March 7, 2006

UCSB Travels to Honolulu for Five Games at the Hawaii Spring Fling Tournament

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March 7, 2006

• The Schedule
Games No. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
The Hawaii Spring Fling Tournament Hosted by the University of Hawaii
at Honolulu, Hawaii

Wednesday, March 8, 2006
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Detroit Mercy Titans @ 10:00 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Penn State Nittany Lions @ 12:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 9, 2006
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UNLV Rebels @ 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Hawaii Rainbows @ 4:00 p.m.
Friday, March 10, 2006
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Longwood Lancers @ 10:00 a.m.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Tournament Bracket Play TBA

• The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters the Hawaii Spring Fling Tournament this week in Honolulu with an overall record of 9-7 after posting a 2-2 mark at the Worth Invitational March 3-5. After the Gauchos' opener with No. 16 Northwestern was rained out, they squared off with ninth-ranked Oregon State and, despite out-hitting the Beavers 6-4, were held scoreless in a 4-0 loss. UCSB swept both games Saturday, blanking Loyola University-Chicago 6-0, before defeating No. 5 Stanford 2-0 on a three-hit effort from Jennifer Davis, in their biggest win of the year. They were unable to match that performance Sunday, ending the tournament dropping a 5-3 decision to Purdue in eight innings. UCSB has a 7-7 record away from home so far this season.

• The Spring Fling Thing
For the third week in a row, the Gauchos will square off with some of the toughest teams in the nation when they travel to the Aloha State this week for the University of Hawaii's Spring Fling Tournament presented by Hawaiian Airlines. One week after facing two Top 10 programs in No. 5 Stanford and No. 9 Oregon State in Fullerton, Calif., UCSB will play four opponents with winning records. In addition to the Gauchos, Penn State, Longwood, UNLV, Detroit Mercy and host Hawaii will be participating in the four-day event that will feature bracket play on Saturday. More information about the tournament, including a full game schedule, can be found on the softball page at www.uhathletics.hawaii.edu

• Gutierrez, UCSB Roll Over LUC
After getting shutdown by Oregon State 4-0 Friday, UCSB was looking to bounce back against Loyola University-Chicago. They did just that. The Gauchos got on the board in the top first inning on an RBI single by Tiffany Wright and never looked back. They added two runs in the fourth, increasing their lead to 3-0 on a two-run double by Brittany Putich, as she picked up her first runs batted in of the season. Liz Walter's towering three-run homer in the sixth gave Santa Barbara its final 6-0 advantage. Ginger Gutierrez was nearly perfect in the circle, limiting the Ramblers to just one hit and a total of three base runners in the contest. She retired the final 18 batters in order, struck out three and walked one, earning her second career victory.

• JD Does It Again
As hard an act as Gutierrez was to follow, Jennifer Davis took the circle and turned in the best performance of her career against No. 5 Stanford Saturday afternoon. She completely shut down the Cardinal offense, holding them scoreless on just three hits in seven complete innings of work. She struck out nine batters and walked none, in what was undoubtedly the Gauchos' biggest win of 2006. For the second consecutive game, UCSB came out of the gates ready to play and got on the board in the first inning with an RBI single by Kendra Singley to take a 1-0 lead. Santa Barbara added another run in the fourth on a single up the middle by Brittany Putich and the Gauchos' final advantage increased to 2-0. The win was the Gauchos' first against a ranked opponent in 2006 in seven chances and first since they defeated Oregon State 6-1, February 5, 2005 at Campus Diamond.

• In Davis We Trust
While few things in life are certain, we do know one thing for sure about UCSB softball: Jennifer Davis is going to get the ball in the big games. The Whittier, Calif. native appeared in three of the Gauchos' four games last weekend, starting against Oregon State, Stanford and Purdue. She pitched a total of 21 innings, allowed nine runs and struck out 20, recording a record of 1-2 over the weekend. UCSB's ace picked up the win against No. 5 Stanford, shutting out the Cardinal on three hits in seven complete innings of work. She struck nine batters the best performance of her career. In fact, the junior has allowed two runs on six hits with 21 strikeouts in her last two victories. Davis is now 6-5 with an ERA of 2.58 with 79 strikeouts in 70.2 innings pitched in 2006. She has a total of 475 strikeouts and 35 wins for her career, which are third and fourth on the Career Top 10 List, respectively and has also moved into the eighth spot on the career innings pitched chart with 428.2. Davis has gone the distance in 10 of the 11 contests she has started and now ranks seventh all-time with 43 career complete games.

• Singled Out
Junior center fielder Kendra Singley has made a name for herself as one of the Gauchos' most consistent players and continues to produce big numbers offensively. Through 16 games, she leads the squad hitting .385 and has recorded a team-best 20 hits and nine runs batted in, including one round-tripper. After going 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI in the 10-1 victory over Ohio State two weeks ago, the Irvine, Calif. native turned in solid performances this weekend in Fullerton. She finished 2-for-3 against the ninth-ranked Beavers, drove in a run and scored against the Ramblers and brought in Santa Barbara's first run of the game in the 2-0 win over the fifth-ranked Cardinal. Singley now has 12 career homeruns, which ranks fifth on the all-time career chart, while her 66 RBI rank sixth.

