March 12, 2008

Gauchos Return to Los Angeles for LMU Tournament

March 12, 2008

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• The Schedule
Games No. 24, 25, 26, 27

Friday, Mar. 14, 2008
UCSB vs. Illinois Chicago, 1 pm
UCSB vs. Bucknell, 3 pm
at LMU's Smith Field (500)

Saturday, Mar. 15, 2008
UCSB vs. Illinois Chicago, 9 am
UCSB at Loyola Marymount, 1:30 pm
at LMU's Smith Field (500)

• Gauchos Look To Continue Their Luck At Smith Field
After posting a 3-1 record last weekend, including two wins at Loyola Marymount's Smith Field on Sunday, the UC Santa Barbara softball team will head back to Los Angeles for four games at the Loyola Marymount Tournament. The Gauchos will open on Friday with games against Illinois Chicago and Bucknell. On Saturday, UCSB will face-off once again with Illinois Chicago and then take-on LMU for the second time in a week. All of this weekend's games can be followed on Gametracker

• Weekend Rewind
UCSB opened the weekend in strong fashion Saturday morning as they overcame a 2-0 deficit against Loyola Chicago to mercy the team 10-2 in six innings. Unfortunately, the Gauchos' momentum did not carry over into the second game of their doubleheader against the Ramblers. Loyola Chicago shutout UCSB, 3-0, in the second half of the twin bill at Campus Diamond. On Sunday, UCSB headed to Loyola Marymount for a round-robin tournament. The Gauchos upend North Dakota, 12-4, in five innings before duking it out with the host Lions. Trailing 1-0 after four innings, Jessica Beristianos hit a three-run homer to give UCSB the lead. The Gauchos ended up taking the win at 4-1 avenging their 2007 season-ending loss to LMU in the NCAA Tournament.

• In The Circle With Correa
Sophomore pitcher Lindsey Correa stretched her current winning streak to four games this weekend and improved to 7-3 on the year. After helping the Gauchos to their 10-2 mercy win over Loyola Chicago on Saturday, Correa held Loyola Marymount to just one run on three hits as the Gauchos beat the Lions, 4-1 on Sunday, which also happened to be her birthday. During the weekend, she posted a 1.62 ERA with a .178 opponent batting average. Currently, she holds a team best 2.20 ERA and a .190 opponent batting average, which ranks second in the Big West. She has notched 44 strikeouts in 60.1 innings of play.

• Duran Duran
2007 All-Big West First Team selection Tisha Duran continues to lead UCSB batting .424 on the season with 16 runs, 28 hits, and 24 RBI. The senior leads the Big West in RBI and home runs (7) and is second for batting average, slugging percentage (.803), on-base percentage (.803), and total bases (53). The Ventura, Calif. native batted .300 over the weekend, which was actually eighth on the team. Duran posted a perfect 1.000 slugging percentage; her three hits during the weekend consisted of a double and two home runs. She posted a total of four runs and four RBI, and also led the team with six walks. In fact, a quick look at Duran's stats this season reveals a current trend: the third basemen walked just once in the first 12 games of the season and has been walked 13 times in the last 11 contests, including two walks on five occasions. Pitching around Duran has been effective in keeping her RBI count down, as she has posted eight in the last 11 games versus the 16 she tallied in the first 12 contests of the year. The Gaucho offense has shown, however, that it isn't reliant on the third basemen to bring home all of their runs, as Duran's run total has increased from six in the first 12 games to 10 in the last 11. The senior is steadily making her climb into the Gaucho record books, she currently is tied 10th for career home runs with 10 and tied 10th for homeruns in a season with seven. She also stands just one RBI short (57) of making the career RBI top-10 list.

