Gauchos Resume Big West Play This Weekend As They Host Cal State Northridge

April 18, 2007

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• The Schedule
Games No. 39, 40, 41
at Campus Diamond (500)

Saturday, April 21, 2007
UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal State Northridge, 12 & 2 p.m.

Sunday, April 22, 2007
UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal State Northridge, 12 p.m.

• The Week Ahead
Still on the hunt for its first Big West win of the season, the UC Santa Barbara softball team will return to conference play this weekend as they host Cal State Northridge in a three-game series to be played at Campus Diamond. The series will open with a doubleheader on Saturday slated for a noon start and conclude with a noontime game on Sunday.

• An Update: Gauchos Go 3-1 In Non-Conference Action Last Week
UCSB took a break from Big West action last week with a single game against No. 24 Fresno State on Tuesday and a three-game weekend series versus UC Davis. On Tuesday, the Gauchos took Fresno State into eight innings before capturing a 1-0 win. On Saturday, UCSB opened the series against UC Davis with a 9-1 mercy rule victory in which four players hit a double, but then fell in the second game of the doubleheader by way of a 2-0 score. The following day, both teams duked it out through 9.5 run-less innings before the Gauchos earned the series win with a 1-0 victory over the Aggies.

• For The Record
The Gauchos are now 23-15 on the season and are just one win away from tying last season's 24 total victories. UCSB is 0-6 in conference games, which is the worst conference start for the Gauchos in the last decade. The Gauchos are currently ranked third in the Big West for their overall winning percentage (.605) and tied with UC Riverside for last in league games with their 0-6 mark. Pacific (6-0) and Cal Poly (8-1) currently lead the BWC three weeks into conference play. In addition to seeking its first conference win of the year this weekend, UCSB will also look to extend its 13-6 home record. Also notable, UCSB has gone 4-3 this season against teams ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll including wins over then-ranked No. 23 Massachusetts (Feb. 9), No. 2 Arizona State (Mar. 2), No. 11 UCLA (Mar. 27) and No. 24 Fresno State (Apr. 10)

• Davis Named Big West Pitcher Of The Week
Senior hurler Jennifer Davis earned her second Big West Pitcher of the Week honor of the season after leading UC Santa Barbara to three wins last week. The Whittier, Calif. native gave up just one run on 10 hits in 24.0 innings of work to post an impressive 0.29 ERA on the week. Davis began the week with an eight-inning win at No. 24 Fresno State on Tuesday where she allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out a season-high 14 batters. The senior carried her momentum into the weekend series against UC Davis as she picked up two wins in the three game set versus the Aggies. In game one, Davis went six innings in the mercy rule shortened affair, allowing just four hits, one run and a walk while fanning 10. In the final game of the series on Sunday, Davis pitched 10 complete innings and allowed four hits, no runs and a walk while striking out seven more Aggies. She now holds a 7-10 record on the season and a conference leading ERA of 1.31, which ranks 32nd amongst Division I pitchers. With her 31 strikeouts on the week, Davis moved to the No. 2 spot on the Big West Conference all-time strikeout list with a current career total of 766. Just 32 strikeouts stand between the senior and the current conference record of 798 career strikeouts set by Cal Poly's Desarie Knipfer in 1998. Besides leading the Big West with her ERA, Davis holds the lowest opponent's batting average (.151) and is second for strikeouts (136). At the plate, Davis is hitting .207 on the season and in game one versus UC Davis on Saturday, she went 2-for-3 with two runs to help the Gauchos mercy the Ags.

• Schroeder One Win Away From 300 Career Victories
Head coach Kristy Schroeder is just one victory away from her 300th career win. Schroeder, who is in her eighth season as a collegiate head coach, currently has a career record of 299-182-1 (.619) and with the Gauchos is 166-148 (.526). She is in 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 Tisha We Trust
Following a great 3-for-4 performance at Fresno State last Tuesday, junior Tisha Duran had hits in each of the games against UC Davis over the weekend. The Ventura, Calif. native went 2-for-5 in the series closer with the Aggies and had the game-winning RBI double in the tenth inning in addition to her second triple of the season. Duran is currently second on the team batting .328 with 20 RBI. She ranks in the conference top-10 for doubles (9) and triples (2) and has a total of 12 extra base hits this season. Out of the Gauchos' 38 games this season, Duran has had hits in 26 of them, including nine multi-hit performances. The third basemen is also second on the team with 22 runs scored and her current four game hitting streak is her longest of the season.

• Hansen Gets Hot
In last week's four non-conference games, junior Ericka Hansen led the Gauchos hitting .500 with a team-leading .700 slugging percentage. The catcher was 2-for-4 against Fresno State, which she followed up with a 2-for-2 performance in game one against the Aggies including a double, a run, a walk and an RBI. Hansen also had a double, a walk and a sacrifice hit in Sunday's series closer. Overall the San Clemente, Calif. native is hitting .221 and leads the team with 18 walks. She has earned six walks in the last seven games and has had hits in five of the last six match-ups including two multiple hit showings. Hansen ranks in the Big West top-10 for walks as well as sacrifice bunts (8).

• Wright On
Sophomore outfielder Tiffany Wright hit the game-winning RBI triple at the top of the eighth inning on Tuesday, driving Duran home against Fresno State. The center fielder continued to be a force for the Gauchos over the weekend as she had at least one hit in each of the games versus the Aggies including a 2-for-3 performance in the series opener with three runs, a double and an RBI. Wright is currently batting .284 on the season and leads the team with 22 RBI and extra base hits: nine doubles, two triples and three home runs. She is second on the team with eight stolen bases, which ranks in the conference top-10. The Gauchos' clean-up hitter, Wright has had hits in 23 of the 38 games played including eight multi-hit games.

