCSB opened its season in San Diego. The first win of the season over No. 23 Massachusetts was credited to hurler Lindsay Correa who was making her debut in the blue and gold. The Lake Forest, Calif. native threw a complete game allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits and striking out seven. The following game another freshman had an impressive debut, as MeLinda Matsumoto threw a complete game shutout against San Diego State allowing only six hits and striking out two. Matsumoto leads the Gaucho pitching staff with a current ERA of 0.00. Freshman utility Jessica Ziegler also made an immediate impact as she went 1-for-3 with a run scored in Friday's match-up against UMass. Another newcomer who made waves in her first weekend was junior Tisha Duran, who is second on the team with a .300 batting average and went 3-for-10 with three runs, a double and an RBI.

• Davis In The Circle
Despite going 0-2 to open the season, senior pitcher Jennifer Davis had a great weekend in the circle allowing only four earned runs on 10 hits and striking out a team-high 13 batters. The Whittier, Calif. native, who helped hold then-ranked No. 10 Cal to just two runs, has a 2.57 ERA on the season and now holds the UCSB program record for career pitcher's strikeouts with 643.

• Putich Puts It Away
With the game tied up 0-0 at the bottom of the eighth inning, senior Brittany Putich drove in Ericka Hansen for the gamewinner against San Diego State to give the Gauchos their second win of the season. Putich had gone 2-for-4 against the Aztecs and was 4-for-12 on the entire weekend. The Whittier, Calif. native and two-time All-Big West selection currently leads the Gauchos with a .333 batting average and four RBI on the season.

• No Sophomore Slump Here
Second-year player's sophomore Tiffany Wright and junior Ericka Hansen got the 2007 season off on the right foot this past weekend. Wright had an impressive showing against No. 23 UMass as she went 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs and an RBI. Catcher Hansen scored three of the Gauchos eleven runs on the weekend and defensively caught two runners stealing. The San Clemente, Calif. native scored the winning run against San Diego State and also went 2-for-3 with one run and an RBI in the loss to Kansas in the season opener.

• In the Dugout With Coach Schroeder
Kristy Schroeder enters her sixth season at the helm of the UC Santa Barbara softball program and continues to foster a commitment to excellence and a high level of success. Her impact on the program has been immeasurable, as she has turned a very mediocre program into one of the top squads in the conference each and every year. In 2006, Schroeder led the Gauchos to a 24-22 record, an 8-10 Big West mark and the second NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. She took a team that was plagued by injuries in 2005 and posted a 26-22 overall record, playing one the most difficult schedules the program had ever seen. She notched her 100th victory as head coach at UCSB on Feb. 26. In 2004, she led the Gauchos to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance after guiding them to a 32-31 overall record and a 14-7 conference mark, which was tied for second in the Big West and was the highest league finish in UCSB history. In addition, the Gauchos won 30-plus games in back-to-back seasons for the first time ever as a Division I program. In 2003 she guided the team to the best record in program history at 34-22 and had a school-record nine players named All-Big West, with two receiving All-Region accolades. In 2002, her first season at UCSB, she was named the Big West's Co-Coach of the Year, after Santa Barbara finished the season with a 27-36 overall record--an increase of nine wins from the year before. In eight seasons as head coach at UCSB and Division II Truman State, Schroeder has a career record of 278-169-1 (.620), while her mark with the Gauchos is 145-135 (.518).

• What's Up With The Wolfpack?
UCSB will open the Softball By The Beach Invitational against Nevada bright and early on Friday morning. The Wolfpack opened their season last weekend at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. where they dropped five straight games. To Nevada's credit, they did face then-ranked No. 1 Arizona and No. 3 UCLA during the tournament. The Wolfpack opened the weekend with a narrow 2-1 loss in eight innings to Western Michigan, which was followed a 6-2 loss to Arizona later in the day. The next day Nevada fell 5-1 to Texas Tech and 10-6 to Utah before dropping the tournament closer to UCLA, 9-1. Sophomore outfielder Brittany Puzey leads the Wolfpack with a .333 batting average; she went 4-for-12 over the weekend with one run, a double and a homerun. Puzey also leads her team with three RBI and a .467 on-base percentage. Freshman pitcher Katie Holverson went 0-2 on the weekend and has a team-leading 5.42 ERA and 10 strikeouts while junior hurler Jordan McPherson went 0-3 on the weekend allowing 13 runs (10 earned) on 19 hits, fanning nine batters. The Gauchos lead the series 4-3 with Nevada, which competes in the Western Athletic Conference, with the last win and loss against the Wolfpack both coming during the 2004 season.

• 49er Factoids
Saturday morning the Gauchos will get a sneak peak at Big West foe Long Beach State, which was picked to finish third in a preseason coaches poll, in a nonconference match-up. The 49ers were in Tempe as well last weekend at the Kajikawa Classic. Long Beach faired slightly better than the Wolfpack, posting a 1-4 record at the season opening tourney. The 49ers dropped back-to-back games against Oregon, 3-0 and Wisconsin, 5-4 on Friday before grabbing the first win of the season over Syracuse in 12-3 fashion. Long Beach fell to then-ranked No. 17 Texas 10-3 before taking No. 6 Arizona State into extra innings, the Sun Devils took the game 6-5 in the eighth. Whitney Radcliffe currently leads the 49ers batting .429 having gone 6-for-14 over the weekend with three runs, one double and an RBI. Jessica Beaver has also been a force early in the season for Long Beach hitting .357, going 5-for-15 with five runs, three of which were homers. Beaver also has an impressive 9 RBI. Pitcher Bridgett Pagano picked up the lone win for the 49ers and has a team-leading 4.02 ERA, she is 1-1 on the season and has struck out eight. Hurler Lacy Tyler is 0-3 for LBSU, has a 6.53 ERA and has a team-high 10 strikeouts. The 49ers lead the series against UCSB 63-22-1. UCSB went 1-2 in last season's conference series with Long Beach.

• Breaking Down The Bears
For their final two games of the Softball By The Beach Invitational, the Gauchos will face first-time opponent Northern Colorado. The Bears have gotten off to a 1-4 start on the season after participating in the UC Riverside Invitational over the weekend followed by a doubleheader with Loyola Marymount on Monday. Northern Colorado's lone win of the season came against San Jose State, 5-3 on Saturday. Its losses have come against UC Riverside (12-2), San Diego (9-0) and LMU (4-0 and 5-4). The Bears are currently led by freshman infielder Lauren Christianson who has hit .364 over five games and recorded two RBI and a run. Christianson also leads Northern Colorado with a .462 on-base percentage. Pitcher Shea Carpenter has collected a 0-3 record and a 7.94 ERA with 19 runs on 27 hits with 10 strikeouts while hurler Hillarie Van Otterloo has posted a 1-1 record with 14 runs allowed on 16 hits, striking out 12.

• Coming Soon
Next weekend the Gauchos will repeat as tourney hosts February 23-25, this time to the University of Texas San Antonio, Northern Illinois and Santa Clara.