UCSB Hosts UC Riverside in Big West Opening Series

March 26, 2009

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• The Schedule
Games No. 29-31
at Campus Diamond

Saturday, March 28, 2009
UCSB vs. UC Riverside, 12 & 2 p.m.

Sunday, March 29, 2009
UCSB vs. UC Riverside, 12 p.m.

• The Opening Pitch
The UC Santa Barbara softball team will open its 2009 Big West schedule this week as it hosts UC Riverside in a three-game series at Campus Diamond. The teams will play a twin bill beginning at noon on Saturday and conclude the series with a single game at noon on Sunday.

• Gauchos Go 3-1 In Early Spring Break Week Action
UCSB has been plenty busy during its spring break week. The Gauchos traveled to No. 5 UCLA on Tuesday for a doubleheader. After dropping the first game by way of an 8-0 mercy-rule loss, the Gauchos rebounded and handed UCLA its biggest loss of the season by way of a 7-2 score. On Wednesday, UCSB returned to Campus Diamond and swept a doubleheader against Santa Clara. The Gauchos posted 6-0 and 7-2 victories over the Broncos to remain perfect at Campus Diamond.

• For The Record
UCSB currently holds a 16-12 overall record and a 4-0 record at home. Five of the Gauchos' losses have come to teams that were ranked at the time of the pairing or are now currently ranked in the NFCA/USA Today Top-25 Poll (Stanford, Washington, San Diego State, Ohio State and UCLA).

• Scouting Riverside
UC Riverside enters this weekend's series with an 11-18 overall record. Jessica Vasser leads the team, batting .309 this season with eight RBI. In the circle, Marissa Alvidrez has posted a team-leading ERA of 4.52 and has a 3-8 record. Stephanie Marshall owns a 4.68 ERA and a 4-7 record.

• Against The Highlanders
UCSB owns a perfect 29-0 all-time record against UC Riverside. During last season's series, the Gauchos posted 7-6, 6-2 and 3-1 victories over UCR on their way to opening Big West Conference play with a 6-0 record.

• Denied!
With the shutout win over Santa Clara on Wednesday, the Gauchos have now posted six shutouts this season, surpassing the five they recorded in 2008. Half of UCSB's shutouts have occurred on Campus Diamond. Freshman pitcher Krista Cobb leads UCSB with four this season.

• Home Cookin'
Across their four games at Campus Diamond, the Gauchos have outscored their opponents 23-2 and six players are hitting .400 or better. UCSB is batting .374 collectively at Campus Diamond with Jessica Ziegler leading the way with a .538 average. Two pitchers - Cobb and MeLinda Matsumoto - own an ERA of 0.00 at home.

• Ferosh Frosh
Freshman Krista Cobb - who has already been named Big West Pitcher of the Week twice during her young career - has won two games already this week including a victory over No. 5 UCLA. Against the Bruins, Cobb tossed a complete game and allowed just two earned runs on six hits. She walked three and struck out three. The next day against Santa Clara, she shut out the Broncos and allowed just two hits with no walks and four strikeouts. She currently owns a team-leading 2.32 ERA and has posted a 9-3 record.

• The Ramos Report
Senior Christine Ramos continues to lead the Gauchos with her .400 batting average and leads the team in hits (40), runs (20) and stolen bases (11). This is the fourth season Ramos has led the squad for hits. She carries a seven-game hitting streak into the weekend and has had hits in all but three games this season. This week alone, she has posted a .571 average across UCSB's four games with four runs, two RBI and a stolen base. In the win over UCLA, she went 3-for-3 with a double, two runs and two RBI.

• Amongst The Nation's Best...Bullseyes
Sophomore Jessica Beristianos has been nailed by a conference-leading eight pitches this season, ranking her 25th in the country for hit by pitches per game (0.29). The infielder also leads the squad in walks (13) and doubles (7) and is second with 22 RBI. Beristianos went 1-for-3 with three RBI and a walk in UCSB`s win over UCLA on Tuesday.

