UCSB Set to Host Annual Softball by the Beach Tournament Supported by Commercial Capital Bank

UCSB Set to Host Annual Softball by the Beach Tournament Supported by Commercial Capital Bank

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Feb. 15, 2006

• The Schedule
Games No. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
UCSB's Softball By The Beach Tournament Supported By Commercial Capital Bank
at Campus Diamond

Friday, February 17, 2006
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. San Diego State Aztecs @ 11:30 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Rider University Broncs @ 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Long Beach State 49ers @ 9:00 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane @ 11:30 a.m.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Northridge Matadors @ 11:30 a.m.

• The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters this weekend's Softball By The Beach Tournament with a record of 3-2 after five games in San Diego to start the season. The Gauchos defeated Sacramento State in the SDSU Campbell/Cartier Tournament opener 3-2 in eight innings Thursday and then followed that effort with a 10-1 romp of Massachusetts Firday. UCSB then squared off with No. 2 UCLA and lost 9-3 later that day. On Saturday, Santa Barbara fell 3-1 to No. 7 Cal and then got back on track Sunday with a 7-2 win over Oklahoma State.

• That Time Of Year
It just would not be the start of the softball season without the Softball By the Beach Tournament. 2006 marks the sixth year that the Gauchos will be hosting the event and, after last year's invite was almost completely rained out, lets cross our fingers that the record temperatures Santa Barbara has had continue through the weekend. A year ago, the rain stopped long enough for a total of two games to be played. UCSB defeated Southwest Missouri State 3-0 and BYU beat Drexel 6-2 before the bad weather forced the cancellation of the rest of the tournament.

• Gaucho Goods: 2006 Edition
UCSB takes the field at home for the first time this weekend with their annual Softball By The Beach Tournament. The Gauchos return nine letterwinners and seven starters from last year's squad, one that was very sound both offensively and defensively, setting a number of school records in 2005. In addition, the Santa Barbara returns three of their four All-Big West honorees from a season ago. With a roster highlighted by All-Big West Second Team selections Jennifer Davis and Brittany Putich, along with honorable mention honoree Kendra Singley and Jessica Hejna who was the squad's best player the second half, the Gauchos have the nucleus of the team back for the 2006 season. Santa Barbara also ushers in one of the most talented recruiting classes the program has ever seen. The new crop of players has already had an immediate impact and adds the depth that UCSB so desperately needed last season.

• Tough Competition
In an effort to prepare themselves for the high level of competition in the Big West, the Gauchos will play yet another challenging nonconference slate in 2006. UCSB is scheduled to face a total of 14 opponents that advanced to the Big Dance in 2005 and six of those teams earned seeds in last year's softball championships. The 2006 schedule also includes a March 5th matchup with National Semi-Finalist Tennessee and three bouts with National Runner-Up UCLA, the first of which was February 10 and a March 28 doubleheader in Los Angeles. The Gauchos were tested right out of the gates this season with four of their five games in last weekend's Campbell/Cartier Tournament coming against 2005 tournament teams. Santa Barbara squared off with Massachusetts, UCLA, Cal and Oklahoma State--all of which advanced to the postseason a year ago--and went 2-2 against that slate. Their only setbacks were losses to the second-ranked Bruins and the seventh-ranked Golden Bears, which is very similar to the start of last season when each of the Gauchos' first six losses came at the hands of a ranked foe.

• The Road Ahead
If the Gauchos are going to be successful this season, they are going to have to win games on the road. Of the 53 games on the schedule in 2006, 35 of those will be played outside of sunny Santa Barbara. That means that UCSB will play only 18 games within the friendly confines of Campus Diamond, where they went 14-8 in 2005. The Gauchos posted a 12-14 record on the road last season, going 8-11 in true road games and 4-3 in neutral site contests. They are 3-2 away from home so far this season.

