Smith Field – Los Angeles, Calif.
Thursday, Mar. 14, 2019 at 9:00 a.m.
No. 3 Oklahoma (20-2) vs. UC Santa Barbara (5-16)
All-Time Series Record: 0-5
Thursday, Mar. 14, 2019 at 11:30 a.m.
Loyola Marymount (12-9) vs. UC Santa Barbara (5-16)
All-Time Series Record: 21-19
Friday, Mar. 15, 2019 at 10:15 a.m.
Illinois (12-4) vs. UC Santa Barbara (5-16)
All-Time Series Record: 0-1
Friday, Mar. 15, 2019 at 2:45 p.m.
California Baptist (8-13) vs. UC Santa Barbara (5-16)
All-Time Series Record: 0-0
Bulldog Classic Recap
UC Santa Barbara went 1-5 at the Fresno State Bulldog Classic last weekend. The Gauchos pulled out a 7-5 win on Friday over California Baptist, who they play this week as well. UCSB tied a season-best with five different players tallying multiple hits, putting up runs in five consecutive innings to end the game. Freshman Ally Nodohara's pair of RBIs late in the game proved to be the difference, as she hit a solo homer in the sixth and brought fellow freshman Tyler Goldstein home in the seventh for the Gauchos' final run of the game. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, they would suffer losses to Fresno State, Montana, North Dakota and CBU the rest of the weekend, despite outhitting their opponents in three out of the five defeats.
Another Busy Week
Once again, UCSB is scheduled for six games this week, beginning with a Tuesday noon doubleheader at home against Western Carolina (8-10). This will be just the third and fourth home games of the year for the Gauchos, which had the majority of their Gaucho Classic rained out two weekends ago. On Thursday, they head to the LMU Tournament in Los Angeles, Calif. for games against No. 3 Oklahoma (9:00 am) and Loyola Marymount (11:30 am). The Gauchos will close their week on Friday, with games against Illinois (10:15 am) and CBU (2:45 pm).
Fabian's Hot Start Continues
Sophomore outfielder Sammy Fabian continues to be remarkably consistent for the Gauchos, as she takes an eight-game hit streak into this week. Fabian has had at least two hits in three straight outings, and in 12 of her 21 games so far this year. She currently leads the Big West with 33 hits, nearly double what any other Gaucho has produced. Her .452 batting average and .481 on base percentage rank third and fifth in the conference, respectively. She also leads UCSB in runs (9), doubles (4), stolen bases (4) and slugging (.507).
Perennial All-League Selection
Senior infielder Sierra Altmeyer 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). Despite missing the Gauchos' last nine games, the San Diego, Calif. native is still tied for the team-lead with eight walks, and has an outstanding .512 on base percentage. She was batting at a career-best .375 clip before coming out of the lineup.
First-year Gauchos Tyler Goldstein and Teah Thies have made an impact for UCSB through the first month of their freshman seasons. No Gaucho has recorded more RBI this season than Thies, who is tied with sophomore outfielder Rayna Cohen with eight. Trailing right behind her are Goldstein and junior infielder Genesis Ramirez with six, while no other Gaucho has more than three. Goldstein's slash line of .321/.403/.358 ranks third on the team across the board, while her 17 hits are tied for second.
Ally Nodohara and Genesis Ramirez both hit home runs at the Bulldog Classic, the first two of the season for the Gauchos. Nodohara's solo blast against CBU – the first hit of her career – ended a run of 17 straight games without a homer dating back to last May. Ramirez's home run came in the top of the sixth inning during Sunday's rematch against CBU. It was the third of her career.
When the Gauchos have gotten out to fast starts this year, they have been able to come away with wins. In games where they scored first, they have a 4-1 record. When they put up a run in the first inning, they are 4-2. UCSB has yet to let a lead slip away, going 4-0 when leading after the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Stringing Those Hits
UCSB has struggled to put up runs this season, averaging just 2.5 per game, but it hasn't been for a lack of hitting efficiency. As a team, the Gauchos have batted at a .268 clip, good for fourth in the Big West. Their 148 hits and 7.05 hits per game rank third in the conference. However, their 25 extra base hits and 45 walks rank last. Since opening the year with three consecutive double-digit hit totals, UCSB has reached double-figures just once in the last 12 games. The Gauchos have recorded double-digit hits in four of their last 16 outings, but have gone just 1-3 in such games over that span.
Santa Barbara's defense has given up five runs or fewer in 12 of 21 games, with the pitching trio of Veronika Gulvin, Felisha Noriega and Emily Schuttish combining for a 3.88 ERA, good for the fifth-lowest in the conference. Their combined 4.62 strikeouts per seven innings are good for fifth. Noriega owns the team's lowest ERA of 3.04, placing her at No. 9 among Big West pitchers. She also leads the team with a 4-6 record thus far. Gulvin meanwhile currently holds the UCSB-high with 5.10 K/7, placing her sixth in the conference.
Three of the Gauchos' five wins this season came with at least a three-run margin of victory, with the 3-1 win over Army and 7-5 win over CBU being the only exceptions. Close games haven't been a friend to UCSB so far this season though, as the Gauchos enter the weekend with a 2-7 mark in games decided by two runs or fewer. UCSB did win its only extra innings game so far though, going off for five eighth-inning runs in an 11-6 win over Montana during opening weekend.
Originally scheduled to have played in 28 games by this point in the year, UCSB has completed just 21 contests, with games against Nevada, Santa Clara, Utah, Bowling Green, Cal and Pacific all being canceled due to rain and poor field conditions.
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).