• Back In The Mix
Junior Priscilla Perez returned to action on Wednesday after sitting out 18 games due to an injury. Perez had a solid return as she went 3-for-6 with two runs and two RBI during the twin bill with the Broncos.

• She's Got The Wright Stuff
Senior center fielder Tiffany Wright got off to a bit of a slow start in 2009, but has quickly picked up the pace and is now batting .292 and leads the team with 23 RBI and is second with 19 runs. She went 2-for-3 with a home run, a double and two RBI in the victory over UCLA on Tuesday and is now just one home run shy of making the Big West's career top-10 list.

• Who Does No. 2 Work For?
The Gauchos' number two batter - Jessica Ziegler - is currently second on the team in batting average (.376) and hits (38). She has had hits in eight of the last nine games and matched her season-high of three hits in the second game against Santa Clara on Wednesday. She went 3-for-3 during that game with a triple, a run and a RBI. In home games, she leads the squad in batting average (.538), hits (7) and total bases (9).

• Ziegler Squared
Freshman third baseman Amanda Ziegler is third behind her sister on the team with her .294 batting average. She leads the Gaucho freshman with her three home runs, four doubles and 18 RBI. This week, she hit .400 across the four games and posted three RBI and two runs.

• Pitching Points
Currently the Gaucho pitching staff owns a 2.99 ERA, a huge improvement upon last season's collective 3.82 ERA. In home contests so far, UCSB has posted an impressive 0.52 ERA and .196 opponent's batting average.

• Preseason Predictions
In the 2009 Big West Coaches Preseason Poll, the Gauchos were picked to finish third - tied with Cal Poly - out of the conference's eight teams. UCSB picked up one first-place vote while Long Beach State received the other seven. Cal State Fullerton was picked to finish second. The poll, however, isn't always the best indicator of how a season will end up. In 2008, UCSB was picked seventh in the preseason poll before taking second in conference.

• Big West Update
No. 24 Cal Poly currently has the best nonconference record (21-7) heading into Big West play this weekend while one other club - Cal State Northridge - has already reached 20 wins. The Gauchos are fourth in the standings behind Long Beach State, which has gone 19-13 thus far.

• Poll Points
The Gauchos have received votes in the NFCA/USA Today Top-25 Poll twice this season. The Gauchos were listed among "others receiving votes" in the Feb. 10 and Feb. 23 polls. Cal Poly is currently the only ranked Big West team, holding down the No. 24 spot nationally.

• "Pink Week"
In its on-going effort to draw awareness to breast cancer and to promote its research, the UCSB Athletics Department is sponsoring "Pink Week" at its athletics events this week. As a part of this effort, tickets to Saturday's game are a special "Pink Price" of $1 and pink hats and visors will be sold to help raise funds for breast cancer research. "Pink Week" is part UCSB Athletics' BE Great initiative.

• Kids to College
Sunday's game is a Santa Barbara News-Press Kids to College game. All youth (eighth grade and under) will receive free admission.

• Season Tickets
For a chance to catch all of the Gauchos' games at Campus Diamond this season, the UCSB Athletics Department is, for the first-time, offering season tickets. Ticket prices are $50 for adults, $40 seniors (55 and over) and $24 youth (13 and under) and include all home contests. With the purchase of a season ticket, you will also receive a free UCSB visor. Call (805) 893-UCSB or click here to purchase tickets.

• Softball Sidekicks
Youth teams are invited to Campus Diamond to be a part of the Softball Sidekicks program, hosted by UCSB. Teams can sign-up to participate in on-field activities, including taking the field with the Gauchos prior to the start of the game. Players and coaches can attend the game free of charge. Click here to sign up and for more information.

• Next Up
Following this week's home series against UCR, UCSB will make the short trek up the 101 next weekend to play a three-game series against rival Cal Poly. The Gauchos will play a doubleheader at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Apr. 4 and conclude the series with a noon game on Sunday.