UCSB Continues Conference Play With Three Game Series at Pacific this Weekend

UCSB Continues Conference Play With Three Game Series at Pacific this Weekend

April 4, 2007

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• The Schedule
Games No. 32, 33, 34
At Bill Simoni Field (500)

Friday, April 6, 2007
UC Santa Barbara (20-11) at Pacific (24-12), 12:00 & 2:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 7, 2007
UC Santa Barbara at Pacific, 12:00 p.m.

• The Week Ahead
UC Santa Barbara will hit the road this weekend as they continue Big West Conference play at Pacific on Friday and Saturday. The Gauchos will take on the Tigers in a three game series with a doubleheader set to begin at noon on Friday followed by a single game at noon on Saturday. The series will be the second conference series for the Gauchos, but will serve as the Big West opener for Pacific.

• An Update: Gauchos Swept By Fullerton In Big West Opening Series
After coming off of an impressive 3-1 upset over No. 11 ranked UCLA last Tuesday, the UCSB softball team failed to carry its momentum into its Big West Conference opening series against defending champions Cal State Fullerton, dropping three games to the Titans. The Gauchos captured an early 1-0 lead in game one at the bottom of the fourth, but Fullerton tied the game in the sixth sending the game into extra innings. The Titans scored two runs in the tenth and took the 3-1 victory. The Gauchos struggled in the second game and fell 11-4, marking their biggest margin of loss this season. On Sunday, the Titans completed the sweep after shutting out the Gauchos, 5-0.

• For The Record
With the weekend's three losses, UCSB fell to 20-11 on the season and is now 0-3 in Big West play. The Gaucho home record has dropped to 11-5. Last weekend marked the first time during the 2007 season that Santa Barbara has recorded back-to-back losses making its current three-game losing skid its longest of the season. UCSB is currently ranked third in the Big West for its overall winning percentage (.645) but is tied with UC Riverside for last with its 0-3 conference mark. Fullerton and Cal Poly lead the conference with 3-0 Big West records after the first weekend of play.

• Century Club
Senior Jennifer Davis brought her season strikeout count to 100 this weekend after fanning 17 Fullerton batters. The pitcher pitched all 10 innings in game one versus the Titans and allowed three earned runs on six hits while walking three and striking out 11, marking the fourth game this season she has posted double-digit strikeouts. Davis also pitched a complete game allowing five runs on four hits, walking six and striking out six in the series finale. With the two losses, Davis' record falls to 4-8 on the season. The Whittier, Calif. native did have a big win earlier last week when she threw 5.1 innings allowing just one hit, walking two and striking out six in the Gauchos 3-1 victory over No. 11 UCLA. Davis, UCSB's career strikeout leader, currently has 730 career strikeouts making her the only Gaucho to tally 700 or more. Sixty-eight fanned batters stand between Davis and the Big West career strikeout record of 798, which was set by Cal Poly's Desarie Knipfer in 1998. UCSB's ace holds a conference-leading ERA of 1.49 and a .148 opponent's batting average. At the plate, Davis is hitting .231 overall and hit .250 last weekend with a three-run homer in game two versus the Titans.

• Checking Up On Churnock
Junior outfielder Nicole Churnock led the team during the series versus Fullerton hitting .333. Churnock was the only Gaucho to have a hit in each of the weekend's games. The Orange, Calif. native was also a solid presence in the outfield especially in the sixth inning of game three when Churnock accounted for three consecutive putouts. The junior is currently fifth on the team batting .250 overall and is fielding a perfect 1.000 on the year.

• The Dish On Tish
Junior third basemen Tisha Duran has been a consistent force at the plate for the Gauchos this season and was third on the team batting .200 last weekend. Duran was 1-for-3 with a run in game two versus the Titans and also had a hit in game one. She is currently second on the team hitting .308 with a team-leading eight doubles (which ranks in the conference top-10) and 18 RBI. The Ventura, Calif. native has had hits in 20 of the Gauchos' 31 games this season and has posted six multi-hit games. The junior is also second on the team with 19 runs scored.

• The Ramos Rundown
Sophomore second basemen Christine Ramos stretched her hit streak to a season-high eight games after going 1-for-4 with a run during Saturday's first game. Unfortunately her streak came to a halt during game two of the series before she went 1-for-4 on Sunday. The Long Beach, Calif. native has had hits in 23 of the Gauchos' 31 games this season, including 14 multiple hit games. The leadoff hitter leads the Gauchos hitting .386 on the season and also has collected 22 runs with a .431 on-base percentage. A 2006 All-Big West Conference Second Team honoree, Ramos ranks in the conference top-10 for batting average, OB%, runs scored, hits (39), stolen bases (9) and steal attempts (10).

• Matsumoto Matters
Pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto dropped only her second game of the season in Saturday's 11-4 loss to Fullerton. The freshman pitcher struggled through 4.1 innings against the Titans, allowing six runs on 10 hits while walking one and fanning one. Matsumoto is now 9-2 on the year and has a season ERA of 2.82 with an opponent's batting average of .272. Her nine wins are the fourth most in the Big West so far this season and three of Matsumoto's victories this season have been by way of shutout.

