There was at least one bright light that came out of the UCSB softball team’s bleak season, and that came recently when sophomore left fielder E.J. Lauchland was named to the All-Big West second team.
“She is definitely deserving of this award,” sophomore outfielder Ashley Groefsema said. “She is a really good player and a very hard worker. She is so versatile, both offensively and defensively.”
The 5-foot, 6-inch sophomore out of Lodi was one of the most consistent forces on the field this year. Lauchland was the only Gaucho to appear in all 52 games, including 51 starts. Lauchland led the team with her .299 batting average, and tied for first on the club with a .354 on-base percentage. Her 21 runs, 50 hits, 10 doubles, and 60 total bases were not only team highs, but also in the top ten in the conference.
“I had somewhat of an advantage,” Lauchland said. “A lot of teams didn’t really know how to pitch to me. They knew I was a slapper, so they would play in close. When they did that I was able to hit it over their heads.”
Though Lauchland spent all of the 2001 campaign in the outfield, she is also a very adept infielder after notching several innings at second base in her rookie season. Offensively, she is also capable of doing a number of things to get runs on the board. She can bunt for a base hit, or play the power game to drive in runs.
“This was such an honor [to be named to the Big West second team],” Lauchland said. “I’ve always heard of the players that were named to the first and second teams in their conference, and it has been an aspiration of mine since high school to be one of those people.”