UCSB Hosts Gaucho Classic I with Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Southern Utah

Sierra Altmeyer (Photo by Scott Quintard)
Sierra Altmeyer (Photo by Scott Quintard)

The Schedule
Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. South Carolina
All-time record vs. Gamecocks: 2-1
Last time: W, 2-1 (3/10/93)
Live Stats

Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 at 10:30 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Georgia Tech
All-time record vs. Yellow Jackets: 1-0
Last time: W, 6-2 (3/10/00)
Live Stats

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. South Carolina
Live Stats

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Georgia Tech
Live Stats

Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 at 11:15 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Southern Utah
All-time record vs. Thunderbirds: 7-0
Last time: W, 10-1 (5 innings) (2/13/16)
Live Stats

Gaucho Classic I Preview
After spending the first two weeks on the road, UCSB will make its 2016 home debut with the Gaucho Classic I. The first of the Gauchos' two home tournaments this season will bring power-five schools Georgia Tech and South Carolina along with Southern Utah, who UCSB mercy-ruled earlier this season 10-1. The Gauchos have only played the Yellow Jackets once before in 2000 when UCSB won 6-2. The team's two match ups with the Gamecocks are also rare occasions, as they have only played each other three times before with their most recent game coming in 1993. And concerning the Thunderbirds, UCSB will be putting its perfect 7-0 series lead on the line when the teams play on Sunday. For more information on the Gaucho Classic I and its participating teams, please visit the Tournament Central Page. Tickets for the tournament are available now and can be purchased at the Ticketing Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building, over the phone at 805.893.UCSB (8272), or online.

Last Week
After facing three top-25 teams last weekend, UCSB finished with a 2-3 record at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. UCSB had a challenging slate with losses to No. 11 Washington 7-0 and No. 25 Texas A&M 13-5 (five innings). Despite those outcomes, the Gauchos put up their best fight of the weekend against No. 4 LSU, the highest-ranked team heading into the tournament. Against the Lady Tigers, UCSB fell just 5-2 and were tied at 1-1 before LSU took off with four runs in the bottom of the fifth. In that game, the Gauchos tallied 11 hits in the game, the most any team had posted on LSU at that point in the season.

Making History
Kristen Clark a team-high 10 hits at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, junior Kristen Clark has made history and took sole possession of ninth-place in UCSB history with 176 career hits. The junior has so far recorded a team high 17 hits with a .459 batting average. In her first two seasons, Clark tallied the most and third-most hits in a single season by a Gaucho with 90 (2014) and 69 (2015). She currently is seven hits shy of reaching seventh-place in the program's top-10. 

Making a First Impression
Leading UCSB's offensive charge in an offensively charged week one was freshman Sierra Altmeyer who was honored as this season's inaugural Big West Field Player of the Week. The first baseman finished the weekend with outstanding figures of a .647 batting average and a 1.176 slugging percentage. She also held team-highs of 11 hits, nine RBIs, two home runs, and three doubles. With the award, Altmeyer became the first Gaucho freshman to receive a conference weekly accolade since her teammate Kristen Clark in March 2014. She also joined Jennifer Davis (2004-07) and Kendra Wood (1997-00) as the only three freshmen in program history to earn a weekly award in their first week as a Gaucho.

Fresh Faces
Sierra Altmeyer and Melanie Menor are only freshmen, but have already taken on large roles for the Gauchos in the opening two weeks. Both have started every game with Altmeyer at first base and Menor at shortstop. Altmeyer also bats in the clean up spot for the Gauchos, and has found early success with team-leading figures of a .767 slugging percentage and a .467 batting average. The freshman has also tallied UCSB highs of 10 RBIs, three doubles, and eight walks. Menor has made fantastic plays at short this season, and so far is batting for .250 with seven hits and three runs.

Palomares Power
After being one of the most prolific doubles hitters in the Big West last year, Arianna Palomares picked up right where she left off and is leading the Gauchos with three doubles this year. Last weekend, the senior was second on the team with six hits and came through with a team-best three RBIs. Despite her 5-4 stature, Palomares continues to prove herself as one of the team's best power hitters with a .514 slugging percentage and four extra base hits.

Hits by Stacy
Batting primarily in the ninth spot, Stacy Cavazos has been one of UCSB's most productive hitters to start the season. Along with a solid .344 batting average, the Gauchos' center fielder is second on the roster with a .594 slugging percentage four extra base hits. She has clubbed two homers so far (tied with Altmeyer) and has also brought in eight RBIs.

Presason All-Big West Team
In January, College SportsMadness released its Preseason All-Big West team, which featured six Gauchos. Kristen Clark and MeShalon Moore were voted to the first team, while Jacqueline Hinojosa, Ashley Ludlow, and Arianna Palomares earned second team honors. It is Clark's second time being named a first teamer in the publication's preseason poll, while her teammates all made their debuts on this year's list. 

Preseason Poll
The Gauchos were selected to finish seventh in the Big West Coaches Preseason Poll. Long Beach State -- who edged out UCSB for the conference crown in 2014 -- was selected first with 62 points, including six of the possible eight first place votes. Cal State Fullerton (52) and Hawai'i (46) were voted to finish in second and third, respectively. As for the reigning champion Cal State Northridge, it was selected to finish in fourth after receiving 40 points.