• Her Name Is Nicole
Senior Nicole Churnock had a great weekend at the plate as she led the Gauchos batting .556 across the four games. The left fielder went 5-for-9 with three runs, a double, three RBI, and reached twice after being hit by a pitch. Churnock tied her season-high two RBI on Saturday in the first contest against Loyola Chicago. She then posted a pair of hits in each of the next two games before hitting her second double of the season in the 4-1 win over Loyola Marymount. Churnock is currently third on the team and second amongst players who have started every game with her .310 batting average. She is also two hits and one RBI away from surpassing her junior year totals of 20 and seven, respectively.

• Zoning In On Ziegler
First baseman Jessica Ziegler has made her presence known in the Gaucho lineup this season. The sophomore is fourth on the team, and third amongst regular starters, batting .306 on the season. She is third amongst the Gauchos with 12 runs scored and tied second with 10 RBI. She also ranks second in the Big West with nine stolen bases. Over the weekend, Ziegler posted a .429 batting average with three doubles, two runs, and a team-high five RBI. She tallied at least one hit in each of this weekend's games including a pair of doubles in the 10-2 mercy win over Loyola Chicago. She also posted a career-best four RBI in the 12-4 mercy win against North Dakota. This weekend's streak marks her second four-game hitting streak of the season.

• The Sophomores Step-Up
Sophomores Kelsey Anderson and Priscilla Perez combined for 11 total at-bats last season, but over the course of the last several games, they are quickly becoming huge assets to the Gaucho line-up. Now having started 16 games behind the plate, Anderson is batting .250 on the year and is tied for second on the team with 10 total RBI. The catcher batted .333 over this past weekend's four games including a 2-for-3 performance against North Dakota with two runs and a two-RBI double. Perez has now started six games for UCSB this year and posted at least one hit in five of those starts. She went 1-for-3 with two runs and a career-best two RBI in the first contest with Loyola Chicago and also tallied a pair of hits with a run and an RBI in the victory over North Dakota. She is second on the team batting .412 on the year.

• The Ramos Record Watch
Second basemen and 2007 All-Big West First Team pick Christine Ramos, who batted a combined .350 during her first two seasons with the Gauchos, hasn't been making as much noise at the plate this season but is still tearing up the base paths. Currently batting .280 on the year, she is second on the team with 12 runs and eight stolen bases. The junior was solid over the weekend batting .385 over the four games with three runs, a double, an RBI, and three stolen bases. Ramos posted two hits in the second game against Loyola Chicago and in the game against North Dakota, in which she also had two runs and two stolen bases. Her three stolen bases this weekend brought her career grand total to 29, which ties her for 10th amongst Gaucho all-time leaders. She has posted 69 career runs, which ranks ninth all-time, and she is currently just two hits shy of cracking the top-10 for hits with her 139.

• Beristianos' Big Play
Freshman Jessica Beristianos, who had hit over .200 in just one game this season - the season opener against Nevada on Feb. 8 - had a strong showing this weekend. The shortstop hit over .200 in the four games, scored three runs, tallied a pair of stolen bases and carried the Gauchos to their 4-1 win over Loyola Marymount. In the top of the fifth inning against the Lions, the Gauchos were trailing 1-0 with two runners on and one out when Beristianos homered over the left field fence to put UCSB on the board at 3-1 and earn the eventual win. The homer marked her second of the season and her fourth extra-base hit.

• Offensive Behavior
The Gauchos combined for a total of 26 runs on 36 hits across the four games this past weekend. UCSB's 12 runs, 14 hits, and 12 RBI against North Dakota were all season-highs. In fact, the Gauchos' 36 hits over the weekend marked the best combined weekend total so far this season. UCSB's seven runs in the bottom of the second inning against Loyola Chicago were the most in a single inning this season, the last time the Gauchos scored seven runs in an inning was against Northern Colorado on Feb. 18, 2007, also at Campus Diamond. The Gauchos' solid hitting catapulted them to the top of the Big West standings with their combined batting average of .279, edging out Cal State Fullerton, which is hitting .274.

