Gauchos Head Out-of-State for Sun Devil Invitational this Weekend

March 1, 2007

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• The Schedule
Games No. 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
Arizona State's Sun Devil/Wilson DeMarini Invitational
at Farrington Stadium/ASU Campus (1,535)

Friday, March 2, 2007
UC Santa Barbara vs. Houston, 3:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Arizona State, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 3, 2007
UC Santa Barbara vs. Utah Valley, 9:00 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. University of North Florida, 11:00 a.m.

Sunday, March 4, 2007
UC Santa Barbara vs. Creighton, 11:00 a.m.

• Packing Their Bags For The Grand Canyon State
After spending back-to-back weekends at home hosting tournaments, UC Santa Barbara softball will hit the road this weekend for the only scheduled out-of-state tournament of the regular season: the Sun Devil/Wilson DeMarini Tournament hosted by Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. The Gauchos will face the No. 2 Sun Devils as well as Houston, Utah Valley State, University of North Florida and Creighton at the tournament, which runs Friday through Sunday at Farrington Stadium on the ASU campus.

• An Update: There's No Place Like Home For The Gauchos
The UC Santa Barbara softball team had yet another impressive weekend at home at Campus Diamond last weekend as they went 4-1 at the UCSB Mini Tournament. After being handed their first home loss of the season in the tourney opener against the University of Texas, San Antonio, 4-1, the Gauchos recovered to post four consecutive wins. UCSB defeated Northern Illinois 3-0, the Roadrunners 9-1 and Santa Clara 4-0 and 4-3 to close out the tournament. The Gauchos now hold a 10-3 overall record on the season and 8-1 at Campus Diamond. Saturday morning's 3-0 victory over the Huskies marked a milestone for head coach Kristy Schroeder: her 150th victory at the helm of the Gaucho program, she now holds a record of 153-136 in her five seasons at Santa Barbara.

• For The Record
Speaking of records, the Gauchos' current 10-3 mark represents their best start since the 2003 season, head coach Kristy Schroeder's second season with the program when they also held a 10-3 record following the first 13 contests. The Gauchos ended the 2003 season with a 34-22 overall mark, the winningest season in Schroeder's tenure with the program. The Gaucho record is also currently the best in the Big West Conference.

• 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 nonconference slate in 2007. UCSB is scheduled to face a total of 12 opponents (10 nonconference) that advanced to the Big Dance in 2006, five of which are currently ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top-25 Poll and three others that are currently receiving votes.

• No Runs For You!
Thirteen games into the 2007 season, the Gauchos have already posted six shutout wins and two wins by way of mercy including last Saturday's 9-1 five-inning domination of UT San Antonio. To get some perspective, in 2006 UCSB had eight shutout wins the entire season and in 2005, it had 10. In fact, this season the Gauchos have only allowed 25 runs versus their 60 scored.

• Perfection!
MeLinda Matsumoto continued what has been a great start to her collegiate career as she picked up three wins at last weekend's Mini Tournament. The freshman hurler is now 5-0 on the season and sports a 2.00 ERA with 11 strikeouts. Last weekend, the Union City, Calif. native recorded a 0.00 ERA in 13.2 innings of work, giving up a single unearned run and seven hits in her three appearances. Her four batters fanned against Northern Illinois served as an early career high.

• Hurler Hype
Matsumoto was not the only one getting it done in the circle for the Gauchos last weekend. Despite picking up her first loss of the season against UTSA on Friday, freshman Lindsey Correa rebounded to throw a complete game shutout against Santa Clara on Sunday allowing only one hit, one walk and striking out one. The Lake Forest, Calif. native is now 3-1 on the season with a 2.77 ERA and is second on the team with 16 strikeouts. Altogether, the Gaucho pitching staff owns a 1.94 ERA with an opposing batting average of .182.

• Home Run Happy
Heading into last weekend's tournament, the Gauchos had not posted a single home run on the young season - what a difference a weekend makes! UCSB hit seven - count them, seven - home runs at last weekend's mini tournament. Three came off the bat of senior Liz Walters while Tiffany Wright had two homers on consecutive at-bats against UT San Antonio. Danielle Meyers and Tisha Duran rounded out the list of the home run happy Gauchos.

• Lights Out Liz
As mentioned above, senior Liz Walters contributed three of the Gauchos' seven home runs last weekend. Walters, who headed into the weekend with only one hit on the season, hit her first one out of the park against UTSA on Friday for the only UCSB run of the day. The next day Walters provided one of the four homers hit in the 9-1 mercy of the Roadrunners. The Orange, Calif. native finished off the weekend with her third homer against Santa Clara in the second of two games with the Broncos, her run served as the game winner in the 4-3 victory. In just three days, Walters doubled her career home run count from three to six.

