UCSB Looks to Make Late Season Push; Travels to UC Riverside For Final Road Series of Year

UCSB Looks to Make Late Season Push; Travels to UC Riverside For Final Road Series of Year

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May 4, 2006

• The Schedule
Games No. 39, 40, 41
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Riverside Highlanders
at UCR's Amy S. Harrison Field
Saturday, May 6, 2006
Doubleheader - 12:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 7, 2006
Game 3 - 12:00 p.m.

• The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara hits the road this weekend for its final series away from home with an of overall record of 20-18 and a 4-8 Big West mark after dropping two of three to Cal Poly Apr. 29-30. For the second consecutive week, the Gauchos bounced back to take the finale after losing both ends of the series opening twin bill the day before. On Saturday, UCSB left eight runners on base and could not keep the Mustang offense in check, falling in the opener 6-2. In game two, the Gauchos were unable to hold onto their 4-3 lead and three errors in the decisive sixth inning led to two Cal Poly runs that proved to be the difference in a 6-4 defeat. UCSB then showed its resilience once again, scoring six runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 9-5 victory and avoid the series sweep Sunday. The Gauchos, who improved to 9-0 when scoring six or more runs this season, are an even 14-14 on the road in 2006. They are 5-5 in true road games.

• UCSB Breaks Through In Finale
After Santa Barbara found itself down early in both games Saturday and the offense could not seem to come up with the big hit all day, the Gauchos snapped their seven-game skid against the Mustangs in game three Sunday with a 9-5 win. The game was tied at four entering the last of the sixth, when UCSB sent 11 batters to the plate and scored a season-high six runs in the inning to put the game out of reach. Jessica Hejna and Kendra Singley each drove in three runs for the Gauchos, with all three of Singley's RBI coming on her team-leading seventh homerun of the season. Jennifer Davis and Tiffany Wright also had big days at the plate for Santa Barbara. Davis, who picked up her 14th victory in the circle, went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI while Wright finished with two hits, drove in a run and scored.

• Out and Running
One thing that UCSB was able to do all series against Cal Poly was run. Before last weekend's series with the Mustangs, the Gauchos had a total of 28 stolen bases on the year. They swiped 12 bags in the final two games against Cal Poly, including a season-high eight in game two Saturday, doubling their previous high of four. Six different players recorded a stolen base for UCSB in the game with speedsters Brittany Putich and Christine Ramos collecting two apiece. The Gauchos added four more in Sunday's win and now rank fourth in the Big West with 40 bags in 2006.

• There is a `W' in Sunday
The Gauchos have been playing their best softball on Sunday recently. Entering the three-game set with Cal State Northridge two weeks ago, UCSB was 8-4 in games played on Saturday this season and only 1-4 in Sunday contests. How quickly things change. In their last two series, the Gauchos are winless in four tries on Saturday and 2-0 after easily winning their Sunday games. Not only has Santa Barbara won consecutive finales, but it has done so with two of it's best offensive outputs of the year, scoring a season-high 13 runs Apr. 23 to take game three against the Matadors and tallying nine runs last Sunday to wrap up the series with the Mustangs. While Sunday seems to be the day that everything is clicking for the Gauchos at the moment, perhaps they would be better served to play all of their games on Thursdays and Fridays, days which they are a combined 9-4.

• Putting the Clamps Down
One of the Gauchos' strong points all season has been the ability to hold a lead. While most teams are successful in keeping a lead in the late innings, UCSB has shown the ability to put the clamps down in every frame. The squad is an impressive 6-2 when leading after one inning, 9-3 with a lead after two, and an astounding 15-1 when leading after three innings this season.