• Hej-Day
Junior left fielder Jessica Hejna became one of the squads' top offensive threats in the second half last year and has bolstered the Gauchos lineup throughout 2006, as well. Through 16 games she is hitting .298 with five runs, three triples, a double and six RBI. The Orange, Calif. native leads the team in three-baggers, is third in both batting average and runs batted in and ranks fourth in runs scored. She is also leads the squad with six sacrifices. Hejna was the catalyst in the 10-1 mercy rule victory over UMASS February 10, turning in a 3-for-3 performance with three runs, a walk and a career-high four RBI. She went 2-for-4 and scored in the Gauchos' 6-0 win over Loyola-Chicago.

• Wright On Time
Freshman Tiffany Wright has filled the void left at first base with the departure of All-Big West slugger Lindsey Herrin nicely, starting all 16 games at the three spot. After hitting a very impressive .583 (7-for-12) in the five games during the Palm Springs Classic two weeks ago, she followed up with a good showing in Fullerton. The Corona, Calif. native is second on the squad after her average continued to rise, now at .348, and also ranks second with eight RBI and three doubles., while leading the team with two homers. Wright went 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI against Loyola Chicago and scored one of the two runs in the win over Stanford. She immediately made her presence felt at UCSB, hitting a homerun in her first game as a Gaucho February 9 and has followed with many solid performances, including a 3-for-3, two RBI effort against No. 10 Oklahoma February 25.

• Hansen-ly Rewarded
Sophomore catcher Ericka Hansen has been another newcomer that has solidified her place in the starting lineup with consistent production. She is fifth on the team hitting .250 with four runs, two doubles and five runs batted in. The San Clemente, Calif. native had a career-high three RBI in the Palm Springs Classic opener against Ohio State February 25 after hitting a bases loaded triple in the fourth inning. She has also proved to be a player that can be counted on in big situations after her performance against San Diego State February 24, when she hit the game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh in the bottom of the seventh inning.

• The Need For Speed
One thing that head coach Kristy Schroeder's Gauchos uncharacteristically lacked in 2005 was a true leadoff hitter. She has found one in freshman second baseman Christine Ramos. Ramos currently boasts a .264 batting average, which ranks fourth on the squad and leads the way with 13 runs scored and three stolen bases. The Long Beach, Calif. native got at least one hit in three out of the four games this weekend, including a 2-for-3 performance in the win over the Cardinal. She also scored what became the winning run as the Gauchos defeated the No. 5 Stanford.

• Walters' Waltz
Junior right fielder and designated player Liz Walters got her first start since February 18 over the weekend and made a strong case for a more permanent spot in the lineup. In three starts against Loyola-Chicago, Stanford and Purdue, she hit .250 with five RBI and came up big twice. Her three-run homer in the sixth inning against LUC gave the Gauchos a six run lead and put the game out of reach, while her two run double, also in the sixth, tied the game with Purdue at three. The Orange, Calif. native is hitting .222 in seven games this season.

• She's Got Game
Ginger Gutierrez has emerged as very dependable pitcher in the second spot of UCSB's rotation and continues to improve with each appearance. A week after looking very impressive in her first career start against Ohio State, in which she limited the Buckeyes to one run on six hits, and earned the complete game victory, the junior transfer from Ventura College got the nod against Loyola-Chicago and gave an even better performance. Gutierrez hushed the Rambler offense, allowing a total of one hit and three base runners in the Gauchos' 6-0 win. She struck out three, walked one and retired the final 18 batters in order in only her third career start. Gutierrez is 2-1 on the year, leads the squad with an ERA of 2.46 and has also amassed 20 strikeouts in 31.1 innings pitched.

• The Kristy Schroeder File
Kristy Schroeder is in her fifth 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 has been immeasurable, as she has turned what once was a very mediocre program into one of the top squads in the conference each and every year. 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. Schroeder notched her 100th victory as head coach at UCSB February 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--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 Schroeder 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 seven seasons as head coach at UCSB and Division II Truman State, Schroeder has a career record of 261-152-1 (.630), while her mark with the Gauchos is 128-118 (.520).

• Titan Talk
Detroit Mercy will kick off the 2006 season this weekend with the Spring Fling Tournament. Led by two-time All-League First Team selection Kristin Martin and senior co-captains Katrina Klemp and Lindsay Roy, the Titans are coming off an 18-28 campaign last year. UDM returns 12 letterwinners and eight starters from the 2005 squad that reached the semifinals of the Horizon League Championship. Wednesday's matchup marks the first-ever meeting between the Gauchos and the Titans.

• Lion Lowdown
In their second game of this weekend's tournament, the Gauchos square off with Penn State. The Nittany Lions sport a 8-3 record after defeating Hawaii 5-0 Monday in Honolulu. Senior third baseman Destinie Chavez paces the PSU offense batting .400 with 10 hits and 5 RBI, while sophomore shortstop Jen Acunto has one homer and has driven in eight. In the circle, sophomore Jenn Reynolds has not allowed a run in three starts, owns a 3-0 record and has recorded 19 strikeouts in 18.1 innings pitched. UCSB leads the overall series between the two programs 2-0 and their last meeting was way back in 1990.