• The Reigning Queen Of Sac Bunts
Senior Jessica Hejna currently leads the nation in sac bunts per game averaging .50 and she is second in the conference with a total of 19 on the season. Over the weekend, Hejna went 1-for-3 with a run and a walk in game one against the Aggies and in the series closer had a sac bunt in the bottom of the tenth, which moved the eventual game-winning run into scoring position. Her run over the weekend brought Hejna's career run total to 65, tying her for tenth on the UCSB all-time career runs scored list. The first basemen has also been a force defensively as she holds a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with a conference-leading 298 chances and 281 putouts. Her defensive prowess has helped lead the Gauchos to their current .969 fielding percentage which ranks 33rd amongst Division I programs.

• Ramos Robs Them Blind
Sophomore second basemen Christine Ramos continues to lead the Gauchos hitting .367 on the season with a team-leading 25 runs scored and .409 OB%. The sophomore also currently leads the team and the Big West for stolen bases (11). The Long Beach, Calif. native opened the series versus the Aggies with a 2-for-4 showing including a double and an RBI in game one. In the series closer, Ramos had a hit and scored the game-winning run. Ramos has had hits in 28 of the Gauchos' 38 games this season, including 17 multiple hit games, which is the second most by a Big West player this year. A 2006 All-Big West Conference Second Team honoree, Ramos ranks in the conference top-10 for batting average, runs scored, hits (47) and steal attempts (12).

• Matsumoto Mojo
Pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto dropped her fourth game of the season in Saturday's 2-0 loss to UC Davis. She threw a complete game giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on 10 hits while walking one and striking out one. The Union City, Calif. native is now 9-4 on the season, holds an ERA of 2.39, which ranks ninth in the BWC, and has an opponent's batting average of .269. Her nine wins are the fifth most by a BWC pitcher so far this season and three were by way of shutout.

• Hurler Happenings
The Gaucho pitching staff currently leads the Big West with their combined ERA of 1.89 and are also tops for opposing batting average (.200) and are second with a total of 211 strikeouts. The Gaucho staff has allowed the fewest runs (88), hits (191), homeruns (16) and earned runs (72). In addition to Davis and Matsumoto, hurlers Lindsey Correa and Tami Weston have contributed to the Gauchos' depth in the circle. Correa currently has an ERA of 3.34 and has recorded a 5-1 record with three shutout wins and has 24 strikeouts. The freshman is fourth in the Big West with an opponent's batting average of .220. Rounding out the Gaucho staff is sophomore Weston who is 2-0 on the season with a 0.58 ERA in her five appearances.

• Also Chipping In...
Also contributing the Gauchos' efforts this weekend were starters Nicole Churnock and Brittany Putich. Left fielder Churnock had an impressive 2-for-3 showing with a run, a double and two RBI in game one on Saturday. The junior is sixth on the team batting .214 overall. Senior Putich also went 2-for-3 at the plate in the Gauchos' 9-1 mercy rule win over UC Davis, she also tallied a run and an RBI. The shortstop is hitting .211 and has 15 RBI on the year and is 7-for-10 in stolen base attempts.

• Who Doesn't Like A Nail Biter?
The Gaucho softball team has been getting in quite the habit of putting their fans on the edge of their seats over the last couple of weeks with four of their last seven games being decided in extra innings, including Sunday's 10-inning victory. This season, UCSB has played seven extra inning games and has posted a 4-3 record in those match-ups. Sunday's 1-0 shutout over the Aggies also marked the Gauchos' twelfth shutout victory of the season, which surpasses the eight posted during the 2006 season. UCSB has been on the receiving end of seven shutout losses this season, including Saturday's 2-0 loss to UCD, but have held their opponents to two runs or less in five of those six losses. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Gauchos first pairing with the Aggies was called in the sixth inning when UCSB captured a 9-1 mercy rule win. Santa Barbara now has a total of four mercy victories this season doubling its total from 2006.

• Matador Matters
Cal State Northridge comes to Campus Diamond this weekend after handing Cal Poly its first conference loss of the season last Sunday in 7-6 fashion. The Matadors lost Saturday's doubleheader by scores of 10-8 and 3-1 before picking up the third game dropping the Mustangs, the previous conference leaders, to 8-1 in Big West play. Northridge is now 2-7 in conference and 14-18-1 overall on the season. Amanda Peek leads the team hitting .383 on the year with a team-leading 22 runs, six doubles, nine homeruns and 24 RBI. Jaclyn Rymer led the Matadors last weekend offensively with a .667 average and five RBI. Mercedes Lovato leads CSUN in the circle with a 9-9 record and a 3.48 ERA. The pitcher has 64 strikeouts on the season and an opponent batting average of .269. Northridge leads the all-time series with the Gauchos, 40-18-1 and took two out of three of the games during the 2006 series; UCSB captured game three, 13-5.

• Coming Soon
The Gauchos continue their Big West schedule when they visit Cal Poly next weekend for a three-game series. UCSB and the Mustangs will play a doubleheader on Saturday, April 28 at noon and finish up the series at noon on Sunday. All three games will be played at the Mustangs' Bob Janssen Field.