March 27, 2006

UCSB Travels to Westwood For Showdown with No. 1 UCLA Tuesday

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March 27, 2006

• The Schedule
Games No. 24, 25
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. No. 1 UCLA Bruins (28-2)
at UCLA's Easton Stadium
Game 1 - 12:00 p.m.
Game 2 - 2:00 p.m.
*Gametracker is available on the UCSB softball schedule page.

• The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters this weekend's matchup with UCLA with their 14-9 overall record intact after Saturday's doubleheader with Loyola Marymount was halted in the third inning due to rain. The Gauchos last played Radford University March 16 in their first home contest after a 14-game road trip--the program's longest on record. In game one Santa Barbara came from behind to defeat the Highlanders 5-2 on a walk-off three run homer by Kendra Singley in the tenth inning. The Gauchos followed with a 1-0 victory in the nightcap on Jennifer Davis' solo homerun in the third. UCSB has won five straight and seven of their last ten. The Gauchos are 1-0 in true road games this season and 7-7 in neutral contests. They will also open conference play this weekend with a three game series at Cal State Fullerton April 1-2.

• Mother Nature Strikes Again
One of the Gaucho's toughest opponent's this season has been the weather. After rain started to fall Saturday afternoon, UCSB's doubleheader with Loyola Marymount was called in the bottom of the third inning with Santa Barbara on top 2-0. The Gauchos scored both their runs in the bottom of the first on a single to left field by sophomore catcher Ericka Hansen that scored Jessica Hejna and Kendra Singley. Jennifer Davis was pitching for Santa Barbara and held the Lions scoreless on one hit through three innings before the decision was made to reschedule. Play in the doubleheader will resume Wednesday, April 5 at 12:00 p.m. at Campus Diamond. UCSB has seen four games cancelled this season due to inclement weather, including three of its five scheduled games during the Softball By The Beach Tournament February 17-19.

• The Bruins Revisited
Santa Barbara squares off with top-ranked UCLA Tuesday for the second and third time this season. The Bruins own a 28-2 overall record after losing for their first game at home in 2006 and second overall when they fell 3-2 to No. 16 Northwestern Sunday. UCLA, who had won 20 straight before Sunday's loss, is 11-1 at Easton Stadium. The Bruins are led by senior second baseman Caitlin Benyi, who is batting a team-high .367 with 19 runs scored, seven homers and 20 RBI. Junior shortstop Jodie Legaspi leads the squad with nine homeruns and 24 RBI, while hitting .348. Sophomore hurler Angelica Seldon has shouldered most of the work in the circle compiling a 15-2 record, with 201 strikeouts and a 0.43 ERA in 113.2 innings pitched. Junior Lisa Dodd has an ERA of 1.14, a 13-0 record and 76 strikeouts in 92.1 innings of work. The Bruins lead the overall series with the Gauchos 48-2 after handing UCSB its first loss of the season, a 9-3 defeat February 10 at the San Diego State Campbell/Cartier Classic. Santa Barbara's last win in the series came in 1991.

• Pitching Continues to Dominate
The Gauchos' pitching staff has excelled all season thanks to the talented arms of junior starting pitchers Jennifer Davis and Ginger Gutierrez. Two weeks after the duo combined to allow a total of one run in three wins at the Hawaiian Airlines Spring Fling Tournament, Davis and Gutierrez were tremendous against Radford University. Davis got the nod in the opener and picked up her ninth win of the year after allowing just two hits--both solo homeruns--in UCSB's 5-2 extra inning victory. Gutierrez was just as impressive in game two, completely controlling the Highlander hitters all afternoon. She earned her second consecutive shutout, holding Radford to just four hits. In the Gauchos' last ten games, the pair has allowed a total of just 12 runs for an average of 1.2 runs per contest. Santa Barbara's pitching staff leads the Big West in ERA (2.13) and ranks second in both complete games (19) and shutouts (6). The squad's 123 hits and 52 runs allowed are also tops in the conference.

•Offense Shows Signs of Life
While pitching has not been an issue so far in 2006, UCSB's offense has had its struggles. Since exploding for 10 runs in 10-1 win against Ohio State February 24, the Gauchos had scored more than five runs only once entering the doubleheader with Radford, a 6-0 shutout of Loyola-Chicago March 4. In fact, they had scored two runs or less in 11 of the 13 games since the matchup with the Buckeyes. But Santa Barbara's bats came alive in game one against the Highlanders march 16, as the Gauchos scored five times on nine hits, which is two off of their season high. Five players recorded hits in the game and Kendra Singley, Christine Ramos and Tiffany Wright all had at least two. On the season, Santa Barbara is averaging just under three runs a game at 2.96, while holding their opponents to 2.26 runs per contest.

