March 22, 2007
Games No. 26, 27
at Campus Diamond (500)
Sunday, March 25, 2007
UC Santa Barbara (18-7) vs. Loyola Marymount (25-12), 12 & 2 p.m.
The Week Ahead
With finals week in full swing the Gauchos will have a relatively light week as they remain at home and host non-conference opponent Loyola Marymount on Sunday, March 25 for a doubleheader set to begin at noon with the second game scheduled for 2:00 p.m. The games will be played at Santa Barbara's very own Campus Diamond.
An Update: UCSB Relishes Its Homecoming
After spending the previous two weeks on the road at tournaments, UCSB returned home last Saturday to host a doubleheader against non-conference foe New Mexico State. The Gauchos had an impressive day as they shutout the Aggies twice: in the first game sophomore Christine Ramos hit her first homerun of the season to lead the Gauchos to a 1-0 victory. In the second game, the Gaucho bats came alive as sophomore Tiffany Wright and senior Jennifer Davis each homered helping UCSB to an 8-0 mercy win in the sixth inning.
For The Record
Santa Barbara is now 18-7 overall on the season. The current Gaucho record continues to parallel the program's 2003 season record. The 2003 Gauchos ended up posting a 34-22 record, the best mark in program history. Santa Barbara is currently ranked second in the Big West for winning percentage (.720) behind Cal Poly, which has gotten off to an impressive 22-7 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, UCSB is now 2-3 in games against ranked opponents. The Gauchos also currently boast a 10-1 home record with the only loss at Campus Diamond coming to UT San Antonio on February 23. UCSB will carry a six game home win streak into this weekend's doubleheader against Loyola Marymount.
Davis Pitches Her Way To A Pair Of Weekly Awards
Senior pitcher Jennifer Davis had an impressive showing in the circle and at the plate on Saturday. In the first game against New Mexico State, the hurler held the Aggies to just two hits in seven innings of work and she fanned 12 of the 25 batters she faced, tying her season-high strikeout total. During Saturday's second game, Davis filled in as the Gauchos designated player and went 2-for-3 with a homerun and three RBI. For her performance on Saturday, Davis was picked as the Santa Barbara News Press Female Athlete of the Week and also was tabbed the Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week, marking the seventh time in her career she has earned the honor. The Whittier, Calif. native currently has a conference leading ERA of 0.97 and opposing batting average of .145 with 67 strikeouts this season. She has a 3-5 record on the season with all three wins coming by way of a shutout, she also has posted three saves this season. At the plate, Davis is hitting .231 good for fifth on the team.
The Ramos Rundown
Sophomore second basemen Christine Ramos led the Gauchos at the plate for the third consecutive weekend, hitting a team-high .600 going 3-for-5 with a homerun and two runs scored. Ramos hit her first homerun of the season in Saturday's pairing against New Mexico State, her homer turned out to be the game winner as the Gauchos took the 1-0 win. The Long Beach, Calif. native has a four-game hit streak and has had hits in 18 of the Gauchos' 25 games this season, including 13 multiple hit games. The leadoff hitter leads the Gauchos hitting .398 on the season and also has collected 18 runs with a .432 on-base percentage. A 2006 All-Big West Conference Second Team honoree, Ramos ranks in the conference top-10 for batting average, OB%, runs scored, hits and is tied for first with eight stolen bases.
Pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto continued her stellar freshman campaign on Saturday when she captured the 8-0 mercy win over New Mexico State. In six innings of work, Matsumoto allowed six hits, only one of which was an extra-base hit. The Union City, Calif. native also struck out three batters. Matsumoto is now 8-1 on the year and has a season ERA of 2.23. Her eight wins are the second most in the Big West so far this season and like fellow hurler Davis, three of Matsumoto's victories this season have been by way of shutout.
She's Got The Wright Stuff
Sophomore center fielder Tiffany Wright continues to post impressive numbers at the plate for UCSB. After struggling in the first game against the Aggies, Wright got things rolling in game two with a 2-for-3 performance with her third homerun of the season, two runs scored, two RBI and a stolen base. The Corona, Calif. native is third on the team hitting .324 overall and leads the team with nine extra base hits: six doubles, one triple and three home runs. She is tied for first on the team with 15 RBI, is first with a .526 slugging percentage and is second with six stolen bases. Hitting in the clean up spot for the Gauchos, Wright has had hits in 16 of the 25 games played this season including five multi-hit games.
The UCSB pitching staff continues to lead the conference with their combined ERA of 1.52 and opposing batting average of .182. The Gauchos 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. In addition to Davis and Matsumoto, hurlers Lindsey Correa and Tami Weston have contributed greatly to the Gauchos' depth in the circle. Correa currently has an ERA of 2.22 and has recorded a 5-1 record with three shutout wins and is second on the team with 24 strikeouts. Rounding out the Gaucho staff is sophomore Tami Weston who is 2-0 on the season with a 0.34 ERA in her four appearances. The Ventura, Calif. native has struck out 19 batters this season and has an opponent's batting average of .138.
