March 16, 2007

Gauchos Return to Campus Diamond for Doubleheader Versus New Mexico State

March 16, 2007

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• The Schedule
Games No. 24, 25 at Campus Diamond (500)

Saturday, March 17, 2007
UC Santa Barbara (16-7) vs. New Mexico State (17-10), 12 & 2 p.m.

• Welcome Home Gauchos
After spending the past two weekends on the road at tournaments, the UC Santa Barbara softball team returns to Campus Diamond on Saturday for a non-conference doubleheader with New Mexico State scheduled to begin at noon. The Gauchos will look to stretch their current four game home win streak; they are 8-1 overall at Campus Diamond after dominating both the UCSB Softball by the Beach Tournament and the UCSB Mini Tournament on back-to-back weekends in February.

• An Update: UCSB Finishes Second At Stanford Classic
The Gauchos went 3-2 at last weekend's Stanford Classic hosted by the No. 12 ranked Cardinal at Smith Family Stadium. After picking up a 5-2 win over San Diego State in the tourney opener, Santa Barbara fell to Stanford, 6-2 on Friday marking its biggest margin of loss this season. The Gauchos bounced back and defeated Sacramento State 3-2 in eight innings and Loyola Chicago, 6-4 to earn a spot in Sunday's tournament championship game. The Cardinal grabbed their second win of the weekend over UCSB on Sunday, this time by way of a 2-0 shutout.

• For The Record
The Gauchos have posted a 16-7 overall record on the season. The last time UCSB got off to such a strong start was the 2003 season, head coach Kristy Schroeder's second year at the helm of the program. In 2003, the Gauchos got off to a 16-7 start and eventually ended the season with the best record in program history: 34-22. The Gauchos are currently ranked second in the Big West for season winning percentage (.696) behind Cal Poly, which has gotten off to an impressive 18-6 start. Three of Santa Barbara's losses this season have come at the hands of teams ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll, including the two losses to No. 12 Stanford last weekend. UCSB is now 2-3 in games against ranked opponents.

• The Ramos Rundown
Sophomore second basemen Christine Ramos led the Gauchos at the plate for the second consecutive weekend hitting a team-leading .533 going 8-for-13 with three runs. The Long Beach, Calif. native also posted a .533 on-base percentage and had a stolen base. Ramos collected multiple hits versus San Diego State, Stanford and Loyola Chicago including a 3-for-4 performance against the Aztecs in the tourney opener. In fact, Ramos currently is tied for first in the Big West in multiple hit games this season with 12. The leadoff hitter is tops amongst the Gauchos hitting .385 on the season with a .407 OB%. She also has a team-leading 16 runs this season and seven stolen bases.

• She's Got The Wright Stuff
Sophomore Tiffany Wright had another solid weekend at the plate for the Gauchos, which was highlighted by a 4-for-4 performance against Sacramento State including a double in the eighth inning that brought home the game-winning run. The Corona, Calif. native is currently third on the team hitting .300 with 13 runs and 13 RBI. She has recorded six doubles, one triple and two homers and has a .500 slugging percentage. The sophomore has had hits in 15 of the 23 games played this season including four multi-hit games. She is also tied for fourth in conference with five stolen bases.

• How The West-on Was Won
Hurler Tami Weston pitched her second complete game of the season on Saturday versus Sacramento State. The sophomore pitched eight innings and allowed just two runs (neither earned) on two hits, walked six and struck out eight helping the Gauchos to the 3-2 extra inning victory. Weston is now 2-0 on the season and holds a team-leading 0.34 ERA in 20.1 innings of work.

• Hurler Happenings
The Gaucho pitching staff has had an impressive start to the 2007 season as they currently rank first in the Big West for their combined ERA of 1.65. They have also allowed the fewest runs and earned runs in the conference having given up only 50 total runs this season, 37 of which were earned. UCSB also leads the Big West with .182 opposing batting average. Senior Jennifer Davis (2-5) is tops in the conference with her 1.09 ERA and has a team-high 55 strikeouts this year. Over the weekend, the Whittier, Calif. native earned her third save of the season when she held San Diego State to just one run on one hit in the final two innings of Friday's game. Davis picked up a loss in Sunday's championship game with Stanford after allowing only two runs on four hits and striking out five. Freshman MeLinda Matsumoto continues to lead the Gauchos with her 7-1 record on the season and has collected a 2.58 ERA this season. Over the weekend, the Union City, Calif. native picked up her first loss of the season after giving up five runs to No. 12 Stanford on Friday, she recovered with the win over Loyola Chicago the next day. Against the Ramblers, Matsumoto allowed no runs on no hits and struck out three in four innings of work. Freshman Lindsey Correa rounds out the group of talented Gaucho pitchers, Correa currently holds a season ERA of 2.22 and is second on the team with 24 strikeouts. The freshman captured the win over San Diego State after throwing five innings allowing just one run on three hits and striking out one, she also started the game against Loyola Chicago and gave up four runs on five hits. Correa is currently 5-1 on the season.

