Gauchos Host Fullerton to Open Big West Play

Jessica Soria (Photo by Tony Mastres)

• This Week
Saturday, March 23, 2013 at Noon

Cal State Fullerton Titans at UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
UCSB's Campus Diamond

Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.
Cal State Fullerton Titans at UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
UCSB's Campus Diamond

Sunday, March 24, 2013 at Noon
Cal State Fullerton Titans at UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
UCSB's Campus Diamond

• Now It's For Real
UC Santa Barbara opens Big West Conference play this weekend with a three-game series against perennial conference power Cal State Fullerton.  The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday and a single game on Sunday at UCSB's Campus Diamond.

• The Record
The Gauchos enter league play with a 19-8 record.  The mark is the second best among the 10 conference schools.  Only Hawai'i at 22-7 has a better mark.  Fullerton enters the weekend series at 13-16.

• Recent Action
UCSB is coming off a series win at Santa Clara.  After dropping the first game by a 1-0 score in eight innings on Friday, the Gauchos bounced back for a six-inning 10-1 win in the first game on Saturday and then a 1-0 shutout win in the second game.  Santa Barbara has won four of its last five games and is 10-3 over its last 13.  The 11 games over the .500 mark are a season-high.

• The Wisdom Of Double-Duty
Sophomore Shelby Wisdom continues to carry quite a load for the Gauchos.  The native of Elk Grove, Calif., who set numerous school pitching records in 2012, is off to an outstanding start in the circle and the batters box in 2013.  As a pitcher, Wisdom has 11 of the team's 19 wins.  She is 11-6 with a 2.12 earned run average and she has 84 strikeouts in 92.1 innings.  Offensively, she is hitting .333 with eight doubles, three home runs and a team-leading 25 RBI. 

• Senior Moments
UCSB's 2013 roster has just two seniors, but the duo has proven to be pretty dynamic through the early portion of the team's schedule.  Center fielder Jessica Soria is providing the Gauchos with a dynamic leadoff hitter.  She is batting .358 while leading the team in hits with 34, runs scored with 25 and stolen bases with 17.  In fact, Soria has stolen 17 bases in just 19 attempts.  Keilani Jennings, on the other hand, has been one of Santa Barbara's primary power sources.  She leads the team with five home runs and is third with five doubles.  Jennings has also produced 20 RBI, second on the team.

• Some Fresh Faces
The seniors are definitely having their day, but there are some freshmen chipping in as well.  Offensively, left fielder Arianna Palomares has been a standout.  She has started all 27 games and while batting in the No. 2 spot in the order, leads the team with a batting average of .365 and an on base percentage of .429.  Palomares has also contributed 10 extra base hits, including one home run.  Freshman pitcher Alex Pingree has added another solid arm to the Gauchos' arsenal.  Pingree has posted a 3-1 record and leads the team in earned run average at 1.92.  She's made eight starts and appeared in 11 games.  She has also posted one save.