March 24, 2008

Gauchos Face Busy Spring Break Week

March 24, 2008

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Tuesday, Mar. 25, 2008
UCSB vs. No. 2/4 UCLA, 1 & 3 p.m.
at UCSB's Campus Diamond (500)

Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2008
UCSB vs. Cal State Bakersfield, 1 & 3 p.m.
at UCSB's Campus Diamond (500)

Saturday, Mar. 29, 2008
UCSB at UC Riverside, 12 & 2 p.m.
at UCR's Amy S. Harrison Field

Sunday, Mar. 30, 2008
UCSB at UC Riverside, 12 & 2 p.m.
at UCR's Amy S. Harrison Field

• Gauchos To Host Two Doubleheaders Before Opening Big West Action
After taking a week off from games during finals week, the UC Santa Barbara softball team will return to action this Tuesday, Mar. 25 when they host a doubleheader against No. 2/4 UCLA at Campus Diamond. Cal State Bakersfield will visit the Gauchos the following day for another twin bill. Following the mid-week action, the Gauchos will head South for the weekend where they will open their Big West Conference schedule with a three-game series at UC Riverside on Saturday and Sunday.

• Let's Catch Up
UCSB was in action last at the Loyola Marymount Tournament on Mar. 14-15. The Gauchos went 3-1 at the tournament, posting a pair of wins over Illinois-Chicago (6-3 and 6-4) and a victory over Bucknell (5-4). Unfortunately, UCSB was unable to stretch its season-best five-game winning streak any further, as it fell to host LMU, 11-4, in the tournament closer. The Gauchos currently hold a 15-12 overall record.

• Freshman Firepower
Freshman Jessica Beristianos stretched her hitting streak to six games two weeks ago as she tallied at least one hit in each of the Gauchos' games at the LMU Tournament. The shortstop led the team, batting .636 on the weekend and also had a team-high four runs. In the first pairing with Illinois-Chicago, Beristianos went 2-for-4 at the plate with her third homer of the season and two RBI. The next game against Bucknell, she was 2-for-3 with a run, a triple, and an RBI. She went 1-for-1 with a run, an RBI, a walk, and a sac fly in the second game against Illinois-Chicago, before having a 2-for-3 showing with a run and her second triple of the weekend (and the season) against LMU. Beristianos is currently batting .278 on the year, tops amongst freshman, and is tied second on the team with 12 RBI.

• Her Name Is Nicole
Nicole Churnock continued her standout senior campaign in Los Angeles two weeks ago. The left fielder was second on the team, batting .500 on the weekend in the number nine spot. Churnock had two hits in three of the four contests (she did not manage a hit in the second contest against Illinois-Chicago) and posted a pair of RBI in the first win over Illinois-Chicago. Churnock is currently second on the team with her .343 batting average. The senior, who had posted just seven RBI total in her past three seasons, is now fourth on the team with 11 RBI this season.

• Duran Does It All
2007 All-Big West First Team selection Tisha Duran continues to lead UCSB batting .425 on the season with 20 runs, 34 hits, and 27 RBI. The senior leads the Big West in home runs (8) and is second for slugging percentage (.813), total bases (65), and walks (16). The Ventura, Calif. native batted .429 over the weekend with four runs and three RBI. In the second win over Illinois-Chicago, the senior went 3-for-4 with a home run, a triple, and two RBI. Duran is steadily making her climb into the Gaucho record books, she currently is tied ninth for career home runs with 11, and tied sixth for home runs in a season with eight. Two weeks ago, she brought her career RBI total to 60, which is eighth all-time, a pretty big feat considering she is in just her second season with the Gauchos.

• 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 .310. She is third amongst the Gauchos with 15 runs scored and tied fourth with 10 RBI. She also leads the Big West with 10 stolen bases and 225 chances, she is second for putouts with 208. At the LMU Tournament, Ziegler stretched her hitting streak to seven games before her bat was silenced against the Lions. The first baseman also tallied three runs during the weekend and hit her first career triple in the win over Bucknell.

• The Sophomores Step-Up
Ziegler isn't the only sophomore that has made an impact for the Gauchos, fellow classmates Kelsey Anderson and Priscilla Perez have also become assets to the UCSB line-up this season. Now having started 20 games behind the plate, Anderson is batting .269 on the year and is one of six Gauchos to post double-digit RBI this year (10). The catcher batted .375 at the LMU Tourney and tied her season-high of two hits in the win over Bucknell. She collected two runs and also got on-base twice after being hit by a pitch. Perez has now started 10 games for UCSB and is third on the team with her .321 batting average. She went 1-for-3 with a run scored in each of the games on Mar. 14 (against Illinois-Chicago and Bucknell) and posted her fourth RBI of the season in the win over Bucknell.

