UCSB Looks to Win Third Straight Series at LBSU on ESPN3

Jacqueline Hinojosa (Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge)
Jacqueline Hinojosa (Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge)

For the entire Week 12 Release, please click here.

• The Schedule
UC Santa Barbara (25-20, 5-4) at Long Beach State (19-20-1, 7-2)
Gm. 1 - Saturday, Apr. 22, 2017 at 1 p.m.
Gm. 2 - Saturday, Apr. 22, 2017 at 3 p.m.
Gm. 3 - Sunday, Apr. 23, 2017 at 1 p.m.
*All games will be broadcast on ESPN3
At LBSU Softball Complex
All-time record vs. 49ers: 34-82-1
Last time: L, 9-0 (5) (4/24/16)
Live Stats

UC Santa Barbara (25-20, 5-4) at Hawai'i (25-15, 4-5)
Gm. 1 - Friday, Apr. 28, 2017 at 9 p.m.
Gm. 2 - Saturday, Apr. 29, 2017 at 5 p.m.
Gm. 3 - Saturday, Apr. 29, 2017 at 7 p.m.
*All times are PDT
At Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
All-time record vs. Rainbow Wahine: 23-46
Last time: L, 4-1 (4/30/16)
Live Stats - Gm. 1 - Gm. 2 - Gm. 3 

• Last Time Out

After being shutout through the first six innings, UCSB came through late again in its final non-conference game of the season against Fresno State. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh, the Gauchos recorded three hits on their first four at bats, the last of which turned into a walk-off two-run double by reigning Big West Field Player of the Week Jessica Johnston. Seniors Jacqueline Hinojosa and Kristen Clark scored the winning runs to give Santa Barbara its 25th win of the season, currently tied for the second-most in the Big West. Prior to the game against Fresno, the Gauchos took a 2-1 home series win over CSUN, earning two shutouts in three games against the conference's top scoring offense.

• Where We Stand

UCSB (25-20, 5-4) approaches the halfway point of the conference season in a tie with CSUN for the third-best Big West record. The Gauchos are currently two games behind first-place Long Beach State (19-20-1, 7-2) - who they play this weekend - for the best mark in the conference. A third consecutive series win could potentially vault UCSB to the top spot in the standings.

• A Trip to The Beach

This weekend, the Gauchos will face first-place Long Beach in a series that will be broadcast on ESPN3. Despite the 49ers' 12-19-1 record in non-conference games, they've improved their game during Big West play, going 7-2 against conference foes. Many of those wins can be contributed to a stingy defense that is currently tied for the least runs conceded (17) during conference. The 49ers, who are coming off three consecutive shutout wins over Cal Poly, have also scored the least runs (14) in Big West play.

• Johnston's Big Week Continues

It's been a good week for Jessica Johnston, whose two-run double in the bottom of the seventh against Fresno State on Wednesday gave UCSB a late 2-1 win, its fourth in five games. Her first walk-off hit of the year came just two days after she became the first Gaucho this season to earn Big West Field Player of the Week honors. The junior outfielder played a part in six of UCSB's eight runs in a 2-1 series win over Northridge this past weekend, notching both a triple and a three-run home run on her way to team-highs in slugging percentage (1.000) and total bases (10). Through 45 games, Johnston ranks among the Big West's best in doubles (13, 1st), hits (52, T-2nd), batting average (.361, 3rd) and runs (28, 5th).

• Ace in the Circle

It's been a season of constant improvement for sophomore pitcher Veronika Gulvin, as she enters this weekend tied with Cal Poly's Sierra Hyland for the most wins in the Big West (17). Currently ranking tenth in ERA (2.61) and sixth in strikeouts (74), Gulvin has only stepped up her game during conference, sitting first in wins (4) and fifth in ERA (0.91). Of the Gauchos' five shutouts this year - all of which have come within the last month - Gulvin pitched a complete game in four of them.

• Watch Out For Sierra

Sophomore second baseman Sierra Altmeyer has continued to impress in her sophomore season, putting up career numbers across the board. She currently ranks first in the Big West in runs (35) and slugging percentage (.721) and second in hits (52), home runs (9), and batting average (.403). Each of those marks also leads UCSB.

• Crunch Time

UCSB has continued to thrive in close games as it has for much of the season, owning a highly favorable 15-4 record in games decided by two runs or less. Out of the Gauchos' 25 wins, nine of them have come in games where UCSB was trailing or tied in the sixth inning or later. On three different occasions, they put up four runs in the seventh to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. They are also a perfect 5-0 when it goes to extra innings and are a perfect 16-0 when holding a lead after the 4th inning or later. 

• Stringing the Hits

For the second straight season, UCSB is recording hits at a faster rate than any team in the Big West, currently owning top marks of 7.78 hits per game and 350 total. The Gauchos have reached double-digit hits in three of their last seven outings and 11 times total for the year. Their best stretch this year included a run of three straight games from Mar. 11-13 that concluded with a season-high 15 against UNCO (Mar. 13). It was the most they had in their previous 52 outings dating back to last season. Pacing UCSB in hits so far this year are Sierra Altmeyer (52), Jessica Johnston (52) and Kristen Clark (49).

• Clark Rewrites the Record Books

Senior left fielder Kristen Clark has been rewriting the UCSB record book since her freshman season, when she set the program record for both hits (90) and batting average (.437). After batting .402 last season, she became the first Gaucho ever to bat over .400 in multiple seasons. With two hits against LMU back on Mar. 16, she moved past Christine Ramos (2006-09) for No. 1 all-time at UCSB in hits. All-time at UCSB, she ranks first in hits (280) and batting average (.380) and second in runs (128) and stolen bases (60). Against Fresno State on Wednesday, she finished 3-4 at the plate, tying a season-high for hits in the process.

• Gauchos in the Ranks

Aside from hits, the Gauchos are among the conference's best in a number of offensive categories. Their 66 doubles are 14 more than any other team in the Big West, with Johnston (13), Diaz (12) and Altmeyer (10) making up the conference's top three spots. UCSB also ranks second in batting average (.290), RBI (159) and triples (9) and third in runs (182), home runs (19), walks (104), on base percentage (.351) and slugging percentage (.407). During conference play, is first in hits (73), batting average (.308) and on base percentage (.341).