• No Hill For A Climber
With the loss of No. 2 pitcher Ginger Gutierrez earlier this season, Jennifer Davis has had to carry the Gauchos in the circle. For the third series in a row, the junior notched the decision in two of the three games against Cal Poly, throwing a total of 14 complete innings and finishing with a record of 1-1. Davis, who has now been the pitcher of record in 27 of UCSB's 38 contests, allowed five earned runs on eight hits in the Gauchos' loss in the opener. She rebounded for her 14th win of the season on Sunday, allowing three earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks. The Whittier, Calif. native has been like a rock all season and earned Big West Pitcher of the Week honors following a three-hit shutout of No. 5 Stanford Mar. 4. She is now 14-13 with an ERA of 3.04 and 177 strikeouts--which is second in the Big West--in 172.2 innings pitched in 2006, third among conference pitchers. Davis currently ranks second on the UCSB Career Top 10 strikeouts list with a total of 573 and her career totals of 43 wins and 530 innings pitched rank third and seventh on the all-time charts, respectively. She has gone the distance in 22 of the 26 contests she has started this season and ranks sixth all-time with 54 career complete games.

• The Singley Watch
Junior center fielder Kendra Singley has carried a big bat for the Gaucho's in 2006, ranking first or second in batting all season. One of the team's most reliable players, she is currently second, hitting .306 and has recorded a team-best seven homeruns, 26 runs batted in and six doubles. One week after finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a two-run homer in the sixth inning against Cal State Northridge in the finale, Singley hit .363 (4-for-11) with two homers, two runs and five RBI in the three games with the Mustangs. With the two dingers, she now has 18 career homeruns, which is the fourth-highest total at UCSB, while her 83 RBI also register fourth in the all-time record books. The Irvine, Calif. native has homered in three of UCSB's last four games and needs only six more to pass Tonya Dias (1997-2000) and become the Gauchos' all-time homerun leader.

• Shining In the Top Spot
Freshman second baseman Christine Ramos has been the presence at the top of the order that the Gauchos lacked in 2005 all season. Hitting in the leadoff spot for most of the year, she boasts team-highs in batting average at .331, hits with 41 and runs with 18, while her .394 on base percentage and seven stolen bases are second. She ranks seventh in the Big West in batting and ninth in hits. The Long Beach, Calif. native earned Hawaiian Airlines Spring Fling All-Tournament Team honors after hitting .500 with two RBI Mar. 8-11 in Honolulu. Ramos was terrific against Cal Poly finishing the series 6-for-10 with two RBI and three stolen bases.

• The Wright Stuff
Freshman Tiffany Wright has been dependable from day one for Santa Barbara, starting every game at first base this season. The Corona, Calif. native is second on the squad with five homers and 18 RBI and third batting .293. The five homeruns she has hit are the fourth most ever by a UCSB freshman and, since hitting a jack in her first game as a Gaucho Feb. 9, the clean-up hitter's bat has been a force in the lineup all year. Wright has been especially hot the last month the of the season, doubling and driving in what proved to be the winning run in Santa Barbara's 4-3 win over Pacific Apr. 8. Her solo homer then accounted for the Gauchos' only run in the 6-1 loss in the series finale. Wright was dominant against Northridge, going 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and a career-high four RBI in the 13-5 win. She went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI in Sunday's victory over Cal Poly.

• In a Groove
After struggling at the plate early in the season, junior shortstop Brittany Putich has turned things around and continues to produce each and every week. In fact, she has been on an absolute tear since her play at UC Davis Apr. 15 helped guide the Gauchos to their first series win of the season. Against the Aggies, Putich stole three bags, scored twice and chipped in with a two-run double in the finale. The Whittier, Calif. native followed that effort with a 2-for-3 performance that included a run scored and an RBI in game three with the Matadors two weeks ago. Putich was even better last weekend against Cal Poly, hitting .556 (5-for-9), scoring in every game and driving in UCSB's second run in the night cap Saturday. She also continued her attack on the base paths, stealing three bases in the series with the Mustangs. The two-time All-Big West honoree leads the team with 13 stolen bases and 18 runs scored in 2006 and is hitting .364 against Big West Conference pitching.

• Jack of All Trades
Junior left fielder Jessica Hejna has done whatever the team has needed her do to at the plate this season and she has done it well. In addition to hitting .224 with 11 runs and 15 RBI, the Orange, Calif. native leads the team and the Big West with 15 sacrifice bunts. She is also the only Gaucho to have started all 38 games this year and still maintain a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. Hejna came up big for the Gauchos in game three with Cal Poly, finishing 1-for-2 with a walk, a run, three RBI and a stolen base. She went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a pair of runs and three runs batted in Apr. 23 helping lead Santa Barbara to victory over Cal State Northridge in the series finale. Hejna also had two of UCSB's three hits in game one at UC Davis Apr. 14 and chipped in with a sacrifice fly in the third inning of the nightcap.