• The Dish On Tish
Junior third basemen Tisha Duran has been a force for the Gauchos this season, not only does she currently lead UCSB hitting .389 on the season, she also has a team-leading 10 RBI. Last weekend Duran hit .538 going 7-for-13 at the plate with a home run, two doubles, three total runs and three RBI.

• Cougar Tracks
UCSB will open up this weekend's Sun Devil Invitational against first-time opponent Houston on Friday afternoon. The Cougars are currently 13-6 on the season and just completed a 6-0 weekend at their own tournament this past weekend with wins over McNeese State, Texas A&M Corpus Christi and a pair over Iowa State and New Mexico State. Katie Bush leads Houston hitting .388 on the season and posting a .464 OB%. Elaina Nordstrom leads the team with 11 RBI on the season. Hurler Angel Shamblin has a 7-3 record and a 1.19 ERA.

• Shutting Down The Sun Devils
The Gauchos will face host Arizona State on Friday evening directly following the match-up with Houston. The Sun Devils are currently ranked No. 2 nationally in this week's USA Today/NFCA Division I Poll and No. 4 in the poll. ASU is currently 17-1 on the season and holds a perfect 8-0 mark at home. The Sun Devils competed in the Palm Springs Classic last weekend where they went 4-1, falling for the first time in 2007 to Northwestern, 5-2. Kaitlin Cochran leads ASU this season hitting an impressive .545 with a team-high six doubles and four homeruns, she has a .909 slugging percentage and .603 OB%. Pitcher Katie Burkhart has posted a 9-1 record with a 1.40 ERA on the season and leads ASU with 116 strikeouts this season. ASU leads the series with the Gauchos, 3-9 but UCSB won the last pairing that was played a decade ago in 1997.

• What's Up With The Wolverines?
Saturday's first pairing will be with another first-time opponent for UCSB, Utah Valley State. The Wolverines are 3-5 on the season and most recently posted a 2-2 record at the Thunderbird Invitational where they split a pair of games with Utah State and Southern Utah. Heidi Boyer leads the Wolverines this season batting .522 and posting a team-leading .560 OB%. Corie Jensen leads the Utah Valley pitching staff with her 4.66 ERA and 17 strikeouts on the season, she has a 1-1 record.

• Bluejay Banter
Saturday's second game will be against Creighton of the Missouri Valley Athletic Conference. The Bluejays are 8-1 on the season and went 3-1 last weekend in Tulsa, Okla. with wins over Missouri State, Eastern Illinois and Stephen F. Austin with the lone loss of the season coming at the hands of Tulsa. Lau Emmsley-Chang leads the Bluejays this season hitting .474 while TJ Eadus is hitting .440 with five homeruns and 13 RBI. Tara Oltman leads the Creighton pitching staff with her 0.32 ERA and has a perfect 5-0 record on the season. Oltman has struck out 21 batters and averages a .143 opposing batting average. Creighton owns the series with UCSB 1-0 having defeated the Gauchos during the first meeting in 1996.

• Getting Oriented With The Ospreys
The Gauchos' final game of the tournament is scheduled against the University of North Florida. The Lady Ospreys are 6-7 on the season and own a 5-3 neutral site record. Gwen Williams leads North Florida hitting .342 on the season with four RBI and a .419 OB%. Pitcher Katie Brosky has a 3-3 record with a 1.66 ERA and 19 strikeouts while fellow hurler Devyn Findley is 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA and a team-leading 32 strikeouts. Sunday's match-up will be the first-ever between the Gauchos and Lady Ospreys.

• 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, Schroeder has a career record of 286-170-1 (.626) and with the Gauchos is 153-136 (.529).

• Probable Gaucho Starters - Notes
C - Ericka Hansen - Hit .308 last weekend with a double, a run and an RBI.
1B - Jessica Hejna - Is third on the team hitting .313, leads team with six sacrifice hits.
2B - Christine Ramos - Leads Gauchos with six stolen bases and 11 runs in 2007.
SS - Brittany Putich - Tied third with five RBI on the season.
3B -Tisha Duran - Leads team hitting .389 with 10 RBI, hit first homer against Santa Clara.
LF - Nicole Churnock - Was 1-for-4 over the weekend, hitting .154 overall on the season.
CF - Tiffany Wright - Homered twice vs. UTSA and led team with five RBI last weekend.
RF - Liz Walters - Hit three over the fence to double her career homerun count to six.
P - Jennifer Davis - Did not play last weekend, but is 1-2 on the season with 1.59 ERA.
DP - Danielle Meyers - Lone hit of the weekend was a homer against UTSA.

• Coming Soon
Next week the Gauchos will continue tournament action as they compete in their fifth consecutive tourney at the Stanford Classic Mar. 9-11 where they will face-off with host No. 9 Stanford, San Diego State, Sacramento State and Loyola of Chicago.