Gauchos Travel to Florida for Citrus Classic II

Genesis Ramirez (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Genesis Ramirez (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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The Schedule
Citrus Classic II
ESPN Wide World of Sports - Kissimmee, Fla.

Friday, Mar. 2, 2018 at 11:30 a.m. PT
UC Santa Barbara vs. Florida International
All-Time Series Record: 1-1
Last Meeting: Feb. 17, 2002 - FIU def. UCSB, 7-2

Friday, Mar. 2, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. PT
UC Santa Barbara vs. Troy
All-Time Series Record: First Meeting

Saturday, Mar. 3, 2018 at 12:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Niagara
All-Time Series Record: First Meeting

Saturday, Mar. 3, 2018 at 2:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Binghamton
All-Time Series Record: 1-0
Last Meeting: Feb. 19, 2016 - UCSB def. BU, 2-0

Sunday, Mar. 4, 2018 at 6:00 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Massachusetts
All-Time Series Record: 2-0
Last Meeting: Feb. 9, 2007 - UCSB def. UMass, 8-6

UCSB Splits Games at Gaucho Classic I
The UC Santa Barbara softball team split the competition at the annual Gaucho Classic I held at Campus Diamond last weekend. On the first day of action, UCSB split a doubleheader with Dayton, dropping the first game 8-5, before bouncing back to rout the Flyers 8-0 in six innings.  Freshman leadoff hitter Sammy Fabian highlighted the first day of action with a 7-for-8 day at the plate, while Melanie Menor blasted a homerun. On Saturday, UCSB won an extra-inning thriller over San Diego, 5-4, after rallying to tie the game in the seventh, before a Rayna Cohen hit a walk-off sac fly to score Maci Fines in the eighth. On Sunday morning, USD got its revenge with a 3-2, extra inning victory of its own. 

Citrus Classic II Preview
This weekend, the Gauchos travel to Kissemmee, Fla. for the Citrus Classic II, held at ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. UCSB will take on Florida International on Friday, Mar. 2 at 11:30 a.m. to kick things off before playing the programs first ever game against Troy later that afternoon. UCSB will also play Niagara for the first time in history on Saturday before rounding out the tournament with games against Binghamton and Massachusetts.

By the Numbers
Through 15 games thus far, UCSB is batting .287 (120-for418), good for fourth best in the Big West Conference, while averaging an even four runs per game. The Gauchos have seven homeruns and 35 extra base hits along with a .346 on-base percentage and a .414 slugging percentage. Opponents have scored 5.2 runs per game against UCSB. The Gauchos' pitching staff has a 3.51 ERA as a group, having allowed 52 earned runs in 103.2 innings pitched with 55 strikeouts. 

Streak Alert
Freshman left fielder Sammy Fabian and sophomore catcher Genesis Ramirez are both riding six game hitting streaks as UCSB begins play at the Citrus Classic II, putting them one away from tying Alyssa Diaz's hitting streak of seven games, set earlier this year. Additionally, Ramirez has also reached base in seven straight, tying her for team-high honors with Rayna Cohen and Diaz, who reached in seven straight earlier in the season. 

Fabulous Freshmen
Freshmen Sammy Fabian and Rayna Cohen have enjoyed early success in their collegiate careers, as they are two of the top four hitters for the Gauchos, statistically speaking. Fabian leads the team and ranks fourth in the Big West with a .433 batting average (13-for-30) while Cohen is fourth on the team with a .333 average (15-for-45) while ranking second with 11 RBIs. Freshman Maci Fines has also started in all 15 games for UCSB, primarily in centerfield, and leads the team with a pair of triples while ranking second with eight runs scored. 

Sensational Sophomores
Sophomore catcher Genesis Ramirez has been on a tear to start the 2018 season, batting .412 (14-for-34) to rank second on the team, to go along with a team-high 10 runs scored. Sophomore first basemen Alyssa Diaz has also enjoyed early success, batting .346 (18-for-52) to rank third on the team. Sophomore third basemen Kayla Krantz. meanwhile, leads the team with three homeruns and 14 RBIs. 

In the Circle
Senior Lena Mayer leads the Gauchos in the circle with a 3-1 record and a 2.28 ERA to go with a team-high 21 strikeouts in 30.2 innings pitched. Furthermore, UCSB is 5-1 in games that Mayer starts. Felisha Noriega has been the workhorse thus far with 44.1 innings pitched and a 2-4 record with a 4.11 ERA while junior Veronika Gulvin is 2-3 in 23.0 innings pitched with 12 K's and a 3.65 ERA. 

Key Returners
Two-time All-Big West selection Sierra Altmeyer headlines the core group of returners for the Gauchos, who bring back seven starters from last season and 11 returners overall. Altmeyer led the team with a .354 batting average last year to go with 10 homeruns, 33 RBIs and 39 runs scored. Jessica Johnston returns for her senior year after a season where she hit .339 with five homeruns, 33 RBI and 34 runs. After a breakout freshman campaign, Alyssa Diaz, who hit .297 with three homeruns and a team-high 34 RBIs, also returns at first base. In the circle, ace Veronika Gulvin returns for her junior year, after posting a 17-14 record in 44 appearances and 31 starts while notching an impressive 2.69 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 205.2 innings pitched.

Incoming Talent
New to UCSB this spring will be freshmen outfielders Rayna Cohen (Woodland Hills, Calif. / de Toledo HS), Sammy Fabian (Glendale, Calif. / Glendale HS), Alyssa Lazatin (Mission Viejo, Calif. / Capistrano Valley HS), infielder Maci Fines (Elk Grove, Calif. / Sheldon HS) and pitcher Emily Schuttish (Napa, Calif. / Vintage HS).

New Coaches
Three-year staff member Alysia Hendricks will become a full-time assistant for the first time while the Gauchos also brought on board assistant coach Kacee Cox. Cox previously served as a volunteer assistant coach at Stanford and prior to that was a student-athlete at St. John's (N.Y.). "I'm excited to have Alysia and Kacee on staff full time with their experience as coaches and collegiate athletes as well as their educational backgrounds," said head coach Brie Galicinao. "They're a great fit for UCSB. Our staff has worked well together throughout the fall and pre-season and we're looking forward to starting season next week."