April 6, 2006

UCSB Hosts Pacific In Big West Home Opener This Weekend

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April 6, 2006

• The Schedule
Games No. 27, 28, 29
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. University of the Pacific Tigers
at UCSB's Campus Diamond
Saturday, April 8, 2006
Game One - 12:00 p.m.
Game Two - 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 9, 2006
Game 3 - 12:00 p.m.

• The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara returns home for this weekend's series with the University of Pacific with a 15-11 overall record after dropping two of three at Cal State Fullerton to open Big West Conference play. Playing their first full game since March 16, the Gauchos offense erupted for eight runs in the opener, out-dueling the Titans 8-6. CSF responded with a 6-4 victory in the nightcap after overcoming UCSB's four-run rally to tie the game in the top of the seventh. The hosts then limited Santa Barbara to just two runs in the finale, posting an 8-2 victory to take the series. The Gauchos, who will be looking to improve their 1-2 mark in league competition against the Tigers, are a perfect 4-0 at Campus Diamond this season and have 13 in a row at home dating back to last season.

• UCSB Finally Breaks Through in Fullerton
While the Titans did take two out of three from the Gauchos, Santa Barbara accomplished something it has not done for 14 years--win in Fullerton. UCSB's 8-6 triumph in the series opener was only the second win in program history at Cal State Fullerton and first since 1992. Prior to Saturday's doubleheader, CSF was a mind-blowing 41-1 all-time against UCSB at home and held a 83-6 strangle hold on the overall series. No opponent has a higher winning percentage against the Gauchos.

• Offense Prowess
Not only did the Gauchos take game one against the Titans, they beat them playing their type of ball. While UCSB generally relies on pitching and defense to win games, CSF is an offensive juggernaut, leading the Big West in runs scored, hits and homeruns. The series opener proved to be an offensive slugfest, with the Gauchos out-lasting the home team 8-6. The eight runs UCSB scored was the squad's second-highest total this season and most since unloading 10 on Ohio State February 24. Santa Barbara turned in its most balanced offensive showing of 2006, with a season-high six players recording RBIs. After scoring two runs or less in five of their previous six games entering the series with Fullerton, Santa Barbara followed its eight run outburst with a four run effort in game two, the team's highest two-game total since the they scored twice against No. 10 Oklahoma following the game with the Buckeyes.

• Touch `Em All
Entering last weekend's series, the Gauchos had hit a total of six homeruns as a team in 2006. They hit four Saturday against the Titans. Kendra Singley and Ericka Hansen went yard in the opener, and Tiffany Wright and Liz Walters homered in game two. While all four were solo shots, the coaching staff loves seeing some power back in the lineup after UCSB hit a school record 36 round-trippers--led by Lindsey Herrin's record-breaking 12--in 2005.

• Blame It On The Rain
Like many programs on the West Coast, UCSB has had to battle its opponents and the weather in 2006. The Gauchos were finally able to take the field in Fullerton last weekend after the rain had cancelled their four previous games. After a March 25 doubleheader with Loyola Marymount was halted in the third inning, Santa Barbara did not make the trip to Westwood for its showdown with No. I UCLA three days later after rainfall throughout the night. While the Gauchos were thrilled to play softball over the weekend, Mother Nature did not cooperate for long, washing out the match up with LMU that had been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 5. Those two games will be made up at a later date. UCSB has had six games cancelled this season due to rain, including three of its five scheduled contests during the Softball By The Beach Tournament February 17-19.

• Master of Arms
Where would the Gauchos be without Jennifer Davis? The junior pitcher appeared in all three contests in Fullerton, starting games one and three, turning in a total of 18.2 innings. She earned her third career victory over the Titans in the opener after the offense lent a huge hand tallying a season-high eight runs with her in the circle. She allowed six runs on seven hits, while striking out three en route to her tenth victory. Davis also notched decisions in the other two games, falling in each allowing a total of 12 runs. The Whittier, Calif. native 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 10-8 with an ERA of 2.72 and 125 strikeouts--which is second in the Big West--in 121 innings pitched in 2006. She has a total of 521 strikeouts and 39 wins for her career, which are third and fourth on the Career Top 10 List, respectively and has also moved into the seventh spot on the career innings pitched chart with 478.1. Davis has gone the distance in 15 of the 17 contests she has started and now ranks seventh all-time with 48 career complete games.

• Model of Consistency
Junior center fielder Kendra Singley has been one of the squad's most reliable players in 2006, ranking first or second in batting all season. She is currently second hitting .310 with 26 hits and has recorded a team-best three homeruns, 16 runs batted in and six doubles. The Irvine, Calif. native was tremendous against RU March 16, when she finished 3-for-4 and drove in four of the Gauchos' five runs in the first game, which tied a 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 homered in the opener with CSF and smacked an RBI double in the third inning of game two. Singley now has 14 career homeruns, which ranks sixth on the career chart, while her 73 RBI also register sixth all-time.

• Her Stock is Rising
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 team-high .345 batting average and a .412 on base percentage that ranks second. Ramos also leads the way with 15 runs and four stolen bases and earned Hawaiian Airlines Spring Fling All-Tournament Team honors after hitting .500 with two RBI March 8-11. She doubled and scored in the bottom of the fifth, tying game one against Radford March 16 and went 2-for-4 and drove in the winning run March 11 against Longwood. Ramos scored a season high three runs February 10 in the Gauchos' 10-1 throttling of UMASS. The Long Beach, Calif. native recorded a hit in all three games with the Titans, including a 3-for-5 performance with an RBI double in game two.

