Feb. 7, 2007
Games No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
San Diego State's Campbell/Cartier Classic
at SDSU Softball Stadium (1,000)
Thursday, February 8, 2007
UCSB vs. Kansas, 4:30 p.m.
Friday, February 9, 2007
UCSB vs. UMass, 9:00 a.m.
UCSB vs. San Diego State, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
UCSB vs. Cal, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
UCSB vs. Oregon State, 11:30 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara opens the 2007 season this weekend at San Diego State's Campbell/Cartier Classic. The Gauchos return 14 letterwinners and seven starters from last year's squad that advanced to the NCAA Tournament Regionals for only the second time in program history. In addition, the Gauchos return three of their four 2006 All-Big West honorees. With a roster highlighted by All-Big West Second Team selections Jennifer Davis and Christine Ramos along with honorable mention honoree Danielle Meyers, the Gauchos will look to use their experience to their advantage. UCSB welcomes seven newcomers to the roster this season, several of which are expected to make an immediate impact on the program and bolster the Gauchos' depth.
A Peek At The Past: 2006 In Review
The UC Santa Barbara softball team posted a 24-22 record with an 8-10 mark in the Big West Conference in 2006 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in program history, all without one senior on the roster. The 2006 team had a stacked schedule, playing 17 games against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. UCSB also played five opponents ranked in the Top-25, with its biggest win of the year coming against No. 5 Stanford, 2-0 on March 4. The Gauchos finished fourth overall in the Big West and four players earned All-Big West honors. UCSB's season ended with losses to Notre Dame and Southern Illinois at Regionals.
Taking On The Best
Once again in an effort to prepare themselves for the high level of competition in the Big West and qualify for postseason play, the Gauchos will play yet another challenging non-conference slate in 2007. UCSB is scheduled to face a total of 12 opponents (10 non-conference) that advanced to the Big Dance in 2006, seven of which are currently ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Top-25 Poll. In fact, the first weekend of the season will feature games with five teams that all qualified for last year's NCAA Tournament including currently ranked No. 6 Oregon State, No. 10 Cal and No. 23 Massachusetts at the Campbell/Cartier Classic. The season does not let up the following weekend when Big Dance qualifiers Nevada and Long Beach State come to town for the first of two UCSB hosted tournaments.
After sporting a roster with no seniors on it during the 2006 campaign, the Gauchos return four to this season's squad. Hurler Jennifer Davis returns after starting 34 games last season and putting up a 2.60 ERA with 234 strikeouts. Also providing senior leadership this season will be Jessica Hejna, who will be making the move from outfield to first base, Brittany Putich, a two-time All-Big West honoree and outfielder Liz Walters. Kendra Singley will not be joining the Gauchos for her senior season for personal reasons.
Roll Out The Welcome Wagon
Joining the team this season are seven new faces that comprise a very talented group of athletes. Freshman Lindsay Correa (Lake Forest, Calif./El Torro HS) and MeLinda Matsumoto (Hayward, Calif./James Logan HS) will be looked to help deepen the Gaucho pitching staff while Jessica Ziegler (San Diego, Calif./Westview HS) should be seeing time in the outfield rotation. Junior transfer Tisha Duran, who was at UCSB in 2006 but sat out the season, is expected to help both the defense and offense and will see the starting nod right away at third. Rounding out the new faces are freshmen Kelsey Willingham (Samammish, Wash./Skyline HS), Kelsey Anderson (Santa Maria, Calif./Righetti HS) and Priscilla Perez (Carson, Calif./Carson HS).
In the Dugout With Coach Schroeder
Kristy Schroeder enters her sixth season at the helm of the UC Santa Barbara softball program and continues to foster a commitment to excellence and a high level of success. Her impact on the program has been immeasurable, as she has turned a very mediocre program into one of the top squads in the conference each and every year. In 2006, Schroeder led the Gauchos to a 24-22 record, an 8-10 Big West mark and the second NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. She took a team that was plagued by injuries in 2005 and posted a 26-22 overall record, playing one the most difficult schedules the program had ever seen. She notched her 100th victory as head coach at UCSB on Feb. 26. In 2004, she led the Gauchos to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance after guiding them to a 32-31 overall record and a 14-7 conference mark, which was tied for second in the Big West and was the highest league finish in UCSB history. In addition, the Gauchos won 30-plus games in back-to-back seasons for the first time ever as a Division I program. In 2003 she guided the team to the best record in program history at 34-22 and had a school-record nine players named All-Big West, with two receiving All-Region accolades. In 2002, her first season at UCSB, she was named the Big West's Co-Coach of the Year, after Santa Barbara finished the season with a 27-36 overall record--an increase of nine wins from the year before. In eight seasons as head coach at UCSB and Division II Truman State, Schroeder has a career record of 276-167-1 (.621), while her mark with the Gauchos is 143-133 (.518).
