Gauchos Kick Off Spring Break Action With Pair of Doubleheaders
March 23, 2009
Games No. 25-28
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
UCSB at No. 5 UCLA, 1 & 3 p.m.
at Easton Stadium
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
UCSB vs. Santa Clara, 12 & 2 p.m.
at Campus Diamond
The Opening Pitch
Coming off a two-game sweep over San Diego at home on March 11, the UC Santa Barbara softball team will play a pair of doubleheaders early this week to kick off its spring break action. The Gauchos will play a twin bill at No. 5 UCLA on Tuesday and will then return home on Wednesday to host Santa Clara in a pair of games at Campus Diamond. For tickets, call (805) 893-UCSB or click here.
After playing 22 contests on the road to open the season, UCSB finally opened at home on Mar. 11 with a doubleheader against San Diego. The Gauchos shutout the Toreros twice posting 2-0 and 8-0 victories. The second game marked UCSB's first mercy rule win of the season - the Gauchos won the game in six innings.
For The Record
UCSB currently holds a 13-11 overall record. Four of the Gauchos' losses have come to teams that were ranked at the time of the pairing or are now currently ranked in the NFCA/USA Today Top-25 Poll (Stanford, Washington, San Diego State and Ohio State).
Out Of Left Field
Senior Jackie Conlin had a standout showing during the doubleheader against San Diego. The left fielder hit .571 (4-for-7) across the two games and tallied two runs, an RBI and two doubles - the first extra base hits of her career. She is currently fourth on the team batting .298 overall with nine runs, six RBI and five stolen bases.
Stepping It Up
Conlin was not the only Gaucho with a breakout performance in the home opener, sophomore Katie McWhirter was stellar behind the plate. She hit .750 (3-for-4) with two runs and two RBI. In the first game of the doubleheader, she was 2-for-2 and drove in both of UCSB's runs.
Freshman Krista Cobb - who has already been named Big West Pitcher of the Week twice during her young career - leads the Gaucho pitching staff with her 7-3 record and 42 K's this season. She ranks fourth in the Big West Conference with a .214 opponent batting average and tenth with her 2.66 ERA. In the second game against San Diego, she tossed the complete six innings and allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out a season-high nine batters.
In The Circle With Mel
Junior MeLinda Matsumoto leads the Gaucho staff with her 2.61 ERA - ranking ninth in the conference. She has posted a 2-4 record in her 12 appearances and has struck out 24. In the first game against USD, she pitched a complete seven innings and allowed seven hits and one walk while striking out three. The shutout marked her first of the season and fifth of her career.
The Gauchos' back-to-back shutouts of San Diego two weeks ago marked the fourth and fifth time UCSB has held an opponent scoreless this season, already matching the shutout total from the 2008 season.
No. 5 UCLA enters this weekend with a 24-3 overall record and a 5-1 home mark. The Bruins are led by Kaila Shull who is batting .443 on the season with 37 RBI. Katie Schroeder is hitting .407 with 31 runs, nine homers and 23 RBI. In the circle, Donna Kerr has seen the most innings (101.2) and has posted a 13-3 record with a 2.27 ERA and 152 strikeouts.
Facing the Bruins
UCLA owns a 51-3 all-time record against the Gauchos and swept a doubleheader last season at Campus Diamond by way of 7-2 and 8-1 scores. UCSB's last win was at UCLA on Mar. 37, 2007 when the Gauchos stunned the Bruins with a 3-1 victory.
Scouting Santa Clara
Santa Clara holds a 5-21 record this season and has posted a 1-10 record on the road. Briana Knight leads the team batting .360 on the season with a team-leading 10 runs and 17 RBI. In the circle, Jenna Fong has a team-leading 7.03 ERA in 71.2 innings of work and has posted a 3-7 record. Kaitlyn Rauschnot owns a 8.95 ERA and a 1-11 record.
Facing the Broncos
UCSB leads the all-time series with Santa Clara, 29-3, and won the last pairing by way of an 8-6 score on Feb. 9, 2008.
No Sophomore Slump Here>
Sophomore infielder Jessica Beristianos is currently tied with Tiffany Wright with a team-leading 18 RBI - which is seventh in conference - and 11 extra-base hits (seven doubles, one triple and three home runs). She is batting .329 compared to her .260 average from last season. Currently, she is just one run, two doubles, one homer and five RBI away from tying her totals from 2008. She currently ranks fourth in the Big West in slugging percentage (.586), on-base percentage (.472) and doubles (7). She is also the conference's leading target, ranking first after being nailed by seven pitches and leads the Gauchos with 12 walks.
The Ramos Rundown
Senior Christine Ramos continues to lead the Gauchos with her .372 batting average and is tied for first on the team for hits (32) with Jessica Ziegler and runs (16) with Jessica Beristianos and Tiffany Wright. The second baseman leads the squad with 10 stolen bases on 11 attempts. A few weeks ago, she broke the school record for career hits and now has 215 and she is also on-pace to set the school batting record with her current four-year average of .350. This season, she has had hits in all but three games including 17 of the last 18 contests.
She's Got The Wright Stuff
Senior center fielder Tiffany Wright got off to a bit of a slow start in 2009, but has quickly picked up the pace and is now tied for fourth on the team with her .298 batting average and tied for first with her 16 runs and 18 RBI. She has had multiple hits in five of the last nine contests and multiple RBI on six occasions this season. The career home runs record holder for UCSB is just two homers shy of making the Big West's career top-10 list.
In the 2009 Big West Coaches Preseason Poll, the Gauchos were picked to finish third - tied with Cal Poly - out of the conference's eight teams. UCSB picked up one first-place vote while Long Beach State received the other seven. Cal State Fullerton was picked to finish second. The poll, however, isn't always the best indicator of how a season will end up. In 2008, UCSB was picked seventh in the preseason poll before taking second in conference.
The Gauchos have received votes in the NFCA/USA Today Top-25 Poll twice this season. The Gauchos were listed among "others receiving votes" in the Feb. 10 and Feb. 23 polls.
The Road To Regionals Begins
This weekend, UCSB will host UC Riverside in its conference-opener at Campus Diamond. The Gauchos will begin the quest for their first Big West Conference crown on Saturday with a doubleheader slated for a noon start. They will conclude the three-game series with a single game at noon on Sunday.
In its on-going effort to draw awareness to breast cancer and to promote its research, the UCSB Athletics Department will sponsor "Pink Week" at three of its athletics events on Mar. 28, 2009. Three UCSB intercollegiate events, scheduled for Saturday, Mar. 28, have been designated "Pink Week" games. The women's tennis match, slated for 11 a.m. on the Robertson Gymnasium Courts, a softball doubleheader scheduled to start at 12 p.m. on Campus Diamond, and a 12 p.m. women's water polo match at Campus Pool will all be part of the effort. "Pink Week" is part UCSB Athletics' BE Great initiative.
For a chance to catch all of the Gauchos' games at Campus Diamond this season, the UCSB Athletics Department is, for the first-time, offering season tickets. Ticket prices are $50 for adults, $40 seniors (55 and over) and $24 youth (13 and under) and include all 16 home contests. With the purchase of a season ticket, you will also receive a free UCSB visor. Call (805) 893-UCSB or click here to purchase tickets.
Youth teams are invited to Campus Diamond to be a part of the Softball Sidekicks program, hosted by UCSB. Teams can sign-up to participate in on-field activities, including taking the field with the Gauchos prior to the start of the game. Players and coaches can attend the game free of charge. Click here to sign up and for more information.