Feb. 5, 2010
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Today we continue the three-part preview of the 2010 UC Santa Barbara softball season with a look at the outfield.
This season the Gaucho outfield is reaping the benefits of some extra coaching attention from 2009 Big West Co-Field Player of the Year turned UCSB assistant coach, Christine Ramos.
"It has been fun seeing the outfield this year because Ramos has really taken the responsibility of making the outfield their best and I think it is really paying off because they are getting the individual attention that they didn't really get before," said head coach Brie Galicinao.
Currently, the competition for the starting three positions in the outfield is tight.
Senior Priscilla Perez is the most experienced returnee with 60 starts under her belt over the past three seasons. In 2009, Perez recorded a season-best .254 batting average and recorded three doubles and eight RBI at the plate.
"Priscilla is probably the most technically sound in the outfield as far as knowing the game. She knows her strengths and weaknesses and knows what she needs to do," said Galicinao.
Sophomore Amanda Ziegler has been moved to the outfield after playing third base during her rookie season. During her first year with the Gauchos, Ziegler started all 51 games and was third on the team with a .291 batting average. She also recorded 21 runs, 10 doubles, four homers and 28 RBI.
"She still has the infield tendency of wanting to get rid of the ball quickly, which is great, and she has a strong arm," said Galicinao. "She could potentially fill left, center or right field."
Another sophomore coming back to man the outfield is Brooke Putich, who played in 36 games as a freshman, starting 20 mostly in left field.
"Brooke has been getting stronger and again she will be competing for that same spot," said Galicinao.
Sophomore transfer Jamie Adishian will add further competition for the outfield positions. The Corona, Calif. native was the starting center fielder for Illinois in 2009 helping the Illini to the 2009 NCAA Regionals. She batted .254 on the year with five doubles and 10 RBI.
Rounding out the Gauchos' options in the outfield are junior Katie McWhirter and sophomore Allison Taylor, who each could also fill in as the designated player. McWhirter earned First Team All-Big West honors last season after posting a .300 batting average in conference play. Taylor, who can also play catcher, played in 14 games during her freshman campaign.
"I think if we go line-by-line with the outfielders, they all have been working hard and all can get the job done," said Galicinao. "They all have their different strengths as to why they would be out there defensively. It's just going to come down to what our needs are offensively.
"It is nice to look out there when we do team defense all together and see people that are new to the outfield getting better. They are all doing well."
If you would like to catch the Gaucho outfield, and the rest of the team, in action, tickets are now available for all of the UCSB home contests. The Gauchos are scheduled to play 21 games at home, including the four-day Gaucho Classic being held Feb. 25-28. For more information or to purchase tickets for Gaucho softball, click here.
The 2010 softball season preview will conclude on Tuesday with a look at the UCSB bullpen.
To read part one of this preview, focusing on the Gaucho infield, click here.