Gauchos Set for Final Road Series at UC Riverside

Rayna Cohen (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Rayna Cohen (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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The Schedule
Saturday, May 3, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at UC Riverside (29-20, 6-9 Big West)
Amy S. Harrison Field - Riverside, Calif.
All-Time Series Record: 46-10
2017 Series: UCSB, 2-1
Last Meeting: Apr. 9, 2017 - UCSB def. UCR, 11-0 (5)

Sunday, May 4, 2018 at 1:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at UC Riverside 

The Week Ahead
The UC Santa Barbara softball team travels to UC Riverside this weekend for its final road series of the regular season. The Gauchos will take on the Highlanders beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1:00 p.m. at Amy S. Harrison Field before wrapping up the series with a single game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

The Week in Review
Last weekend, the Gauchos were out on the road for a three-game set at CSUN and dropped two out of three to the Matadors. UCSB rallied behind a pair of 3-for-4 performances from Sierra Altmeyer and Maci Fines while Genesis Ramirez hit a homerun in a series opening 9-5 victory. CSUN responded with an 8-1 victory in the nightcap to split the opening doubleheader before taking the rubber match 13-5. 

Highlanders Preview
UC Riverside is looking to reach the 30-win plateau for the third time in the past four seasons with an overall record of 29-20 entering this weekend. All-time, the Gauchos have dominated the series with the Highlanders, holding a 46-10 advantage including taking two out of three from UCR last season. The Highlanders are led by senior outfielder Jenna Curtan at the plate, who is batting .383 with a pair of homeruns, 39 runs scored and 17 RBIs. In the circle, freshman Hailey Dolcini has burst onto the scene and is 13-8 with a 1.76 ERA in 139.1 innings pitched. Senior Tayler Misfeldt is 15-10 with a 2.32 ERA in 136.0 innings to make a solid 1-2 punch. 

Extra, Extra! Read All About It
After a 6-5 walk-off win in extra innings during the Hawai'i series, UCSB is now 4-1 in extra innings this season. The Gauchos topped Sacramento State 8-7 in nine innings on the road early in the season and have since won in walk-off fashion three times at Campus Diamond. Their lone loss came at the hands of San Diego, 3-2, at the Gaucho Classic I. 

Fine Under Pressure
After hitting a walk-off RBI single during the Hawai'i series, freshman Maci Fines has now had her hand in all three of the Gauchos' walk-off victories this season. Fines scored the game-winning run in a 5-4 walk-off against San Diego and scored the game-tying run in the 11th inning of a 5-4 marathon win against Seattle. She is hitting .316 (12-for-38) since Big West play began. 

By the Numbers
Through 48 games, UCSB is batting .269 (345-for-1,282), good for fourth best in the Big West Conference, while averaging 3.7 runs per game. The Gauchos have 20 homeruns and 83 extra base hits along with a .337 on-base percentage and a .371 slugging percentage. Opponents have scored 5.8 runs per game against UCSB. The Gauchos' pitching staff has a 4.51 ERA as a group, having allowed 205 earned runs in 318.0 innings pitched with 180 strikeouts. 

Fabulous Freshmen
Freshmen Sammy Fabian, Rayna Cohen, Maci Fines and Alyssa Lazatin have made immediate impacts for the Gauchos this season and are four of the top seven hitters, statistically speaking, in the lineup. Fabian recently regained the team lead with a .348 batting average (48-for-138) after going 15-for-37 (.405) in the past nine games. Cohen is hitting .297 (33-for-111) to go along with two homeruns and 21 RBIs. Fines has been hot since conference play began and has upped her overall average to .261 while Lazatin is batting .248.

In the Circle
Freshman Emily Schuttish has continued to impress in the circle for UCSB and leads the team with a 3.24 ERA. In 75.2 innings pitched, Schuttish has a 3-6 record with a team-high seven complete games along with 46 strikeouts. Felisha Noriega leads the team with 94.1 innings pitched and picked up her team-leading sixth win of the season on Saturday against CSUN after allowing just three earned in four innings. She is also tied with Schuttish with 46 strikeouts. Veronika Gulvin (5-10, 5.23 ERA) and Lena Mayer (4-8, 4.91 ERA) have pitched 71.0 innings and 62.2 innings, respectively, to round out the staff.