UCSB Set for Six-Game Slate at Mary Nutter Classic

Veronika Gulvin (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Veronika Gulvin (Photo by Tony Mastres)

The Schedule
2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic
Cathedral City, Calif.
| Full Schedule

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 at 3:30 p.m.
Army West Point (4-6) vs. UC Santa Barbara (3-5)
All-Time Series Record: 0-0
at Des Moines Field

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.
No. 14 Arizona (6-4) vs. UC Santa Barbara (3-5)
All-Time Series Record: 1-16
at Yankee Stadium
Live Stats

Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.
Utah (5-5) vs. UC Santa Barbara (3-5)
All-Time Series Record: 2-8
at Pawtucket Field
Live Stats

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.
BYU (4-4) vs. UC Santa Barbara (3-5)
All-Time Series Record: 2-8
at Pawtucket Field

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 at 9:00 a.m.
No. 17 Oregon (7-2) vs. UC Santa Barbara (3-5)
All-Time Series Record: 5-9
at Fenway Park

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 at 11:30 a.m.
No. 4 Oklahoma (8-1) vs. UC Santa Barbara (3-5)
All-Time Series Record: 0-4
at Wrigley Field
Live Stats

FLOSoftball Video Stream for all games (subscription required)

Campbell/Cartier Classic Recap
UC Santa Barbara got out to a strong start to the Campbell/Cartier Classic last weekend in San Diego, opening things up with a 4-1 win over Grand Canyon on Friday. That put the Gauchos at 3-1 to start the season with their third consecutive win. However, UCSB wasn't able to repeat that success in its four remaining games, several of which went down to the final inning. The Gauchos fell to Northern Illinois, 8-0, and lost three straight nailbiters to Middle Tennessee, 2-1, San Diego State, 1-0, and Grand Canyon, 3-1.

Mary Nutter Classic Preview
Following a 3-5 start to the year, the Gauchos head to Cathedral City, Calif. this week for a challenging six-game slate at the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic which includes three games against top-25 foes. The Gauchos will play their first two games on Thursday against Army (3:30 pm) and No. 14 Arizona (6:00 pm). They will then have one game each on Friday, versus Utah (5:30 pm), and on Saturday, against BYU (3:00 pm). UCSB will close things out with a pair of games on Sunday against No. 17 Oregon (9:00 am) and No. 4 Oklahoma (11:30 am).

Fabian's Hot Start
No Gaucho has had a hotter start offensively this year than outfielder Sammy Fabian, who leads the team in hits (14), batting average (.467) and slugging (.567). Those marks currently have her in first, second and 14th in the Big West, respectively. Fabian's six runs and three doubles are also team-highs. The left fielder started the season with a six-game hit streak, including five multi-hit efforts. She enters the third week of competition with at least two hits in five of her eight appearances so far in her sophomore season.

Stringing Those Hits
UCSB recorded double-digit hits in each of its first three games of the year and has had at least eight in all but two games so far. As a result, the Gauchos are averaging a Big West-leading 8.5 hits per game so far on a conference-high .308 team batting average. Despite losing two games to the rain during opening weekend, their 68 total hits are still good for second out of eight teams in the Big West. Right behind Fabian for the team-lead are Rayna Cohen (9 hits) and Sierra Altmeyer (8).

The Circle
Santa Barbara's defense has gotten out to a fine start as well, with the pitching trio of Veronika Gulvin, Felisha Noriega and Emily Schuttish combining for a 3.34 ERA, good for second-lowest in the conference. Their combined 5.62 strikeouts per seven innings is also good for third. Schuttish owns the team's lowest ERA of 2.14, placing her at No. 2 among Big West pitchers, and has UCSB's lone save. Noriega meanwhile leads the team with 7.00 K/7, tied for fourth in the conference, and with a 2-1 record has the most wins on the team.

Close Ones
Each of the Gauchos' three wins this year have all come with at least a three-run margin of victory. The close games haven't gone UCSB's way though, with four of the five losses coming by two runs or fewer. The Gauchos are allowing just 3.9 runs per game to opponents while averaging 4.0 runs themselves.

Key Returners
Highlighting the 11-Gaucho returning faction is three-time All-Big West Teamer Sierra Altmeyer, as well as 2018 All-Freshman Team selections Sammy Fabian and Maci Fines. Altmeyer is coming off an All-Conference Second Team selection last year, when she led the Gauchos in runs (33), RBIs (31), doubles (11), home runs (8), walks (28), on base percentage (.420) and slugging percentage (557).

Second-year Gauchos Fabian and Fines return following standout freshman seasons. Playing out of left field last year, Fabian would go on to lead the team in hits (54), batting average (.335) and stolen bases (9), earning All-Big West Honorable Mention recognition in the process. Her 26 runs were also good for third-most on the team. Defensively, she was solid throughout the year, finishing with a .988 fielding percentage after tallying just one error.

New Talent
UCSB brings six newcomers to Campus Diamond in 2019, including Utah State transfer Devan Sperry Jr. (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) and Mt. Sac standout Carissa Felix (Montclair, Calif. / Ontario HS) along with four freshmen. Sperry posted career-highs across the board as a sophomore last year, finishing with 20 hits, four doubles, three homers and 15 RBI at USU. Meanwhile, Felix dominated at Mt. Sac, helping lead the Mounties to a 41-7 record while totaling 59 hits and 41 runs on a .415 batting average.

Rounding out the newcomers are Gaucho freshmen infielders Teah Thies (Laguna Hills, Calif. / Laguna Hills HS) and Ally Nodohara (Morgan Hill, Calif. / Ann Sobrato HS), pitcher Alyssa Molina (Los Angeles, Calif. / Notre Dame S.O.) and outfielder Tyler Goldstein (Agoura Hills, Calif. / Agoura HS).