May 2, 2007

Gauchos Host UC Riverside For Final Home Series of the Season

May 2, 2007

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• The Schedule
Games No. 46, 47, 48
at Campus Diamond (500)

Saturday, May 5, 2007
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Riverside, 12 & 2 p.m.

Sunday, May 6, 2007
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Riverside, 12 p.m.

• The Week Ahead
After picking up its first Big West series win of the season over conference-leader Cal Poly, the UC Santa Barbara softball team will host its final home series of the 2007 season when UC Riverside visits on Saturday and Sunday. The series will begin with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon and will conclude with a single noon game on Sunday. As always, all the action will be at the Gauchos' Campus Diamond. Sunday will also serve as "Senior Day" as UCSB honors senior student-athletes Jennifer Davis, Jessica Hejna, Brittany Putich and Liz Walters prior to the first pitch.

• An Update: Gauchos Win Series Against Big West Leader Cal Poly
UCSB finally turned things around last weekend with its series win over Cal Poly. The Gauchos took game one against the Mustangs by way of a 5-0 shutout, but fell in a 6-5 nine-inning nail biter in the second game on Saturday. Sunday's series closer was another 6-5 nine-inning decision, but this time UCSB came out on top to capture the series win. On Monday, the Gauchos returned to Campus Diamond to host then-ranked No. 13 Oregon State. The Beavers had a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. The Gauchos scored two runs but fell short, 3-2.

• For The Record
The Gauchos are now 26-19 on the season and have surpassed their 24 wins recorded in 2006. UCSB is now 3-9 in conference games, which ranks sixth amongst the teams in the Big West. The Gauchos are fourth in conference with their overall winning percentage (.578). Also notable, UCSB has gone 4-4 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). This weekend Santa Barbara will look to improve its 14-9 home record as they host their final three home games of the year at Campus Diamond.

• Davis Earns Player Of The Week, Sets Conference Record
As impressive as senior pitcher Jennifer Davis' four-year career at UCSB has been, it is hard to believe that she had any more milestones to mark, but a great weekend at Cal Poly helped her accomplish two big ones. During Sunday's game versus the Mustangs, the Whittier, Calif. native surpassed Cal Poly's Desarie Knipfer (1995-98) on the all-time Big West career strikeout list. Knipfer held the conference record with 798 K's, but Davis overtook the record with her current count of 801, making her the first player in conference history to record 800 strikeouts. Not only did Davis set a conference record in the circle, she also picked up conference Player of the Week honors for her performance at the plate. The senior recorded a base hit and a run scored in every game, collected a pair of two-hit games and scored twice in two of the three contests against the Mustangs. She was especially dangerous in the 6-5 nine-inning win in game three, going 2-for-5 with a homer, RBI and two runs scored. She scored the game-winning run in the top of the ninth after starting the game-winning rally with a leadoff single. For the week, Davis hit .417 (5-12) with a home run, a RBI, five runs scored and two walks. The honor marks her third conference accolade of the season (she has twice been named Pitcher of the Week) and her first career Player of the Week honor. Davis leads the Big West with her 1.48 ERA and opponent's batting average of .167, she is also second with 171 strikeouts this season and 59 batters struck out looking. She is hitting .275 on the year with a team-leading six homers and is batting .333 in Big West games.

• The Scoop On Schroeder
Head coach Kristy Schroeder picked up her 300th career win on April 22 with the Gauchos' 6-1 victory over Cal State Northridge. Schroeder, who is in her eighth season as a collegiate head coach, now has a career record of 302-185-1 (.619) and with the Gauchos is 169-152 (.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.

• Hejna's Hot Weekend
Senior Jessica Hejna had an impressive three days at the plate, batting a team-leading .529 on the weekend going 9-for-17 with two runs, a double, two triples and two RBI. The Orange, Calif. native opened the weekend's series with a 4-for-4 showing with a triple and a run scored in game one against Cal Poly. She then went 3-for-5 with a triple and two RBI in Sunday's closer helping the Gauchos to the 6-5 win. She rounded out the long weekend going 1-for-3 with a run against Oregon State on Monday. Hejna currently is third on the team batting .292 overall but is leading the Gauchos in Big West games hitting .351. Hejna currently ranks second in the nation averaging .48 sacrifice hits per game and is second in conference with a total of 21 on the season. The first basemen has also been a force defensively as she holds a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with a conference-leading 349 chances and 329 putouts. Her defensive prowess has helped lead the Gauchos to their current .967 fielding percentage, which ranks 42nd amongst Division I programs.

• Hansen Helps Out
Junior Ericka Hansen was second amongst the Gauchos over their past four games hitting .429 going 6-for-14 with two runs, three doubles with three RBI. In game one versus Cal Poly, the San Clemente, Calif. native went 1-for-3 with a sacrifice hit and an RBI. Hansen then went 2-for-4 with a run, an RBI and a double in game two. She followed with a very similar performance in Sunday's series closer going 2-for-4 with a run, an RBI, a walk and a double. Hansen then rounded out the weekend with a hit against Oregon State on Monday to extend her current hit streak to four games. Hansen is hitting .229 overall on the season and leads the team with 20 walks.