• As Advertised
As the trend has been with the teams of the last few years, the 2006 Gauchos are a very young team once again. Boasting a roster comprised of seven juniors, six sophomores, six freshmen and a total of 10 new faces, production from the younger players is a must. So far so good. Through five games, three of UCSB's top five hitters are newcomers this year. Sophomore catcher Ericka Hansen is hitting .333 with two runs, a double and an RBI. Freshman second baseman Christine Ramos has an average of .294, leads the team with five runs and is third with three RBI. Freshman first baseman Tiffany Wright has the Gauchos' only homerun--a shot to left center in the fourth inning against Sacramento State--a total of five hits, including a triple and is also batting .294. As was expected, the recruiting class of 2006 has definitely had an impact so far this season.

• Picking Up Where She Left Off
After tearing it up in the second half of last season, leading the team with a .364 batting average, 24 hits and six doubles in Big West play, junior left fielder Jessica Hejna has had a hot start to this season as well. Through five games she is hitting .438 (7-for-16) with four runs, three triples, a double and six RBI and leads the team in every category except runs scored. She was the catalyst in the 10-1 mercy rule victory over UMASS, turning in a 3-for-3 performance with three runs, a walk and four RBI. She also tripled and drove in a run in the 3-2 extra inning victory over Sacramento State.

• Singled Out
One of the Gauchos' most consistent weapons last year, junior center fielder Kendra Singley has continued to give opposing pitchers fits so far in 2006. She leads the squad with eight hits and ranks second in batting average at .421 and runs batted in with four. She posted back-to-back games in which she went 3-for-4 with two RBI in the 10-1 win over UMASS and the 9-3 loss to No. 2 UCLA.

• Double Threat
Jennifer Davis can get it done on both sides of the ball. Whether she is in the circle or at the plate, the Whittier, Calif. native has been a force to be reckoned with so far in 2006. The Gauchos' ace got the nod in four out of the five games last weekend in San Diego and went 3-1 with an ERA of 2.77, 31 strikeouts and an opponents batting average of .263 in 26 innings pitched. She now has a total of 427 strikeouts and 32 wins for her career, which are third and sixth on the Career Top 10 List, respectively and has moved into the eighth spot on the career innings pitched chart with 384. Davis picked up wins against Sacramento State, Massachusetts and Oklahoma State and held No. 7 Cal to three runs on six hits in a losing effort. She went the distance in each contest and now ranks eighth all-time with 37 career complete games. Offensively, she came through as well, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the 7-2 win over the Cowgirls. She is hitting .267 (4-for-15) to start the season with two runs scored.

• Probable Gaucho Starters - Notes
C - Ericka Hansen - Third on the team hitting .333
1B - Tiffany Wright - Went 2-for-3 with homer against Sacramento State
2B - Christine Ramos - Team leader with five runs scored
SS - Brittany Putich - Only 2-for-19 to start the season
3B - Shelby Hensler - Drove in two against Oklahoma State
LF - Jessica Hejna - Leads squad with .438 average, three triples and six RBI
CF - Kendra Singley - Went 3-for-4 with two RBI in win over UMASS
RF - Nicole Churnock - Started four games in right field over the weekend
DP - Liz Walters - Doubled and scored a run against the Minutewomen
P - Jennifer Davis - Has a 3-1 record, with 2.77 ERA and 31 strikeouts

Gaucho Reserves - Notes
C - Brenda Lira - Started 22 games behind the plate last year
1B - Dani Baltazar - Won back-to-back Moore League titles at Millikan HS
2B - Lauren Augino - Hit .350 with seven homers at West Covina HS in 2005
3B - Tisha Duran - Was the 2005 WSC Player of the Year at Ventura College
OF - Danielle Meyers - Started two games as the designated player
UT - Adrienne Anderson - Hit .486 with 23 RBI as a senior at Monache HS
UT - Jackie Conlin - Has scored three runs as a pinch runner
P - Ginger Gutierrez - Pitched seven innings and allowed five runs vs. UCLA
P - Tami Weston - Only faced four batters in start against the Bruins

• In the Dugout with Coach Schroeder
Kristy Schroeder enters her fifth 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 has been immeasurable, as she has turned a very mediocre program into one of the top squads in the conference each and every year. 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. Schroeder notched her 100th victory as head coach at UCSB February 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 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 Schroeder 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 seven seasons as head coach at UCSB and Division II Truman State, Schroeder has a career record of 255-147-1 (.633), while her mark with the Gauchos is 122-113 (.519).