Preseason Poll Points
In the 2007 Big West Preseason Poll released in late January, the Gauchos were picked to once again finish fourth in the competitive conference. UCSB was tied in the fourth place spot with Pacific, which each received 25 points in the coaches' poll. Cal State Fullerton was picked to repeat as the conference champions while Cal Poly and Long Beach State rounded out the top three spots in the poll. Though the Gauchos will meet up with Long Beach State at the UCSB Softball by the Beach Tournament on Feb. 17, the official Big West season will not start for Santa Barbara until they host Fullerton on March 31 and April 1.
Jayhawk Jibber Jabber
UCSB will open the season against Kansas in the first game of the Campbell/Cartier Classic hosted by San Diego State. The Jayhawks return 10 letterwinners from last year's Big 12 postseason championship team, including senior All-Big 12 selection pitcher Kassie Humphreys who compiled a 1.19 ERA in 2006 and posted 19-17 record. Other returning starters include senior first basemen Nicole Washburn and sophomores Val Chapple and Stevie Crisosto. The Jayhawks finished 2006 with a 2-2 record at Regionals and an overall season record of 36-26. The Gauchos have met up with the Jayhawks twice and hold a perfect 2-0 record in the series. Santa Barbara won the last meeting 2-1 at the 2006 Palm Springs Invitational.
For the second consecutive year the Gauchos will face off with University of Massachusetts, which is ranked No. 23 in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Top-25 Poll and 24th in the ESPN.com rankings, in the second game of San Diego State's tournament. UMass, which advanced to the Super Regionals in 2006, returns 12 letterwinners including eight starters. Highlighting the Minutewoman roster is Atlantic-10 Player and Rookie of the Year, Whitney Molica who hit a team-leading .394 with 17 doubles, 12 homers, 61 RBI and a .764 slugging percentage in 2006. Also returning is Atlantic-10 Pitcher of the Year sophomore Brandice Balschmiter who notched a 32-9 record, an ERA of .97 and 296 strikeouts last year. Friday's pairing marks the second match-up between the two teams, the Gauchos lead the series 1-0 after defeating UMass 10-1 at last season's tournament.
All About The Aztecs
Friday's second game will be against host San Diego State. The Aztecs captured the Mountain West Conference title in 2006 and advanced to Regionals eventually finishing the season with a school best record of 34-15. San Diego State returns 12 letterwinners from that squad including eight starters. Among the returnees is sophomore catcher Erin Floros who hit .388 last season with 22 RBI, a .558 slugging percentage and a .467 OB percentage. The top returnee in the circle for the Aztecs is Christina Ross, a junior who posted a 17-10 record in 2006 with a 1.82 ERA, 5 shutouts and 136 strikeouts. The Gauchos lead the series with SDSU 24-22 and won the last match-up with the Aztecs in 2006 in 3-2 fashion at Santa Barbara's Commercial Capital Invitational.
The Gauchos will have all day Saturday to rest before they face the No. 10 ranked Cal team that evening in a 7 p.m. showdown. The Golden Bears return nine letterwinners including eight starters from the 2006 squad that finished the season ranked ninth in the nation by ESPN.com. Cal's lone senior Alex Sutton is expected to lead the Golden Bears this season and has been named to the Amateur Softball Association's Top-50 Preseason Watch List. Sutton, hit .325 last season, led Cal with a .464 on-base percentage, had a .497 slugging percentage along with 36 RBI and 12 doubles. Returning in the circle for Cal is sophomore pitcher Lauren Frankiewicz who posted a 12-3 record in her freshman campaign, she will be joined by freshman pitchers Brittany LaRosa and Marissa Drewrey. The Golden Bears lead the overall series with UCSB 15-3 with the last win coming at last season's Campbell/Cartier Classic in a 3-1 fashion. Santa Barbara will be looking for their first win against Cal since 1999.
UCSB will have saved the best for last when they face No. 6 Oregon State in the tournament's closer Sunday. The Beavers return 11 letterwinners and six starters from a 2006 team that advanced to the NCAA Women's College World Series. Oregon State returns two-time All-American Brianne McGowan who posted a 29-9 record last season with a 1.36 ERA, 258 strikeouts and 10 shutouts. Senior shortstop Mia Longfellow, who was named one of the Top-50 players on the USA Softball Watch List, led the Beavers with her .323 batting average last season and also 29 runs, 14 doubles and 25 RBI. Sunday's meeting marks the fifteenth meeting between the Gauchos and the Beavers with Oregon State holding a narrow 8-7 series advantage. The Beavers won the last meeting 4-0 at the Worth Invitational last season.
How To Catch The Action
Every one of the Gauchos' five games at this weekend's Campbell/Cartier Tournament will be on Gametracker, which is accessible on the softball schedule page on UCSBgauchos.com.
Following this weekend's trip to San Diego, the Gauchos will return home for back-to-back tournaments. On February 16-18, the Gauchos will host Nevada, Long Beach State and Northern Colorado in the UCSB Softball by the Beach Tournament supported by Commercial Capital Bank. The following weekend, February 23-25, the Gauchos will once again play host this time to the University of Texas San Antonio, Northern Illinois and Santa Clara. Tickets for both tournaments will cost $10 for a single day and $20 for both days with students and children 12 & under getting in for free.