Jan. 21, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team was picked to finish tied for third in the Big West Conference Preseason Coaches Poll released by the conference on Wednesday.
The Gauchos, who received one first place vote, were tied with central coast rival Cal Poly, which also received 45 points in the poll. Both teams trailed No. 2 Cal State Fullerton by just four votes. It was defending conference champion Long Beach State that garnered the No. 1 spot with 63 votes and seven first place votes.
UC Santa Barbara (30-24, 13-8 Big West) finished in second place in the league standings last season, equaling its best finish in the conference in program history.
Leading the charge this season is 2008 Big West Field Player of the Year Tiffany Wright, the first Field Player of the Year in Gaucho history. Wright, a senior, ranked fifth in the Big West in batting (.350), first in runs scored (40), tied for fourth in hits (62), fourth in RBI (40) and second in home runs (12). She also posted a .487 batting average, nine home runs, 26 RBI and 37 hits in conference play.
Adding to the offense is two-time First Team All-Big West selection senior Christine Ramos (.339 BA, 65 H, 31 R, 15 SB), a spark plug at the top of the order who is a career .346 hitter.
The Gauchos return all three pitchers from last season's club, a trio that posted a 3.82 ERA with virtually even inning totals. Senior Tami Weston (11 W, 25 app, 16 starts, 110.1 IP) and juniors Lindsey Correa (11 W, 9 CG, 24 app, 3 SO, 119.2 IP) and MeLinda Matsumoto (35 app, 19 starts, 134.2 innings, 1 SV) give second year head coach, and 2008 Big West Co-Coach of the year, Brie Galicinao three pitchers than can match up against anyone in the country.
2009 Big West Preseason Softball Coaches Poll
No. Team Points 1 Long Beach State (7) 63 2 Cal State Fullerton 49 3 UC Santa Barbara (1) 45 3 Cal Poly 45 5 Pacific 28 6 UC Davis 26 7 Cal State Northridge 21 8 UC Riverside 11
UCSB - a nationally recognized university in both academic and athletic excellence - is located on the central coast of California in a picturesque campus and community setting on the Pacific Ocean. Each year over 450 Division I Gaucho student-athletes compete for national championships, succeed in the classroom, and give back to the community.
- UCSBgauchos.com -