• Home Run Happy
UCSB tallied four total home runs this past weekend, including two against North Dakota, the premature game-ender against Loyola Chicago, and the gamewinner over Loyola Marymount. The Gauchos have posted 11 total homers this season and Tisha Duran has hit seven of those. If one is into looking at patterns, you would find that this season, if one home run is hit during a weekend of play, there is bound to be another to follow. Let me explain. The first Gaucho home run came in the first game of the season against Nevada and the second against Oklahoma in the second game of the year. Skip forward eight contests and you come to the Softball by the Beach Tournament where the Gauchos tallied a combined five homeruns across three games, including a season-high three versus Portland State on Feb. 23. Then you come to this weekend with the four home runs in four games. Not a bad pattern to encounter.

• Pitching In
Sophomore MeLinda Matsumoto went 1-1 over the weekend dropping a 3-0 decision to Loyola Chicago after allowing three earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts. She rebounded though, and helped the Gauchos to the win over North Dakota, throwing 2.2 innings with two runs (both unearned) on just one hit, with a season-high six strikeouts. The right-handed pitcher is amidst a three-game streak without allowing a walk and has posted five total games this season with no walks. Matsumoto holds a 4.72 ERA on the season and a 2-7 record. Five of her losses this season have home against teams that are currently ranked amongst the nations' top-25.

• In The Dugout With Coach Galicinao
Former UCSB assistant, Brie Galicinao took the helm of the Gaucho softball program last June. Galicinao is a 2002 graduate of Princeton where she was a four-year starting pitcher and utility player for the Tigers and was named the 2001 and 2002 Ivy League Player of the Year. The Stockton, Calif. native served as Kristy Schroeder's assistant for the 2006 and 2007 seasons, helping guide the Gauchos to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Under her tutelage, Jennifer Davis became the Big West and Gaucho career strikeout record holder and the 2007 UCSB pitching staff led the conference for ERA.

• Extinguishing The Flames
Illinois Chicago enters this weekend's tournament with a 4-14 overall record. The Flames are led by Ashlee Ackerman, who is batting .379 on the season with a team-leading 11 runs and five stolen bases. Pitcher Sarah Clynes has played the most innings in the circle, posting a 2-8 record with a 6.08 ERA. The Gauchos hold a 5-2 series advantage over the Flames, picking up their last win and loss in 2004.

• Scouting The Bison
Heading into this weekend's action at Smith Field, Bucknell holds a 3-8 season record. The Bison are led by Jessie Snyder, who is batting .273 on the year with four runs and three RBI. In the circle, Christie Wiest holds a 2-4 record and has posted a 1.62 ERA with 19 strikeouts. This Friday's contest will be the first-ever between the two programs.

• A Case of Deja Vu
For the second week in a row, UCSB will face off with Loyola Marymount in a Sunday afternoon contest. After last week's loss to UCSB, the Lions currently hold a 15-9 record on the season. J.J. Hartung currently leads the Squad batting .406 on the season, in fact, eight LMU players are all batting over .300 so far this year. Chelsie Tysdal leads the team with 22 RBI and five homeruns, she is hitting .385. In the circle, the Gauchos may once again see Tiffany Pagano, who holds a 1.62 ERA with an 8-4 record, or if the Lion coaching staff mixes it up, hurler Melissa Dykema could be tossing the game. Dykema, who was in the circle for both of the Lions' wins over the Gauchos in 2007, holds a 7-5 record and a 2.22 ERA. After last weekend's win, UCSB holds a 19-13 series advantage over Loyola Marymount.

• Coming Soon
Following this weekend's tournament, the Gauchos will take a week-long break from games for finals week. UCSB will return to action on Tuesday, Mar. 25 when they host No. 2/3 UCLA in a doubleheader at Campus Diamond. The following afternoon the Gauchos will host Cal State Bakersfield for a pair of games. On Saturday, Mar. 29 UCSB will open its 2008 Big West schedule at UC Riverside.