• Double Duty
Jennifer Davis did her thing in the circle once again and also came up big at the plate against Radford. The Whittier, Calif. native got the nod in the opener and limited the Highlanders to two runs on a season low two hits. She struck out 10 and walked two en route to her third straight win and ninth overall. In game two, her first homerun of the year, a solo shot in the bottom of the third inning, proved to be the difference in the Gauchos' 1-0 victory. Davis has been stellar all season and earned Big West Pitcher of the Week honors following a three-hit shutout of No. 5 Stanford March 4. She is now 9-6 with an ERA of 2.12 and 114 strikeouts--which is second the Big West--in 102.1 innings pitched in 2006. She has a total of 510 strikeouts and 38 wins for her career, which are third and fourth on the Career Top 10 List, respectively and has also moved into the eighth spot on the career innings pitched chart with 460.2. Davis has gone the distance in 14 of the 15 contests she has started and now ranks seventh all-time with 47 career complete games. Offensively, her 11 career homers ranks sixth on the all-time list.

• View From the Top
Junior center fielder Kendra Singley has made a name for herself as one of the Gauchos' most consistent players and has produced big numbers offensively all season. She leads the team hitting .324 and has recorded a team-best 24 hits and 14 runs batted in, including two round-trippers, also tops on the squad. The Irvine, Calif. native continued her tear against RU, finishing 3-for-4 and drove in four of the Gauchos' five runs in the first game, which tied as season high. Singley tied the game in the fifth inning with an RBI single up the middle, then hit a walk-off three run homer in the bottom of the tenth to seal the victory. She now has 13 career homeruns, which ranks fifth on the all-time career chart, while her 71 RBI rank sixth.

• Ramos Continues to Rise
Freshman second baseman and leadoff hitter Christine Ramos has become the presence at the top of the order that the Gauchos lacked in 2005. She boasts a .320 batting average and .393 on base percentage, which are both second on the squad and leads the way with 15 runs and four stolen bases. One week after hitting .500 with a run scored and two RBI and earning Hawaiian Airlines Spring Fling All-Tournament Team honors, Ramos had a good showing against the Highlanders, as well. The Long Beach, Calif. native was one of only two Gauchos to record hits in both games and doubled and scored in the bottom of the fifth, tying game one at 2-2. She scored a season high three runs February 10 in the Gauchos' 10-1 throttling of Massachusetts and went 2-for-4 and drove in the winning run March 11 against Longwood.

• Lets Hear You Say Hejna
Junior left fielder Jessica Hejna became one of the squads' top offensive threats in the second half of 2005 and has bolstered the Gauchos lineup throughout this season, as well. She is hitting .212 with seven runs, three triples and six RBI. The Orange, Calif. native leads the team and the Big West in three-baggers and is fourth in runs batted in, runs scored and batting average. She also leads the squad and the conference with 10 sacrifices. Hejna was the catalyst in the 10-1 mercy rule victory over UMASS February 10, turning in a 3-for-3 performance with three runs, a walk and a career-high four RBI. She went 2-for-4 and scored in the Gauchos' 6-0 win over Loyola-Chicago March 4 and scored the Gauchos' first run against Longwood. She walked and scored in the tenth inning of the opener with Radford.

• Playing the Wright Way
Freshman Tiffany Wright has been a mainstay both at first base and at the plate for Santa Barbara, starting all 23 games this season. The Corona, Calif. native leads the squad with two homers, ranks second with nine RBI and third batting .294. After hitting a very impressive .583 (7-for-12) during the Palm Springs Classic February 24-26, she followed up with a stellar showing at the Worth Invitational March 3-5. Wright went 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI against Loyola Chicago and scored one of the two runs in the win over Stanford. She also singled twice in the opener against RU. Since hitting a homerun in her first game as a Gaucho February 9, Wright's bat has been a force in the Gaucho lineup all season.

• Hansen Has What It Takes
Sophomore catcher Ericka Hansen has also solidified her place in the starting lineup. She is hitting .208 with four runs scored and five runs batted in, while her .457 on base percentage leads the squad and ranks sixth in the Big West. Her 18 walks are second in the conference. The San Clemente, Calif. native had a career-high three RBI in the Palm Springs Classic opener against Ohio State February 25 after hitting a bases loaded triple in the fourth inning. She has also proved to be a player that can be counted on in big situations after her performance against San Diego State February 24, when she hit the game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh inning.