• Hurler Hype
After leading the conference for several weeks with their combined ERA, the Gaucho pitching staff dropped to second in the Big West behind Cal Poly with their 2.02 ERA. UCSB continues to lead the conference with an opposing batting average of .197. The Gaucho staff has allowed the fewest runs (76), earned runs (62), hits (152) and homeruns (15). In addition to Davis and Matsumoto, hurlers Lindsey Correa and Tami Weston have contributed to the Gauchos' depth in the circle. Correa currently has an ERA of 2.89 and has recorded a 5-1 record with three shutout wins and is tied second on the team with 24 strikeouts. The freshman is fifth in the Big West with an opponent's batting average of .215. Rounding out the Gaucho staff is sophomore Weston who is 2-0 on the season with a 0.34 ERA in her four appearances. The Ventura, Calif. native has struck out 19 batters and has an opponent's batting average of .138.

• Honing In On Hejna
Senior Jessica Hejna went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI in Tuesday's victory over UCLA, but like many of her teammates, she struggled at the plate over the weekend collecting just one hit against the Titans on Sunday. The Orange, Calif. native is currently third on the team hitting .289 on the season with a .373 slugging percentage and a .372 on-base percentage. Hejna also leads the team with 16 sacrifice hits on the year, which ranks third in the Big West. The 5'2" first basemen has also been a force defensively as she holds a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage while leading the conference in chances (244) and putouts (229).

• Putich Power
Senior shortstop Brittany Putich had a 2-for-4 showing along with a stolen base at UCLA on Tuesday and went 1-for-3 with a run in game two against the Titans. The Whittier, Calif. native is seventh on the team hitting .211 and is third with 13 RBI. She also has gone 6-for-8 in stolen base attempts.

• She's Got The Wright Stuff
Sophomore outfielder Tiffany Wright pitched in a 2-for-3 performance accompanied by a stolen base in the Gauchos' win over the Bruins, but was just 1-for-9 over the weekend with a run and an RBI. The Corona, Calif. native is fourth on the team hitting .274 overall and is tied for first on the team with 10 extra base hits: six doubles, one triple and three home runs. She is second on the team with 17 RBI and is second with seven stolen bases. Hitting in the clean-up spot for the Gauchos, Wright has had hits in 18 of the 31 games played this season including six multi-hit games.

• In the Dugout With Coach Schroeder
Kristy Schroeder is in 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. 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, Schroeder has a career record of 296-178-1 (.627) and with the Gauchos is 163-144 (.536).

• Probable Gaucho Starters - Notes
C - Ericka Hansen - Hitting .171 on the season, has caught 13 runners stealing.
1B - Jessica Hejna - Third on team batting .289, leads team with 16 sac bunts.
2B - Christine Ramos - Leads the team hitting .386 on the year with 22 runs scored.
SS - Brittany Putich - Hitting .211 on the season, is third with 13 RBI.
3B - Tisha Duran - Second on team batting .289 on the season, leads team with 18 RBI.
LF - Nicole Churnock - Led the team hitting .333 on the weekend with a hit in each game.
CF - Tiffany Wright - Hitting .274 with 10 extra-base hits and 17 RBI.
RF - Liz Walters - Hitting .141 tied with team-high three homers on the year.
P - Jennifer Davis - Leads the Big West with 1.49 ERA and .148 opponent's batting average.
DP - Danielle Meyers - Hitting .122 with nine RBI and two homeruns.

• Poll Watch
Since receiving votes four weeks ago in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Softball Poll, the Gauchos have yet to reappear on the list. Santa Barbara received votes in the Feb. 13 ESPN.com poll, but have yet to be ranked in either poll's Top 25. Conference foe Cal Poly has received votes in both of this week's polls and Cal State Fullerton has garnered votes in the ESPN.com poll. UCSB has gone 3-3 this season against teams ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll including last Tuesday's win over No. 11 UCLA.

• Taming The Tigers
Pacific went 3-1 last week with a win over Cal on Wednesday, which it followed up with two wins over UC Davis. The Tigers dropped game one with the Aggies, 9-3, before taking the next two games by way of 4-3 and 5-2 scores. Pacific is now 24-12 on the season and holds a perfect 5-0 home record. Gina Carbanatto leads the Tigers hitting .448 on the season with a team-leading 42 runs along with 32 RBI. Four other Pacific players are all hitting above .300 on the season and the team is batting .309 collectively. Pitcher Chelsea Engle leads the Tiger staff with her 13-8 record and her 3.16 ERA. She holds an opponent's batting average of .235 and has struck out 95 batters this season. Pacific leads the all-time series with the Gauchos, 53-34 and the Tigers won the series in 2006 two games to one.

• Coming Soon
The Gauchos will take a break from conference play next week when they head to Fresno State for a doubleheader on Tuesday, April 10 to be played at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. Santa Barbara will then return home to host future Big West foe UC Davis in a three-game series on April 14 and 15. Saturday will feature a doubleheader scheduled to begin at noon and the series will conclude on Sunday with another noon match-up.