The UCSB softball team leapt over a major hurdle last weekend, only to encounter a mountain to climb this weekend.
Coming off of a two-win and one-loss performance in their first conference games of the season, the Gauchos (18-23 overall, 2-1 in the Big West Conference) will face University of the Pacific (25-10 overall, 3-0 in the Big West) this weekend at home in a triple-header at Campus Diamond.
Last weekend was something special for Santa Barbara. After a long non-conference season, the pitching and run-scoring problems that have overwhelmed the Gauchos have come to a halt, and the team is finally looking like they are starting to gel. Drastic changes can be seen from the young UCSB squad, with noticeable improvements in every aspect on and off the field. With the combination of stellar pitching and power at the plate, the team feels they can handle a tough team like Pacific.
“We are capable of beating any team in the conference, it just depends on what team decides to show up when we face Pacific this weekend,” Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “I am confident in our team and the way we have been playing lately.”
The latest addition to the Gaucho arsenal is freshman pitcher Lindsey Herrin. Herrin is batting .273 with seven home runs and 21 RBI, proving herself a valuable asset for UCSB. Herrin’s prowess at the plate has not been her only gift to the team. She has also performed well on the mound, going 3-0 with 1.27 ERA in only five pitching appearances. UCSB will look to Herrin again this weekend, in need of her “powers” all around the diamond.
“Lindsey is a all around great player and a very positive person who doesn’t get down on herself,” Schroeder said. “She has given us quality innings on her own, which is something you have to have to win in the game of softball.”
Pacific is a team that has caught fire as of late, conquering Cal Poly last weekend in three-straight games. Freshman first basemen Jennifer Curtier, who is the co-Big West Player of the Week, batting a .375 average as she led Pacific to a 4-1 record last week. The Tigers also feature senior pitchers Natalie King and Jennifer Dacre who have a combined record of 21-8 as pitchers. The Gauchos feel they can beat the Tigers and the power of Curtier, but will need a strong outing on the mound.
“If we get a strong showing on the mound, and come through hitting the ball we can do fine,” Schroeder said. “Our number one and three hitters struggled last weekend and we were still able to put runs on the board. If we have strong pitching and solid defense, we can compete with anyone.”