• Mighty Meyers
One of the Gauchos' hottest players of late has been sophomore third baseman and utility player Danielle Meyers. After starting for the first time since Mar. 5 in the series against UC Davis Apr. 14-15 and driving in a total of four runs, including a two-run homer, Meyers has been in the starting in every game since. Two weeks ago against Cal State Northridge, the Lodi, Calif. native's single in the top of the fifth inning of the opener saved UCSB from being the victim's of a no-hitter. Her second inning single in game two drove in the Gauchos' only run of the day. Meyers was even better the next day, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a pair of RBI in the 13-5 win. Last weekend, she went 1-for-2 with a run and two walks in the 9-5 game three victory over Cal Poly. She is now hitting .283 with five runs and seven RBI in 20 games this season and leads the Gauchos with a .412 batting average and an on base percentage of .500 in Big West play.

• 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 of 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 272-163-1 (.624), while her mark with the Gauchos is 139-129 (.519).

• Gutierrez No Longer With UCSB
On Thursday, Mar. 30, head coach Kristy Schroeder announced that junior pitcher Ginger Gutierrez would no longer be with 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 a 1.77 ERA in 2006.

• Probable Gaucho Starters - Notes
C - Ericka Hansen - Leads UCSB with a .440 on-base percentage and 26 walks
1B - Tiffany Wright - Went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI in win over Cal Poly
2B - Christine Ramos - Team leader hitting .331 with 41 hits and 18 runs scored
3B - Danielle Meyers - Hitting a team-high .412 with .550 on-base percentage in Big West play
SS - Brittany Putich - Speedster leads the Gauchos with 13 stolen bases this year
LF - Jessica Hejna - Went 1-for-2 with a walk, a stolen base, a run scored and three RBI Sunday
CF - Kendra Singley - Her six doubles, seven homeruns and 26 RBI lead the squad
RF - Nicole Churnock - Was 1-for-3 with two runs scored in start Sunday against Mustangs
DP - Liz Walters - Drove in Gauchos' first run of the game in 6-2 loss in Cal Poly opener

• Gaucho Pitchers - Notes
P - Jennifer Davis - Gaucho workhorse has a 14-13 record, with a 3.04 ERA and 177 strikeouts; went 2-for-3 with two runs and a run batted in at the plate in win Sunday
P - Tami Weston - Tossed her second straight complete game in game two loss against Cal Poly

• 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 as a pinch runner and scored in the fourth inning against Cal Poly Apr. 29
3B - Shelby Hensler - Started 30 games at third base this year
OF - Jackie Conlin - Came on to run in all three games last weekend
DP - Adrienne Anderson - Started four of the Gauchos' last eight games

• Scouting the Highlanders
UCSB takes on its final foe of the year on the road this weekend at UC Riverside. The Highlanders, who have lost five of six, own a 22-21 overall record and a 2-10 Big West mark after dropping all three games with Cal State Northridge Apr. 29-30. Riverside is led by senior infielder Melissa Sanchez, who is batting a conference-high .466 and leads the Highlanders with 48 hits and nine homers to go with 27 runs and 29 RBI. Sophomore shortstop Kristie Matinez is hitting .316 with 26 runs, four homers and 41 RBI, which is tops in the Big West. Freshman hurler Stephanie Marshall has shouldered most of the work in the circle for UCR, posting an ERA of 2.79 and a 13-9 record with 94 strikeouts in 125.1 innings pitched. Sophomore Christin Songer is 7-5 with a 3.78 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 87 innings of work. UC Santa Barbara has never lost to UC Riverside and leads the overall series 20-0. The Gauchos completely shutout the Highlanders last season, taking all three games 4-0, 2-0 and 8-0 Apr. 2-3 at Campus Diamond behind stellar pitching from Jennifer Davis and Lindsey Sommer.