After passing its initial test of the season last weekend at the UCSB Early Bird Invitational, the UCSB softball team is all systems go heading into this weekend’s Cal Poly Mustang Round-Up in San Luis Obispo.
The Gauchos (5-0 overall, 0-0 Big West) match up with Sacramento State and University of Nevada on Friday, and will play Southern Utah and San Diego on Saturday. Santa Barbara wraps up the round-robin tournament with a matchup Sunday against Colorado State.
After dismantling Santa Clara, Long Beach State and Illinois-Chicago, the Gauchos are favored to do the same tomorrow. The squad realizes that overconfidence could derail those plans and will focus on improving during the early part of the season.
“I’m not too worried [about overconfidence],” UCSB Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “As long as we continue to do the fundamental things to win, we should be fine. We know we’re gonna have our pitfalls this season, but when that does happen, we need to bounce back.”
So far, UCSB has done the fundamental things to win games. Schroeder cited excellent defense, clutch hitting and aggressiveness on the base paths as factors that contributed to the team’s success. The Gauchos were also spurred on by outstanding performances by two of their seniors.
“It was an all-around team effort,” Schroeder said. “Chantal Pershing and Loren Thornburg were especially impressive. Pershing [did well] at the plate; the five stolen bases were key. But everybody contributed offensively. And Loren Thornburg pitched extremely well. But we made plays behind her.”
It is the production from all parts of the lineup and the enthusiasm that they have shown as a team that gives this year’s team so much promise.
The Gauchos will send Thornburg back to the mound at least twice this weekend, with freshman Carly Harmon and junior Katie Junge probably pitching the other games.