May 10, 2007

UCSB to Conclude Regular Season on Road Against Big West Foe Long Beach State

May 10, 2007

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• The Schedule
Games No. 49, 50, 51
At 49er Softball Complex (500)

Friday, May 11, 2007
UC Santa Barbara at Long Beach State, 1 & 3 p.m.

Saturday, May 12, 2007
UC Santa Barbara at Long Beach State, 1:00 p.m.

• The Week Ahead
Coming off of last weekend's series sweep over Big West Conference opponent UC Riverside, the UC Santa Barbara softball team will complete the regular season on the road with a three-game conference series at Long Beach State. The series will begin with a doubleheader on Friday, May 11 at 1:00 p.m. and will conclude with a 1:00 p.m. game on Saturday.

• An Update: Gauchos Capture Series Sweep Over UC Riverside
After picking up its first series win over conference-leader Cal Poly two weeks ago, the Gauchos returned to Campus Diamond last weekend and collected their first series sweep of the season over UC Riverside. In Saturday's first game, the Gauchos used some strong hitting and three home runs to defeat the Highlanders, 8-2. In the latter half of the doubleheader, the Gauchos trailed 2-1 after 3.5 innings and came back to mercy UCR 10-2. Santa Barbara completed the sweep on Sunday as they celebrated "Senior Day" with a 2-0 shutout.

• For The Record
The Gauchos are currently 29-19 on the season and just one win away from their first 30-win season since 2004. After getting off to a rough 0-8 start in Big West games, Santa Barbara has gone 6-1 in the last seven conference contests to bring its BWC record to 6-9. Currently holding sixth place in conference, the Gauchos could potentially finish in a four-way tie for third in the Big West. If UCSB sweeps Long Beach this weekend and Pacific is swept by Cal Poly, then Santa Barbara, Long Beach and Pacific would all be tied with Northridge with a 9-9 conference record and finish third behind Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton. In terms of overall winning percentage, the Gauchos rank fourth amongst Big West teams at .604 and have 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). UCSB shouldn't fear finishing their regular season schedule on the road this season as they have posted a respectable 12-10 record on the road and 6-6 mark on opposing diamonds.

• Davis Continues To Get It Done
A week after breaking the Big West career strikeout record, senior pitcher Jennifer Davis returned to the circle and collected three wins over UC Riverside. The Whittier, Calif. native opened the weekend with a complete game win allowing two runs on six hits with five walks and eight strikeouts in game one. She then pitched the final 2.2 innings of the Gauchos' second Saturday match-up and allowed no hits and no runs with one walk and four K's. In Sunday's series closer she once again threw a full game giving up no runs on four hits with five strikeouts. The 2-0 shutout on Sunday marked Davis' sixth shutout of the season and 23rd of her career tying her for first on the UCSB career pitcher's shutouts list. At the plate, Davis is hitting .256 on the season and with her homer during Saturday's first game, she leads the team with six home runs on the season. Davis leads the Big West with her 1.42 ERA and opponent's batting average of .168, she is also second with 188 strikeouts this season and 61 batters struck out looking. After already capturing the UCSB career strikeout and shutout records, Davis currently stands just two wins away from tying the Gaucho career wins record at 62. The hurler has won six of the last seven games she has played in the circle and for the first time this season holds a winning record at 13-12.

• The Schroeder Scoop
Head coach Kristy Schroeder, who picked up her 300th career win on April 22, is just one win away from her third 30-win season here at UCSB. The Gauchos' current 29-19 record is the second best mark in Schroeder's six seasons at UCSB. In her eighth season as a collegiate head coach, she now has a career record of 305-186-1 (.620) and with the Gauchos is 172-152 (.531). 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 Streak Continues
Senior Jessica Hejna is certainly finishing her career at UCSB with a bang. The Gauchos' first basemen is amidst a season-long seven game hit streak and is leading the team in Big West games batting .404 in conference contests. Over the weekend, Hejna had hits in each of the games versus the Highlanders going 3-for-4 with a run scored in game two of the series and following that up with a 2-for-3 performance on Sunday with a double and a run scored. She is currently third on the team batting a career-high .314 and ranks sixth in the nation for sacrifice hits per game with an average of .44. In the Big West, Hejna currently ranks fourth for triples (3) and is second for sac bunts (21). She has also been a force defensively as she holds a .997 fielding percentage after committing just one error this season and she has a conference-leading 369 chances and 348 putouts. Her defensive prowess has helped lead the Gauchos to their current .968 fielding percentage, which ranks 41st amongst Division I programs.

• In Tisha We Trust
Week in and week out this season, Tisha Duran has been a consistent force at the plate for the Gauchos and last weekend's series against UC Riverside was no exception. The junior hit .500 against the Highlanders with a home run, four runs scored and three RBI. The Ventura, Calif. native is second on the team batting .344 on the season and leads the Gauchos in extra-base hits (17), RBI (32) and slugging percentage (.517). Duran is amongst the top-10 in the Big West for batting average, slugging percentage, runs scored (32), hits (52), doubles (11) and triples (3). Out of the Gauchos' 48 games this season, Duran has had hits in 35 of them, including 14 multi-hit performances. She is currently riding a season-long nine-game hit streak and has had an RBI in the last four games played. The third basemen is also second on the team with 32 runs scored and has had at least one run in the last four games.