• The Dish On Tish
Junior third basemen Tisha Duran has been a consistent force at the plate for the Gauchos this season and last weekend was no exception. The Ventura, Calif. native was 4-for-13 with four runs, four RBI, a double, a triple and two walks. Duran was impressive against Loyola as she posted a 2-for-3 appearance with two runs, two RBI, her triple and a walk. Not only is she second on the team hitting .344 on the season, the junior leads the team in doubles (7) and RBI (15). Her team-leading .531 slugging percentage is accompanied by a respectable .403 OB%. Duran has had hits in 15 of the Gauchos' 23 games this season and has posted five multi-hit games.

• Hansen Homers
Junior catcher Ericka Hansen collected her second homerun of the season in Saturday's 3-2 extra inning win over Sacramento State. She followed up with a 2-for-3 performance with two RBI later in the day against Loyola Chicago. Hansen is batting .204 on the season and is tied for third on the team with nine RBI. The San Clemente, Calif. native leads the Gauchos and is second in the Big West with her 12 walks on the season.

• Honing In On Hejna
Senior Jessica Hejna got things rolling last weekend with a 2-for-4 showing accompanied by a run against San Diego State in the tourney opener and showed that up going 2-for-3 with a double and a run the next day versus Sacramento State. The senior first basemen completed the weekend with five hits, three runs, a double and two sacrifice hits. Hejna currently leads the Gauchos hitters with 11 sac hits this season and is tied third with 13 runs. She is hitting .290 overall and is perfect with her 1.000 fielding percentage at first base.

• Robbing Them Blind
The Gauchos have been dominant on the base paths with a conference-leading 31 stolen bases this season. Leading Santa Barbara is Ramos who has gone 7-for-8 in stolen base attempts. In contrast, the Gauchos have held opponents to just 17 stolen bags this season.

• Going The Distance
At the Stanford Classic, UCSB was forced into extra innings for the second time in 2007 during it's pairing with Sacramento State. With the score tied at 1-1, the Gauchos were able to score two runs in the eighth and hold the Hornets to one, to grab the 3-2 victory. The Gauchos only other extra inning game this year was against San Diego State during the season-opening Campbell/Cartier Tournament where Santa Barbara picked up a 1-0 victory. With their 2-0 record in extra innings, the Gauchos are showing early in the season that they have what it takes to go the distance.

• 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 292-174-1 (.625) and with the Gauchos is 159-140 (.532).

• Probable Gaucho Starters - Notes
C - Ericka Hansen - Hit second homerun of the season against Sacramento State.
1B - Jessica Hejna - Went 2-for-3 with one run in 3-2 eight inning win over the Hornets.
2B - Christine Ramos - Hit .533 on the weekend with multiple hits in three games.
SS - Brittany Putich - Was 1-for-2 with a triple, a run and an RBI in win over Loyola.
3B - Tisha Duran - Second on team hitting .344 and has posted team-leading 15 RBI.
LF - Nicole Churnock - Hitting .217 on the season and 2-for-3 in stolen base attempts.
CF - Tiffany Wright - Went 4-for-4 with a double and an RBI against Sacramento State.
RF - Liz Walters - Has a team-leading three homeruns and has collected seven RBI.
P - Jennifer Davis - Has a conference-leading 1.09 ERA and team-high 55 strikeouts.
DP - Danielle Meyers - Has two homers and nine RBI on the season, five came against No. 2 ASU.

• Poll Points
After receiving votes in last week's USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Softball Poll, the Gauchos did not reappear this week. Santa Barbara received votes in the Feb. 13 ESPN.com poll, but have yet to be ranked in either poll's Top 25. Conference foe Cal State Fullerton has received votes in both of this week's polls and Cal Poly has garnered votes in the ESPN.com poll. 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 champion while Cal Poly and Long Beach State rounded out the top three spots in the poll. The official Big West season will start for Santa Barbara when it hosts Fullerton on March 31 and April 1.

• All About The Aggies
New Mexico State will begin a weeklong California road swing at Santa Barbara on Saturday. The Aggies are currently 17-10 on the season and most recently split a doubleheader with UTEP on Wednesday. Colleen Kimbro leads New Mexico State batting .392 on the season while Stephanie Herrera is hitting .386 with 20 runs and a team-leading 15 stolen bases. In fact, including Kimbro and Herrera, the Aggies have six players that are batting over .300 on the season and their team average is .302. Kim Watson, who has posted an 11-6 record on the season with a 2.52 ERA and 106 strikeouts, leads the pitching staff. The Gaucho and Aggie series is currently tied up at 21-21 with UCSB having captured the last win back in 2002.

• 2007 Achievements And Approaching Milestones
- Feb. 10: Senior pitcher Jennifer Davis broke the UCSB career strikeout record of 640 in game versus Cal, her current record now stands at 685.
- Feb. 24: Head coach Kristy Schroeder recorded her 150th victory at UC Santa Barbara in 3-0 shutout win over Northern Illinois.
- Feb. 24: Gauchos tied the school record for most homeruns in a game with four in 9-1 mercy of UT San Antonio.
- Mar. 4: Davis moved to second on the UCSB all-time pitcher's victories list with 49. School record is held by Sandy Ortigies with 62.
- Mar. 17: Schroeder will coach her 300th game with UC Santa Barbara.
- Eight more wins will bring Schroeder's eight season career win total to 300.

• Coming Soon
Next week the Gauchos will remain at home and host yet another non-conference doubleheader, this time with Loyola Marymount on Sunday, March 25. The first of the two games is scheduled for noon, while the second will start at approximately 2:00 p.m.