UCSB Closes Pre-Big West Competition at San Diego, UCLA

Carissa Felix (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Carissa Felix (Photo by Tony Mastres)

The Schedule
Saturday, Mar. 23, 2019 at 12:00 / 2:00 p.m.
San Diego (11-15) vs. UC Santa Barbara (6-21)
at USD Softball Complex in San Diego, Calif.
All-Time Series Record: 20-9
Live Stats

Sunday, Mar. 24, 2019 at 12:00 p.m.
San Diego (11-15) vs. UC Santa Barbara (6-21)
Live Stats

Monday, Mar. 25, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.
No. 1 UCLA (25-1) vs. UC Santa Barbara (6-21)
at Easton Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif.
All-Time Series Record: 4-62
Live Stats

Last Week Recap
UC Santa Barbara opened its week last Tuesday with a 7-0 win over Western Carolina, its first shutout of 2019. Pitcher Felisha Noriega delivered her best performance of the season in the first game of a doubleheader, tossing a complete game two-hit shutout while striking out five and walking three to pick up the fifth win of her junior year. The Gauchos racked up a season-high 12 hits on the offensive end with five different players tallying multi-hit games. UCSB would go on to fall 10-7 in the second game of the day against the Catamounts. Later in the week, the Gauchos traveled south where they were unable to come up with a win at the LMU Tournament, despite nearly taking down LMU in a 3-2 defeat on Thursday and CBU 11-8 on Friday.

Closing Out Non-Conference
The Gauchos will hit the road once more this weekend for four games in three days. They are set to take on San Diego (11-15) in a three-game series at USD Softball Complex, beginning with a Saturday noon doubleheader and ending with a 12:00 p.m. meeting on Sunday. The Gauchos went 1-2 against the Toreros in 2018 and own a 20-9 advantage in the all-time series. USD has already played five games against Big West teams this season, posting a 1-4 mark. On Monday, UCSB heads back to Los Angeles to battle the No. 1 UCLA Bruins (25-1) who are looking for their 10th straight win.

Fabian's Hot Start Continues
Outfielder Sammy Fabian continues to be remarkably consistent for the Gauchos. She has recorded at least one hit in 13 of her last 14 outings, averaging more than 1.7 hits per game over that span. Fabian recently had a run where she tallied at least two hits in five straight outings, the longest streak of her career. She now has 15 multi-hit efforts this season, doing it in more than half of her 27 appearances. The sophomore entered the week leading the Big West with 33 hits, 19 more than any other Gaucho. Her .462 batting average and .500 on base percentage both rank second in the conference. She also has at least a share of the UCSB team-high in runs (13), doubles (4), stolen bases (6) and slugging (.505).

Ramirez Stepping Up
Junior Genesis Ramirez has been one of UCSB's top producers this season, as she leads the team with walks (12) and owns the third-highest on base percentage (.363). Her 12 walks are tied for eighth in the Big West. She is also tied with Fabian for the team-lead with 13 runs, a huge boost for a Gaucho squad which is averaging just 2.96 runs per game.

Freshmen Standouts
First-year Gauchos Tyler Goldstein and Teah Thies have made an impact for UCSB through the first month and a half of their careers. No Gaucho has recorded more RBI this season than Thies, who has a team-leading 11, third-most among Big West freshmen. Trailing right behind her are Ramirez (10), sophomore Rayna Cohen (9) and Goldstein (8). Goldstein's slash line of .319/.392/.362 ranks second on the team across the board, while her 22 hits are good for third.

Start Strong, End Strong
When the Gauchos have gotten out to fast starts this year, they have been able to come away with wins. Five of their six wins have come in games where they both scored first and scored in the first inning. When UCSB has had a lead, it has been able to hold on. Prior to their most recent 11-8 defeat to CBU, the Gauchos were 5-0 in games where they led at the end of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

Hitting Time
UCSB has struggled to put up runs this season, averaging just 2.5 per game, but it hasn't been for a lack of hitting efficiency. As a team, the Gauchos have batted at a .270 clip, good for fourth in the Big West. Their 193 hits and 7.15 hits per game rank third in the conference. However, their 28 extra base hits and 56 walks rank last. After opening the year with three consecutive double-digit hit totals, UCSB reached double-figures just once in its next 12 games. Since then, the Gauchos have recorded double-digit hits in six of their last 12, but have a 2-10 record over that span.

Perennial All-League Selection
Senior infielder Sierra Altmeyer boasts the most career accolades of any Gaucho currently on the roster, with three All-Conference selections. Last year, she was named to the All-Big West Second Team, after leading the Gauchos in a ton of categories: runs (33), RBI (31), doubles (11), home runs (8), walks (28), on base percentage (.420) and slugging (.557). Altmeyer has unfortunately missed the Gauchos' last 15 games, but she was putting up career-bests in batting average (.375) and on base percentage (.512) before coming out of the lineup, both of which would place her in the top-10 in the conference.

Close Ones
Three of the Gauchos' five wins this season came with at least a three-run margin of victory, with the 3-1 win over Army and 7-5 win over CBU being the only exceptions. Close games haven't been a friend to UCSB so far this season though, as the Gauchos enter the weekend with a 2-7 mark in games decided by two runs or fewer. UCSB did win its only extra innings game so far though, going off for five eighth-inning runs in an 11-6 win over Montana during opening weekend.

Slugging Time
Ally Nodohara and Genesis Ramirez both hit home runs at the Bulldog Classic in early March, the first two of the season for the Gauchos. Nodohara's solo blast against CBU on Mar. 8 – the first hit of her career – ended a run of 17 straight games without a homer dating back to last May. Ramirez's home run came in the top of the sixth inning during the rematch against CBU just two days later. It was the third of her career.

Rainy Days
Originally scheduled to have played in 34 games by this point in the year, UCSB has completed just 27 contests, with games against Nevada, Santa Clara, Utah, Bowling Green, Cal and Pacific all being canceled due to rain and poor field conditions.

New Talent
UCSB brings six newcomers to Campus Diamond in 2019, including Utah State transfer Devan Sperry Jr. (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) and Mt. Sac standout Carissa Felix (Montclair, Calif. / Ontario HS) along with four freshmen. Sperry posted career-highs across the board as a sophomore last year, finishing with 20 hits, four doubles, three homers and 15 RBI at USU. Meanwhile, Felix dominated at Mt. Sac, helping lead the Mounties to a 41-7 record while totaling 59 hits and 41 runs on a .415 batting average.

Rounding out the newcomers are Gaucho freshmen infielders Teah Thies (Laguna Hills, Calif. / Laguna Hills HS) and Ally Nodohara (Morgan Hill, Calif. / Ann Sobrato HS), pitcher Alyssa Molina (Los Angeles, Calif. / Notre Dame S.O.) and outfielder Tyler Goldstein (Agoura Hills, Calif. / Agoura HS).