• The Ramos Record Watch
Second baseman 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 .267 on the year, she is second on the team with 16 runs and eight stolen bases. Her eight stolen bases this season brings her career grand total to 29, which ties her for 10th amongst Gaucho all-time leaders. She has posted 70 career runs, which ties her for eighth all-time, and she just cracked the top-10 for hits two weeks ago when she reached 142 total, which ranks 10th.

• She's Got The Wright Stuff
Junior Tiffany Wright enters this week's competition amidst a season-high six game hitting streak. The center fielder posted a hit and an RBI in each of the Gauchos' four games at LMU two weeks ago. She opened the tournament with a home run in the win over Illinois-Chicago and then went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI the same day against Bucknell. In the second game against Illinois-Chicago, she hit an RBI double before rounding out the tourney going 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run against LMU. Wright is hitting .238 this season and is tied for first on the team with five doubles and tied second with 12 RBI. Her home run against Illinois-Chicago was her second this season and the 13th of her career. She currently ranks ninth all-time amongst Gaucho players for homers.

• Offensive Behavior
The Gauchos combined for a total of 21 runs on 38 hits two weeks ago at LMU. The Gauchos' 13 hits against Bucknell were the second most by the team this season (they posted a season-high 14 hits one week prior against North Dakota). In fact, the Gauchos' 38 hits over the weekend marked the best combined weekend total so far this season, topping the previous weeks' 36.The Gauchos' solid hitting over the past couple of weeks has catapulted them to the top of the Big West standings with their combined batting average of .289. It is an interesting change for the Gauchos, who ended the 2007 season with a conference-low .248 cumulative batting average. In almost a complete reversal, the 2007 pitching staff led the Big West with its 2.03 ERA and this season's staff is currently seventh out of eight with its 3.62 ERA.

• The Gaucho Circle
Sophomore Lindsey Correa currently leads the Gaucho pitching staff with a 2.80 ERA and a 7-3 record on the season. The right hander also has a team-leading 59 strikeouts in the 75.0 innings she has pitched. Correa is currently amidst a four-game win streak, with her last victory coming over Loyola Marymount on Mar. 9. Correa's classmate, MeLinda Matsumoto went 2-1 at the LMU Tournament, posting back-to-back wins over Illinois-Chicago and Bucknell. Matsumoto holds an overall record of 4-8 on the year, with five of her losses coming against teams ranked in the nations' top-25, and has posted a 4.83 ERA. Junior Tami Weston rounds out the staff and has collected a 3.13 ERA in 38.0 innings pitched this season. She has a 4-1 overall record and picked up her last win over Illinois-Chicago on Mar. 15 after allowing just two hits and no runs in two innings of work. Weston is second on the team with 30 strikeouts.

• 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.

• Bruin Banter
No. 2/4 UCLA enters this week's action with an overall record of 26-3. The Bruins are led at the plate by GiOnna DiSalvatore, who is batting .407 on the season with a team-leading 11 doubles and 31 RBI. In the circle, Donna Kerr owns a 0.57 ERA with a 10-11 record. In fact, the Bruin staff currently has a collective 0.68 ERA and has struck out 271 batters. The Gauchos and UCLA faced off earlier this season with UCLA taking a 7-5 victory in eight innings. UCLA holds a 48-3 overall record against UCSB.

• Catching the Roadrunners
Cal State Bakersfield enters the week with a 12-14 overall record. The Roadrunners are led by Stefanie Frei who is batting .400 on the season and Kelli Bailey, who is batting .367 with a team-leading 13 RBI. In the circle, Brittany Johnson has picked up the majority of the wins with an 8-7 season record and 2.67 ERA. She also leads the team with 22 strikeouts. The Gauchos own a 10-6 series advantage over the Roadrunners, but have not faced Bakersfield since the 1995 season.

• Riverside Ramblings
UC Riverside enters this week with a 12-18 overall record and will play at Cal on Tuesday and then play a doubleheader at Santa Clara on Wednesday before hosting the Gauchos this weekend. Pitcher Marissa Alvidrez leads the Highlanders at the plate, batting .459 on the season with 23 RBI. In the circle, Alvidrez has posted a 3-5 record with a 3.55 ERA and 36 strikeouts. Stephanie Marshall leads the staff with her 2.95 ERA, but has a 2-7 record on the year. UCSB swept the 2007 series with UC Riverside and the Gauchos hold a perfect 26-0 series record versus the Highlanders.

• Coming Soon
Following this week's seven games, the Gauchos will face a comparatively light weekend when they host Big West defending champions Cal Poly for a three-game conference series on April 5 & 6. Saturday's doubleheader will begin at noon as will the final game of the series on Sunday.