There is no more room for error. This is a must win series.
These are the things that the young UCSB softball team (29-26, 11-4) will be hearing for the rest of the week until it faces Long Beach State (43-10, 13-2), who is atop the Big West Conference. The teams will meet in a three-game series at Campus Diamond this weekend in a showdown for first place.
If the Gauchos can sweep the series this weekend, then they will have sole possession of first place in the Big West and a sure bid at regionals.
“We are going to take one game at a time. Long Beach State is a good team that has been proving things all season but we can beat them and, if we bring out our ‘A’ game, we can win the series,” freshman left fielder Jessica Hejna said. “The key to our success is good pitching, fielding and power at the plate for all three games.”
Currently posting a three-game winning streak, the 49ers come into Santa Barbara with Big West Co-Player of the Week, senior Colleen Burdick, and Big West Co-Pitcher of the Week, junior Marcel Torres. Burdick and Torres are a one-two punch for the 49ers and will cause many problems throughout the entire series for the Gauchos. Burdick is currently batting .285 this season with four homeruns and 29 RBIs. When Torres is on the mound she is close to flawless, pitching with a 13-2 record and a 0.77 ERA in 18 appearances on the mound.
“I think we can beat anybody in our conference; it’s just a matter of what team shows up,” Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “We have to bring our best team every time we go out there. If we don’t do that, we are going to get beat. Every game is extremely important and even with our best players out there it doesn’t guarantee a win.”
Freshman pitcher Jennifer Davis has been perfect in her last two outings, throwing consecutive one-hitters to improve her record to 13-13 with a 2.68 ERA. In a recent game against Utah State, Davis collected 16 strikeouts in one game to add to her season total of 173. The Gauchos can’t forget about junior pitcher Lindsey Herrin, who has performed some mid-season heroics on the mound in the latter half of the season. The team will look to Herrin in this upcoming series to post a good outing when needed. Herrin has only lost one game this entire season, accumulating seven wins.
“There is no more talk; we just got to get out on the field and do it!” Hejna said.