• Rebel Yell
Next up for Santa Barbara will be UNLV on Thursday. The Rebels have an 11-10 record after defeating Southern Utah 5-4 in the final game of last weekend's UNLV Invitational. Las Vegas is led by sophomore first baseman Shannon Crisp, who is batting .370 with five doubles, two homeruns and seven RBI. Freshman pitcher Christie Robinson is a force in the circle with an ERA of 1.71, a 4-2 record and 59 strikeouts 57.1 innings pitched. UNLV leads the overall series with UCSB 35-17, although the Gauchos won the last meeting 5-4 in 2002.

• Rainbow Rhetoric
The Spring Fling Tournament continues Thursday with host Hawaii on the slate. The Rainbows enter this weekend's competition with a record of 9-8 after falling 5-0 at the hands of Penn State Monday night. Hawaii is led by junior first baseman Tyleen Tausaga, who was named the WAC Player of the Week after hitting .444 with two homeruns and six RBI during last weekend's Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament. On the year, she is hitting .370 with five homeruns and 16 RBI and leads the team in all three categories. Freshman Justine Smethurst is the squad's top pitcher, with an ERA of 3.02 in 51 innings of work. She has a 5-3 record and 38 strikeouts on the year. Hawaii leads the all-time series 39-15 after defeating the Gauchos 5-1 at the 2001 Hawaii Invitational in their last meeting.

• Lancer Livewire
The Gauchos conclude the Hawaii Spring Fling with Longwood on Friday before entering tournament bracket play. The Lancers have a record of 9-7 coming off the East Carolina Tournament last weekend where they went 4-2. Longwood is led by sophomore outfielder Caitlin Hooe, who is batting a team-high .354 with seven runs and three RBI. Sophomore hurler Rachel Mills has shouldered most of the work in the circle, compiling a 7-6 record, a 1.25 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 72.2 innings pitched. The Gauchos won the lone previous meeting with the Lancers, taking a 3-2 decision in last year's San Diego State Softball Classic.

• Probable Gaucho Starters - Notes
C - Ericka Hansen - Hit a bases loaded triple and scored in the 10-1 win over Ohio State February 24
1B - Tiffany Wright - Leads the Gauchos with two homers and is second in batting at .348
2B - Christine Ramos - Team leader with 13 runs scored
SS - Brittany Putich - Went 1-for-2 with a run and drove in two against Loyola-Chicago
3B - Shelby Hensler - Drove in two against Ohio State February 24 on a bases loaded single
LF - Jessica Hejna - Leads squad with three triples and six sacrifices
CF - Kendra Singley - Hitting a team-best .385 with nine RBI this season
RF - Liz Walters - Hit a three run homer against Loyola-Chicago
DP - Danielle Meyers - Went 1-for-3 in her first start at third base vs. Purdue
P - Jennifer Davis - Gaucho ace has a 6-5 record, with 2.58 ERA and 79 strikeouts

• Gaucho Reserves - Notes
C - Brenda Lira - Started 22 games behind the plate last year
1B - Dani Baltazar - Made her first appearance of 2006 as a pinch hitter against LUC
2B - Lauren Augino - Hit .350 with seven homers at West Covina HS in 2005
3B - Tisha Duran - Was the 2005 WSC Player of the Year at Ventura College
OF - Nicole Churnock - Started twelve games in right field in 2006
UT - Adrienne Anderson - Notched her first-career at-bat against Rider February 18
UT - Jackie Conlin - Went 1-for-3 in her first career start against LUC
P - Ginger Gutierrez - Earned her second win after tossing a one hitter against the Ramblers
P - Tami Weston - Earned her first career victory against Rider February 18

• Road Warriors?
The verdict is still out on whether or not the Gauchos can win a majority of their games on the road. This is critical to their success in 2006 because of the 50 games on the schedule, 35 of those will be played outside of sunny--or rainy, as of late--Santa Barbara. That means that UCSB will play a total of 15 games within the friendly confines of Campus Diamond, where they went 14-8 in 2005. The Gauchos, who posted a 12-14 record on the road last season, are 7-7 away from home so far in 2006. Santa Barbara is a perfect 2-0 at home, good enough for a 9-7 overall record.

• Finally Getting Over the Top (25)
UCSB is in the midst of yet another challenging non-conference slate in 2006. The Gauchos' schedule includes a total of 14 opponents that advanced to the Big Dance in 2005 and six of those teams earned seeds in last year's softball championships. Santa Barbara has been tested all season long and has faced some of the nation's top programs from the get go, including seven foes ranked in the Top 25. Entering this weekend's games the Gauchos were a perfect 7-0 against unranked teams, but winless is seven tries against ranked squads. They finally got the monkey off their back by shutting out No. 5 Stanford 2-0 in Fullerton. Not only did the Gauchos snap that streak, but they did it in a big way, finally getting over that hump against the highest ranked opponent they have faced this season. On the flip side of that coin, the Gauchos' loss to Purdue this weekend was their first to an unranked squad in 2006.

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