• That's More Like It
After struggling at the plate in the early part of the season, junior shortstop Brittany Putich has finally started to play like we know she can. She went 1-for-2 with a walk and scored the Gauchos' first run in game one against Radford. The two-time All-Big West honoree finished 1-for-2 with a run and two RBI in the Gauchos' 6-0 win over Loyola-Chicago March 4 and drove in UCSB's second run in the 2-0 win over No. 5 Stanford the same day. She is second on the squad with eight runs along with two doubles and four RBI.

• Armed and Dangerous
Ginger Gutierrez has emerged as very dependable pitcher in the second spot of UCSB's rotation and continues to give opposing hitters difficulties. A week after tossing five-hit shutout in Santa Barbara's 2-0 win over host Hawaii to wrap up the Spring Fling Tournament March 8-11, the junior transfer from Ventura College took the circle in game two against Radford last Thursday and was stellar once again. Gutierrez allowed four hits--the second fewest of her career--and held the Highlanders scoreless for her second shutout in as many starts. She struck out two, walked none and pitched her fifth complete game in the Gauchos' 1-0 victory. The Ventura, Calif. is now 4-2 on the year, leads the squad and ranks third in the Big West with an ERA of 1.77 and has also amassed 26 strikeouts in 51.1 innings pitched. Her opponent's batting average of .229 is the seventh lowest in the conference.

• Here's Jackie
Freshman outfielder Jackie Conlin has had the opportunity to show what she can do lately, appearing in the Gauchos' last six games both at the Hawaiian Airlines Spring Fling Tournament March 8-11 and the doubleheader with Radford March 16. After entering the game against Detroit Mercy as a pinch runner, the San Pedro, Calif. native has started the last six in right field. Conlin got her second career hit against Penn State, an infield single in the top of the fifth inning, and then came around to score the Gauchos' only run of the game. She also went 1-for-3 in her first career start against Loyola-Chicago March 4. Conlin has scored four runs this season.

• Here To Stay
After missing 27 games last season due to injury, junior third baseman Shelby Hensler is back in the lineup and has played in 21 of the Gauchos' 23 games in 2006. The Mission Viejo, Calif. native is healthy and has started 23 times at third base, posting a respectable .961 fielding percentage at the hot corner. Offensively, she found her swing, recording one of the Gauchos' two hits and scoring what became the winning run in the 2-0 win over UNLV and then drove in a run in the 2-0 victory over Hawaii three weeks ago. Hensler hit a two-run single and then scored in the third inning against Ohio State February 24 and drove in two and scored in the 7-2 win over Oklahoma State February 12.

• The Kristy Schroeder File
Kristy Schroeder is in her fifth 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 has been immeasurable, as she has turned what once was a very mediocre program into one of the top squads in the conference each and every year. 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. Schroeder notched her 100th victory as head coach at UCSB February 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--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 Schroeder 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 seven seasons as head coach at UCSB and Division II Truman State, Schroeder has a career record of 266-154-1 (.631), while her mark with the Gauchos is 133-120 (.526).

• Probable Gaucho Starters - Notes
C - Ericka Hansen - Leads the team with an on-base percentage of .457
1B - Tiffany Wright - Singled twice in game one against Radford
2B - Christine Ramos - Team leader with 15 runs scored, second hitting .320
3B - Shelby Hensler - Scored the game-winner in the top of the tenth inning vs. Highlanders
SS - Brittany Putich - Went 1-for-2 with a walk and scored the Gauchos' first run in RU opener
LF - Jessica Hejna - Leads squad and BWC with three triples and 10 sacrifices
CF - Kendra Singley - Hitting a team-best .324 with 14 RBI this season
RF - Jackie Conlin - Started the six games in right field
DP - Liz Walters - Hit a three run homer against Loyola-Chicago March 4

• Gaucho Reserves - Notes
C - Brenda Lira - Started 22 games behind the plate last year
1B - Dani Baltazar - Made her first appearance of 2006 as a pinch hitter against LUC March 4
2B - Lauren Augino - Freshman has appeared in two games
OF - Nicole Churnock - Started 13 games in right field in 2006
OF - Danielle Meyers - Went 1-for-3 in her first start at third base vs. Purdue March 5
UT - Adrienne Anderson - Notched her first-career at-bat against Rider February 18

• Gaucho Pitchers - Notes
P - Jennifer Davis - Gaucho ace has an 9-6 record, with a 2.12 ERA and 114 strikeouts
P - Ginger Gutierrez - Erned her fourth victory and second consecutive shutout after holding Radford scoreless on four hits
P - Tami Weston - Earned her first career win against Rider February 18