During this upcoming weekend, the UCSB softball team will focus on one thing – improvement.
The Gauchos will head to Cal Poly for the annual Cal Poly Mustang Round-up Tournament. The team will see an array of talent, and even some teams from the Big West Conference. Coming off a three-win, three-loss weekend in the UCSB Early Bird Tournament, the team is not fully satisfied with its effort and feels they have much to work on.
“I thought our team did well. We were still working out players in different positions, trying to figure out who to have in our starting lineup,” UCSB Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “I thought we really hit the ball well with a lot of power, and our pitching has a lot of depth. We were in all three of those games that we lost. We need to definitely improve defensively.”
Santa Barbara will first see Sacramento State and the University of San Diego, who both carry very prominent softball teams every year. Sacramento State looks to dominate in the tournament, returning 14 players and nine starters from last year’s team. With experience and effort, the team will pose a challenge to the Gauchos on Friday.
San Diego brings sophomore third baseman Sara Mason, who batted five for five with four RBIs and three triples last game. But offense hasn’t been the main problem for the Gauchos.
“Defensively, we can improve, and the fact of getting to know each other and playing together will help each play,” Coach Schroeder said. “Catchers and pitchers need to continue to work and make sure they are making the right calls and staying together.”
Next, the team will face Colorado State, Nevada and Cal Poly. Colorado State, who is predicted to finish second in the Mountain West division behind San Diego State, looks to pose the biggest problem of the tournament for Santa Barbara. They have a dynamic pitching staff with excellent all-around defense.
Nevada, while weak at the plate, has the reputation of playing well under pressure. Cal Poly, who may be the easiest match for the Gauchos, will be the final game out the tournament, though they cannot be overlooked playing at home.
The Gauchos will look to last week’s hero to guide the team again. Freshman pitcher Jennifer Davis and junior infielder Lindsey Herrin, who led the Gauchos last week in stellar pitching and offensive performances, will be needed to dictate the tempo again this weekend.
“We had two big surprises, though we expected this out of them. Lindsey Herrin gave us a lot of power in the lineup and had many RBIs,” Coach Schroeder said. “Jen Davis had a real nice weekend and was an excellent surprise, pitching very well and adding some power at the plate.”