• Hansen Walks It Off
Like Hejna, junior Ericka Hansen has kicked up her offensive output over the last several weeks. The catcher has had hits in six of the last seven games including three multi-hit showings. In the latter half of Saturday's doubleheader against UCR, the San Clemente, Calif. native went 3-for-4 with a run scored and four RBI. She also earned three walks over the weekend, stretching her team-leading total 23 walks, which ranks eighth in the Big West. Hansen hit .571 over the weekend and is hitting a career-high .250 on the season.

• Run Ramos, Run
Sophomore second basemen Christine Ramos continues to lead the Gauchos hitting .365 on the season with a team-leading 33 runs scored and .398 OB%. The sophomore also currently leads the team and the Big West for stolen bases (12) and ranks in the top-10 for batting average, runs scored and hits (61). Ramos is also listed as the 43rd hardest Division I player to strike out. Over the weekend. The Long Beach, Calif. native hit .545 going 6-for-11 with two runs, one double and two RBI. Ramos has had hits in 36 of the Gauchos' 48 games this season, including 22 multiple hit games, which is tied as the most by a Big West player this season.

• Nicole Churns It Up
Junior Nicole Churnock also contributed at the plate over the weekend batting .375 going 3-for-8 with one run, two RBI and a stolen base. In game two against the Highlanders, she went 2-for-3 with two RBI and her stolen base. The outfielder is batting .229 on the season and .250 in Big West games.

• The Wright Stuff
Sophomore Tiffany Wright went 1-for-2 with a run scored in Saturday's second game and followed up going 1-for-3 with an RBI in Sunday's 2-0 victory over the Highlanders. Wright is currently batting .282 on the season and is second on the team with 26 RBI as well as second for extra base hits: nine doubles, two triples and four home runs. She is third on the team with eight stolen bases, which ranks in the conference top-10. Wright has had hits in 30 of the 48 games played including 10 multi-hit games. She leads the conference in sacrifice flies (4) and ranks in the top-10 for triples.

• Pitching Points
The Gaucho pitching staff currently leads the Big West with their combined ERA of 2.06 and is second behind Cal State Fullerton with their .212 opponent's batting average and 270 strikeouts. The Gaucho staff has allowed the fewest runs (121), hits (261), homeruns (19) and earned runs (100) of any conference team. In addition to Davis, freshman MeLinda Matsumtoto has been strong in the circle this season and holds a 2.63 ERA and holds a season record of 9-6.

• First Five Firepower
For the second weekend in a row, the Gauchos' hitting was impressive as they collected 29 hits on the weekend and tallied a season-high 10 runs in game two against UC Riverside, the first double-digit run performance this year. Like the series versus Cal Poly, the first five players in the UCSB lineup accounted for the majority of teams' hits. Of the 29 total Gaucho hits on the weekend, 20 (69%) came off of the bats of Ramos (6), Hejna (6), Duran (5), Davis (1) and Wright (2).

• Mercy Me!
With Saturday's 10-2 six-inning mercy rule victory over UC Riverside, the Gauchos now have a total of five mercy wins this season, far surpassing the two posted during the 2006 season. This marked the first mercy win of the season over a conference opponent, though UCSB did pick up a 9-1 six-inning win over future Big West foe UC Davis on April 14.

• The Science Of A Shutout
Sunday's 2-0 shutout over the Highlanders was the fourteenth shutout win by the Gauchos this season, almost doubling the eight shutouts collected during the 2006 season. In contrast, UCSB has been shutout seven times this season. In fact, out of all the Big West teams, the Gauchos have posted the most shutout victories, Fullerton has notched 12 and Long Beach State has 11 under its belt.

• Putting The "Home" In Home Run
Saturday's series opener marked the fifth time this season the Gauchos have hit multiple home runs in a single game. Liz Walters, Tisha Duran and Adrienne Anderson each hit one over the Campus Diamond fence in the Gauchos' 8-2 victory. As a team, UCSB has hit a total of 23 homeruns on the season tying last season's total. Of the 23 homers, 19 have been hit out of the park at Campus Diamond. Jennifer Davis leads the team with six on the season while Walters and Tiffany Wright have each posted four.

• 49er Factoids
Long Beach State enters the final weekend of conference play with a 9-6 Big West record and a 26-24 overall mark. The 49ers fell to future conference opponent UC Davis 2-1 in a three game series last weekend. Long Beach took game one by way of a 2-0 shutout before falling 6-0 and 2-1 in the final two games of the series. Jessica Beaver leads the 49ers hitting .373 on the season with seven doubles, nine homers and a team-leading 40 RBI. Whitney Radcliffe and Lacy Tyler are batting .340 and .333 respectively. In the circle pitcher Bridgette Pagano leads the team with her 1.80 ERA and .228 opponent's batting average. Pagano has an 18-10 record and has collected 86 strikeouts. The Gauchos and the 49ers have already faced off earlier this season at the UCSB Softball by the Beach Tournament where Santa Barbara took a 9-6 win. Long Beach currently leads the all-time series with UCSB, 63-22-1.

• Coming Soon
With the regular season coming to a close on Saturday, the Gauchos, who are out of contention for the Big West's automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals, will find out on Sunday, May 13 whether or not the NCAA has granted them an at-large bid into postseason play. The selections for the 26th Annual Division I Softball Championship will be announced on ESPNews Sunday between noon and 1:00 p.m. PT.