The Dish On Tish
Junior third basemen Tisha Duran has been a consistent force at the plate for the Gauchos this season and is currently second on the team hitting .324 with a team-leading seven doubles and 15 RBI. The Ventura, Calif. native went 1-for-4 with a run against New Mexico State in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader. Duran has had hits in 16 of the Gauchos' 25 games this season and has posted five multi-hit games.
Honing In On Hejna
Senior Jessica Hejna went 2-for-5 over the weekend with a double, one run and two RBI against the Aggies. The Orange, Calif. native is currently fourth on the team hitting .299 on the season with a .403 slugging percentage and a .382 on-base percentage. Hejna also leads the team with 12 sacrifice hits on the year, which ranks second in the Big West. The 5'2" first basemen has also been a force defensively as she holds a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage while leading the conference in chances (203) and putouts (190).
Robbing Them Blind
The Gauchos have been dominant on the base paths with a conference-leading 33 stolen bases this season. Leading Santa Barbara is Ramos who has gone 8-for-9 in stolen base attempts. In contrast, the Gauchos have held opponents to just 20 stolen bags this season.
The Science Of A Shutout
Out of the 18 wins the Gauchos have posted this season, 10 have been by way of a shutout, which already surpasses the eight shutout wins the program tallied during the entire 2006 season. UCSB has been on the receiving end of four shutout losses, but have held their opposition to two runs or less in those four match-ups. Three Gaucho pitchers have thrown three runless games apiece: Davis, Matsumoto and Correa. Weston has one shutout win under her belt this year.
With Saturday's 8-0 six-inning mercy win over New Mexico State, the Gauchos now total three mercy victories this season already surpassing the two posted in 2006. The Gauchos have outscored their 2007 opponents 101-50 and on average win by a 3.6 run margin whereas UCSB losses on average are by only two runs.
Putting The "Home" In Homerun
So far this year, the Gauchos have collected 13 homers on the season and the noticeable trend is that 10 of those round-trippers have been hit at their very own Campus Diamond. Another striking similarity is that those ten homeruns have come against only three different teams: UCSB hit five against UT San Antonio between two games at the Softball by the Beach Tournament, hit one in each game versus Santa Clara at the UCSB Mini Tournament and hit a total of three in the doubleheader against the Aggies on Saturday. Wright currently leads all Gauchos with three of the thirteen homers coming off of her bat.
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. 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 294-174-1 (.625) and with the Gauchos is 161-140 (.532).
Probable Gaucho Starters - Notes
C - Ericka Hansen - Hitting .207 on the year, leads the team in walks with 12.
1B - Jessica Hejna - Was 2-for-5 with a double, one run and two RBI over the weekend.
2B - Christine Ramos - Hit .600 on Saturday with game winning homerun in game one.
SS - Brittany Putich - Was 2-for-5 with a double, a run and an RBI on the weekend.
3B - Tisha Duran - Second on team hitting .324 on the season, leads team with 15 RBI.
LF - Nicole Churnock - Was 1-for-3 with a run scored in game two against Aggies.
CF - Tiffany Wright - Went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI in second game on Sat.
RF - Liz Walters - Hitting .157 on season with .333 slugging percentage, has three homers.
P - Jennifer Davis - Big West Pitcher of the Week after shutting out New Mexico State.
DP - Danielle Meyers - Hitting .136 on the season with two homers and nine RBI.
Since receiving votes two weeks ago in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Softball Poll, the Gauchos have yet to reappear on the list. 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.
Taming The Lions
Loyola Marymount comes to Campus Diamond after splitting a pair of games with Ohio State on Wednesday. The Lions took the first game 3-2 before having their impressive 12 game win streak snapped in a 4-1 loss in the latter half of the doubleheader. LMU is 25-12 on the season and has posted a 0-3 record on opposing diamonds. The Lions currently have five players batting over .300 on the season including team leader Margo Pineda who is hitting .462 with 21 runs, 23 RBI and a .660 slugging percentage. Kylie Conroy leads the team with 6 homeruns and 27 RBI and is hitting .353 overall. Hurler Melissa Dykema has a team-low 2.57 ERA and will carry a 16-5 record into Sunday's doubleheader. Dykema has also collected 125 strikeouts on the season and holds an opponent batting average of .220. The Gauchos currently lead the series with LMU 17-11 with their last win and loss to the Lions coming in 2005.
Next week the Gauchos will hit the road for a single game at No. 11 UCLA on Tuesday at noon before returning home to host Cal State Fullerton for both team's Big West Conference opening series scheduled for 12 & 2 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday at Campus Diamond.