Saturday, Mar. 30, 2019 at 1:00 / 3:00 p.m.
Cal State Fullerton (20-12) at UC Santa Barbara (6-25)
at Campus Diamond in Santa Barbara, Calif.
2018 Series: CSF 3-0
All-Time Series Record: 17-110
Sunday, Mar. 31, 2019 at 12:00 p.m.
Cal State Fullerton (20-12) at UC Santa Barbara (6-25)
Live Stats: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3
Last Week Recap
UC Santa Barbara wasn't able to pick up a win during its final weekend of non-conference play, despite coming close in a pair of games at San Diego which were decided by just one run. The Gauchos nearly took their series opener at USD into extra innings, but a 0-0 stalemate was finally broken by a Torero run in the bottom of the seventh, ending it 1-0. In the second game of the doubleheader, UCSB would try to work its way out of a 2-0 hole late, as freshman Tyler Goldstein's RBI in the top of the sixth brought home sophomore Alyssa Lazatin to cut the USD lead in half. However, the Gauchos fell just short, and were defeated 8-1 in the final game of the series the following day. In UCSB's trip to face No. 1 UCLA on Monday, the Gauchos nearly matched the Bruins 6-5 in hits and held them scoreless with just one hit over the second half of the game, but fell 6-0.
Big West Begins
With non-conference behind them, the Gauchos (6-25) can now shift their focus ahead to Big West play, which begins this weekend. UCSB will play its first six conference games at home, beginning with a three-game series against Cal State Fullerton this Saturday and Sunday. The Gauchos were swept in last year's series with the Titans, the three-time defending regular season champions who at 20-12 head into league play with the third-highest winning percentage in the Big West. CSF possesses one of the most potent offenses the conference has to offer, ranking top-3 in hits, runs scored, and home runs.
Home, Sweet Home
Of the 31 games the Gauchos have played in so far this season, only four of them were played at home. UCSB owns a 1-3 record at Campus Diamond this season, but had its other four scheduled home games canceled due to weather and field conditions. The Gauchos own a 39-29 record at Campus Diamond since the start of the 2016 season.
Fabian's Hot Start
Outfielder Sammy Fabian continues to be remarkably consistent for the Gauchos. She has recorded at least one hit in 13 of her last 14 outings, averaging more than 1.7 hits per game over that span. Fabian recently had a run where she tallied at least two hits in five straight outings, the longest streak of her career. She now has 15 multi-hit efforts this season, doing it in more than half of her 27 appearances. Despite missing all four of UCSB's games last week, the sophomore enters league play second in the Big West in batting average (.462) and with 42 hits – 17 more than any other Gaucho – while also sitting third in on base percentage (.500). She also has at least a share of the UCSB team-high in runs (13), doubles (4), stolen bases (6) and slugging (.505).
Ramirez Stepping Up
Junior Genesis Ramirez has been one of UCSB's top producers this season, as she leads the team in walks (12) and owns the fourth-highest on base percentage (.363). Her 12 walks are good for 10th in the Big West. She is also tied with Fabian for the team-lead with 13 runs, a huge boost for a Gaucho squad which is averaging just 2.65 runs per game.
First-year Gauchos Tyler Goldstein and Teah Thies have made an impact for UCSB through the first month and a half of their careers. No Gaucho has recorded more RBI this season than Thies, who has a team-leading 11, top-five among Big West freshmen. Trailing right behind her are Ramirez (10), sophomore Rayna Cohen (9) and Goldstein (9). Goldstein's slash line of .280/.348/.317 ranks top-five on the team across the board, while her 23 hits are tied with Thies for third.
Perennial All-League Selection
Maybe the biggest reason as to why UCSB has struggled to put up runs has been the absence of infielder Sierra Altmeyer, who has now missed the last 19 games. The senior boasts the most career accolades of any Gaucho currently on the roster, with three All-Conference selections. Last year, she was named to the All-Big West Second Team, after leading the Gauchos in a ton of categories: runs (33), RBI (31), doubles (11), home runs (8), walks (28), on base percentage (.420) and slugging (.557). Before coming out of the lineup this season, she was putting up career-bests in batting average (.375) and on base percentage (.512), both of which would place her in the top-10 of the conference.
Three of the Gauchos' five wins this season came with at least a three-run margin of victory, with the 3-1 win over Army and 7-5 win over CBU being the only exceptions. Unfortunately, UCSB hasn't been able to get over the hump in close games of late, currently owning a 2-10 mark in games decided by two runs or fewer. UCSB did win its only extra innings game so far though, going off for five eighth-inning runs in an 11-6 win over Montana during opening weekend.
Ally Nodohara and Genesis Ramirez both hit home runs at the Bulldog Classic in early March, the first two of the season for the Gauchos. Nodohara's solo blast against CBU on Mar. 8 – the first hit of her career – ended a run of 17 straight games without a homer dating back to last May. Ramirez's home run came in the top of the sixth inning during the rematch against CBU just two days later. It was the third of her career. Interestingly enough, UCSB's third home run of the year from Carissa Felix would also come against the Lancers, when the Gauchos met them for a third time at the LMU Tournament on Mar. 15.
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).