SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – With UCSB wrapping up postseason play at the NISC Tournament, five Gauchos have been voted to the All-Big West team, the conference announced Wednesday morning.
Sophomore second baseman Sierra Altmeyer was named All-Big West for the second consecutive season, earning her first career First Team selection. Senior outfielder Kristen Clark, junior outfielder Jessica Johnston, sophomore pitcher Veronika Gulvin and freshman infielder Alyssa Diaz were all named to the Second Team. Diaz was also named to the All-Freshman Team.
This marks the second consecutive season that UCSB has had five all-conference selections.
Altmeyer becomes the Gauchos' sole representative on the First Team after leading the team this season in a number of offensive categories, including runs (37), home runs (9), walks (30), batting average (.357), on base percentage (.460) and slugging percentage (.630). She finished the season with 17 multi-hit games.
The San Diego, California native had a number of outstanding performances this season, but had perhaps her best moment facing No. 20 Missouri back on Feb. 26. After UCSB had trailed 5-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Altmeyer smashed her second homer of the day – a two-run walk-off winner – to give the Gauchos their first win over top 25 opponent in over five years.
Kristen Clark (Second Team) becomes just the fifth Gaucho ever to earn an all-conference selection in four consecutive years. She ends her career with two First Team selections, two Second Team selections and one Honorable Mention All-Pacific Region.
Clark began this season with a streak of eight straight games with a hit. She would go on to have four different five-game streaks with at least one hit. She led the team with 63 hits and 13 stolen bases in the regular season.
Since arriving in 2014, Clark has not stopped breaking records. As a freshman, she set the UCSB records for single-season hits (90) and batting average (.437). She entered this year's postseason atop the Gaucho record books in career hits (294) and batting average (.378) and second in program history in runs (136) and stolen bases (64). She also ranks No. 2 all-time for hits in Big West history and is the only Gaucho to ever hit over .400 in multiple seasons.
Johnston, Diaz and Gulvin all earned their first career selections after being named to the Second Team.
After stepping up her game in her junior year, Johnston would go on to tie for the team-lead with 33 RBIs, consistently making clutch plays down the stretch of games. She finished the regular season ranking second on the team in runs (32), hits (61), home runs (5), batting average (.343), on base percentage (.381) and slugging percentage.
The Studio City, California native made a number of big plays this year, none bigger than her grand slam against Big West champ Cal State Fullerton (May 12), erasing a 3-0 deficit in the bottom of the sixth on the way to a 4-3 win. Johnston was the only Gaucho this season to earn Big West Field Player of the Week honors (Apr. 17). She also nabbed game-winning two-run hits late on in a 2-1 win over Fresno State (Apr. 19) and a 2-0 win over UC Davis (May 6).
In her first year as UCSB's top pitcher, Gulvin would pitch four of UCSB's six shutouts this season, finishing the year with 17 wins, good for fourth-most in the Big West. She also ends the year ranked third in the conference in innings pitched (204) and complete games (16), while her 1.92 ERA was the ninth-best mark during conference play.
Diaz earns both All-Big West Second Team and All-Freshman recognition after an outstanding freshman season. The South El Monte, California native led the Big West with 16 doubles this year, while tying Johnston for a UCSB-high 33 RBIs.
The first baseman had three RBIs in three different games this season, including a career-high four in UCSB's 11-0 win over UC Riverside (Apr. 9). She also finished the season with a hit in 11 of her last 12 games.
*All stats accurate as of May 15, 2017