• In Tisha We Trust
Tisha Duran hit .353 over the week's four games going 6-for-17 at the plate with two runs, two doubles and a team-leading four RBI. In game one against the Mustangs, Duran went 2-for-4 with a run, a double and three RBI. She had a hit in Saturday's loss and then provided a 2-for-5 performance in Sunday's rubber game. Against Oregon State, the Ventura, Calif. native went 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI double. She is currently second on the team batting .333 with a team-leading 29 RBI. Duran ranks in the conference top-10 for triples (3), doubles (10) and has a total of 16 extra base hits this season. Out of the Gauchos' 45 games this season, Duran has had hits in 32 of them, including 12 multi-hit performances. She is currently riding a season-long six-game hit streak. The third basemen is also second on the team with 28 runs scored.

• Run Ramos, Run
Sophomore second basemen Christine Ramos continues to lead the Gauchos hitting .353 on the season with a team-leading 31 runs scored and .388 OB%. The sophomore also currently leads the team and the Big West for stolen bases (12). The Long Beach, Calif. native went 2-for-4 with two runs in the first game on Saturday and was 1-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base in game two. On Sunday she went 2-for-5 with two runs in the win over the Mustangs. Ramos has had hits in 33 of the Gauchos' 45 games this season, including 20 multiple hit games, which is the second most by a Big West player this season. A 2006 All-Big West Conference Second Team honoree, Ramos ranks in the conference top-10 for batting average, runs scored, hits (55) and steal attempts (14).

• The Wright Stuff
Sophomore outfielder Tiffany Wright had a hit in each of last weekend's three games versus Cal Poly. She opened the series with a 2-for-4 showing at the plate with an RBI. In Saturday's second game, she went 2-for-5 with a run scored and then rounded out the weekend with a single in the series closer. Wright is currently batting .284 on the season and is second on the team with 25 RBI as well as second for extra base hits: nine doubles, two triples and four home runs. She is tied third on the team with eight stolen bases, which ranks in the conference top-10. The Gauchos' clean-up hitter, Wright has had hits in 28 of the 45 games played including 10 multi-hit games. She leads the conference in sacrifice flies (4) and ranks in the top-10 for triples.

• Matsumoto Matters
Pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto dropped her sixth game of the season in Monday's 3-2 loss to Oregon State. The hurler threw a complete seven innings allowing three runs, none of which were earned, on five hits, walking one and striking out three. The Union City, Calif. native also threw five innings against Cal Poly in game two on Saturday allowing one run on five hits while walking four and fanning one. Matsumoto is now 9-6 on the season with a 2.58 ERA and a .274 opponent's batting average. Her nine wins are the eighth most by a BWC pitcher so far this season and three were by way of shutout.

• Putich Power
Senior Brittany Putich went 1-for-4 with an RBI in each of the last two games against the Mustangs over the weekend and had a double in Saturday's second game. The Whittier, Calif. native, who has started every game at shortstop this season, had to sit out of the Oregon State game on Monday after suffering an injury to her glove hand. Putich is hitting .203 on the year and is third on the team with 18 RBI and second with nine stolen bases.

• Pitching Points
The Gaucho pitching staff is currently tied second in the Big West with their combined ERA of 2.10 and is also third for opposing batting average (.213) and second for strikeouts with 251. The Gaucho staff has allowed the fewest runs (114), hits (241), homeruns (19) and earned runs (96) of any conference team.

• First Five Firepower
Santa Barbara had a great weekend at the plate as it tallied a season-high 15 hits against Cal Poly on Sunday and posted a season-high three consecutive games with double digit hits: 12, 12 and 15 respectively in the games versus the Mustangs. Of the 39 total Gaucho hits on the weekend, 28 (72%) came off of the bats of the first five players in the UCSB lineup: Ramos (5), Hejna (8), Duran (5), Davis (5) and Wright (5).

• Extra Innings, Single Runs, Shutouts, Oh My!
UCSB has seen several trends emerge this season and one of the biggest is tightly fought games. Over the weekend the Gauchos went into nine innings twice with Cal Poly, splitting a pair of 6-5 games. This season UCSB has been tied at the end of seven innings nine times - seven times in the last 17 games played. The Gauchos have posted a 5-4 record in those extra inning games on way to an 8-10 record in games determined by a single run. Saturday's first game was won by way of a 5-0 shutout, marking the thirteenth shutout win by UCSB this season, well surpassing its eight shutout victories in 2006.

• Scouting The Highlanders
UC Riverside comes to Santa Barbara on Saturday with a 0-12 record in Big West play and a 16-31 overall mark. In fact, UCR did not win a single game in the month of April and is amidst a 15-game losing skid. Last weekend, the Highlanders were swept by Cal State Northridge on the road by 12-4, 5-1 and 11-3 scores. Marissa Alvidrez leads the Matadors at the plate batting .359 on the season with a team-leading nine doubles, six homers and 31 RBI. Christin Songer leads the Highlander pitching staff with her 3.40 ERA and 9-9 record. Songer has 53 strikeouts on the season and a .313 opponent's batting average. Stephanie Marshall has a 3.79 ERA and 7-9 record with a team-high 72 K's on the year. Last season UCSB earned its only series sweep of the season over the Highlanders by way of 4-0, 2-1 and 2-1 scores. UCSB leads the all-time series with UCR, 23-0.

• Coming Soon
The Gauchos will complete their regular season schedule next weekend when they head to Long Beach State for a three-game conference series. The 49ers and Gauchos will play a doubleheader on Friday, May 11 at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. and will conclude the series with a single game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.