• Its All Wright
Freshman first baseman Tiffany Wright has been a mainstay for Santa Barbara, starting all 26 games and hitting in the clean-up spot this season. The Corona, Calif. native leads the squad with three homers, ranks second with 10 RBI and third batting .275. Since hitting a homerun in her first game as a Gaucho February 9, Wright's bat has been a force in the lineup all season. Following a very impressive .583 (7-for-12) performance during the Palm Springs Classic February 24-26, she answered 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 Gauchos' two runs in the win over Stanford. She also singled twice in the opener against RU March 16. Most recently, Wright went 2-for-5 with a solo homer in the fourth inning of Game two against the Titans.

• The Truth About Hansen
Sophomore catcher Ericka Hansen has also solidified her place in the starting lineup, starting every game in 2006. She is hitting .250 with seven runs scored and six runs batted in, while her .468 on base percentage leads the squad and ranks fourth in the Big West. The San Clemente, Calif. native was a big reason UCSB won the opener with Fullerton, finishing 3-for-3 and was a triple away from hitting for the cycle. She scored three runs and hit her first homer as a Gaucho in the fifth inning. Hansen 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 can also 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.

• Walters Returns In A Big Way
One of UCSB's hottest hitters lately has been designated player Liz Walters. In her first start since March 5, the junior looked impressive at the plate in the opener with the Titans and went on to have a great series. The only Gaucho to drive in a run in all three games, she hit .375 (3-for-8) with two walks, two runs and three RBI. The Orange, Calif. native chipped in with an RBI double in the fifth inning of game one, a solo homer to tie the game in the top of the seventh in game two, and a single that brought home Santa Barbara's first run in the finale. Walters is now hitting a season-best .259 with four runs, two homers and eight runs batted in.

• Anderson Comes Through
Freshman Adrienne Anderson got a chance to swing the bat in last Saturday's opener and made the most of it. With one out and a runner on second, she stepped up to the plate as a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh and ripped a single to right field. The runner came around to score, giving the Gauchos an insurmountable 8-3 lead. In only her second at-bat, the Porterville, Calif. notched her first career hit--an RBI single.

• Doing The Little Things
While junior left fielder Jessica Hejna is only hitting .184, her contribution to the Gaucho offense cannot be overlooked. The Orange, Calif. native heads up the small ball attack, leading the team and the Big West with 11 sacrifice bunts. Hejna's three triples are also tops on the squad and rank second in the conference and she has recorded seven runs and eight RBI in 2006. She 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. Hejna 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 six days later. She walked and scored in the tenth inning of the opener with Radford March 16 and drove in two in the weekend series with Cal State Fullerton, her first RBI since 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 267-156-1 (.630), while her mark with the Gauchos is 134-122 (.523).

• Gutierrez No Longer With UCSB
On Thursday, March 30, head coach Kristy Schroeder announced that junior pitcher Ginger Gutierrez would no longer be part of the program due to ineligibility. The transfer from Ventura College had a record of 4-2 with 26 strikeouts and nine walks in nine appearances. Pitching in the second spot of UCSB's rotation, Gutierrez led the team and ranked second in the Big West with 1.77 ERA in 2006.

• Probable Gaucho Starters - Notes
C - Ericka Hansen - Went 3-for-3 with three runs and hit first homerun as Gaucho against CSF
1B - Tiffany Wright - Leads UCSB with three homers after hitting one out in game two Saturday
2B - Christine Ramos - Team leader hitting .345 with 30 hits and 15 runs scored
3B - Shelby Hensler - Scored the game-winner in the top of the tenth inning vs. Radford Mar. 16
SS - Brittany Putich - Walked twice and scored two runs in Fullerton opener
LF - Jessica Hejna - Leads Big West with 11 sacrifices, second with three triples
CF - Kendra Singley -Tops on Gauchos with six doubles and 16 RBI
RF - Jackie Conlin - Scored two of UCSB's four runs in nightcap Saturday
DP - Liz Walters - Hit .375 with a double, a homer, two runs and three RBI in three games at CSF

• 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 - Appeared in all three games at Fullerton and scored first career run
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 hit, an RBI single in game one with Titans

• Gaucho Pitchers - Notes
P - Jennifer Davis - Gaucho ace has an 10-8 record, with a 2.72 ERA and 125 strikeouts
P - Tami Weston - Doubled her innings pitched total after tossing four against Fullerton

• Scouting the Tigers
Big West action continues for the Gauchos this weekend with a three game set with University of the Pacific in its conference opening series. The Tigers own a 19-14 overall record after winning two of three against UC Davis last weekend before their match up with No. 8 Cal was rained out Wednesday. UOP is led by junior outfielder Gina Carbonatto, one of two players in the Big West batting over .400 at .407, with a team-high 44 hits and 26 runs scored. Junior First baseman Jennifer Curtier leads the Tigers with six homeruns, while hitting .376 with 19 RBI. Sophomore hurler Alyce Jorgensen leads the Big West's top staff with an ERA of 2.45, a 3-3 record, with 28 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched. Freshman Briana Santos is 8-3 with a 2.51 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 69.2 innings of work. The Titans lead the overall series with the Gauchos 51-33 after winning two of three last season in Stockton. After falling in the first two meetings, Santa Barbara rebounded for an 8-6 victory in the finale behind a 3-for-4, four RBI performance from Jessica Hejna.