• Fresh Faces
The Gauchos' commitment to become an elite program starts at the very top and two new additions to the coaching staff should pay instant dividends this season. Joining Schroeder on the sidelines are assistant coaches Brie Galicinao and Jessica Mendoza in their first seasons with the program. Galicinao was an All-American at Princeton where she became the first Ivy League player ever to win both Pitcher and Player of the Year in the same season. The individual attention that she will give the Gaucho pitchers will drastically help their development. Mendoza, a current member of Team USA, won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. She will work out with the team and show them what it takes to be successful at the highest levels.

• About the Aztecs
San Diego State enters this weekend's competition with a record of 3-1 after hosting the Campbell/Cartier Tournament last weekend. The Aztecs are led by sophomore catcher Megan McDonald who is hitting .250 with two runs, a homer and two runs batted in. Sophomore hurler Christina Ross is the squad's top pitcher so far in 2006, posting a 1-1 record with a 0.62 ERA and seven strikeouts in three appearances. UCSB and SDSU have met 45 times and UCSB holds a slim 23-22 advantage in the all-time series. The Aztecs won the last meeting 2-1 in last year's San Diego State Softball Classic.

• Broncs Banter
In their second game of this weekend's tournament, the Gauchos square off with Rider University. The Broncs, who have yet to play a game in 2006, are led by senior outfielder Jennifer Cullen, who hit a team-best .400 with five doubles, four homers and 12 RBI in 2005. In the circle, senior Heather Beintema anchors the pitching staff and recorded a 10-16 record, an ERA of 4.00 and 133 strikeouts last year. Friday's matchup marks the first ever meeting between the two schools.

• 49er Factoids
Next up for the Gauchos will be Big West rival Long Beach State on Saturday. The 49ers have a 2-3 record after opening the season with the Alexis Resort Softball Classic in Las Vegas and the will host No. 2 UCLA Wednesday. CSULB is led by senior second baseman Tiffanie Weddell who is hitting .471 with two runs and eight hits in 2006. Junior pitcher Michelle Turner has an ERA of 1.00, a record of 1-2 and 19 strikeouts. Last year, the 49ers swept Santa Barbara in Long Beach May 7 and 8. The Gauchos trail the 49ers in the overall series 21-61-1.

• Golden Hurricane Happenings
The Softball By The Beach tourney continues Saturday with the University of Tulsa on the slate. The Golden Hurricane enter this weekend's competition with a record of 3-1 after winning the Getterman Classic to start the season. Tulsa is led by junior middle infielder Kelli McGlasson, who is tops on the squad hitting .538 with seven hits, two runs and two RBI. Senior pitcher Maren Genow has not allowed a run in nine innings of work and has a 2-0 record and five strikeouts. The Gauchos and Golden Hurricane have never met.

• Matador Musings
The Gauchos conclude the SBTB Tournament with another Big West opponent in Cal State Northridge on Sunday. The Matadors have a record of 1-4 coming off the heels of the Arizona State Kajikawa Classic. CSUN is led by freshman outfielder Amanda Peek, who is batting a team-high .471 with five runs, five doubles, a homer and two RBI. Junior hurler Sam Schroeder has shouldered most of the work in the circle, compiling a 1-3 record, a 3.71 ERA and nine strikeouts. Sunday's contest marks the 54th meeting between the two programs, with the Matadors holding a 38-14-1 lead over the Gauchos in the all-time series. Last season. UCSB swept the three game set with Northridge by a combined score of 19-7.