Coming off of three consecutive wins, including the defeat of #16 Oregon State, the UCSB softball team (4-3 overall) will work to repeat history during the 2005 Louisville Slugger Desert Classic, which begins today in Nevada.

The Gauchos will face Texas State (3-1 overall) at 1:30 p.m. today and #20 Nebraska University at 3:45 p.m. tomorrow. Santa Barbara will compete against Wichita State (2-2 overall) at 5:30 p.m. and end the day against #12 University of Michigan and will wrap up the tournament against University of Nevada, Las Vegas (4-1 overall) at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

“Anytime you beat a nationally ranked team, you know that you can contend with anyone in the country,” UCSB Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “Beating Oregon helped build our confidence and knowing we can play how we’re capable, we can be successful when we go out and play.”

Last Sunday sophomore pitcher Jenn Davis threw two complete games against Oregon and New Mexico and improved to 2-1 on the year. In 14 innings, Davis gave up one earned run, seven hits, 22 strikeouts and one walk. She is tentatively scheduled to open the tournament against Texas.

“Last weekend was a really big confidence booster,” Davis said. “I felt a lot more comfortable about my pitching. Now that we’ve played Oregon and New Mexico, it definitely makes me feel a lot better about my ability to pull out a win after playing UCLA.”

Both Texas and Michigan saw significant postseason play last year. Texas made it to Regionals last season and Michigan lost to Louisiana in the College World Series. But the Gauchos have been playing hard and are ready to compete with the nation’s best.

“We’re playing quality teams and now the competition is spread out so much,” Schroeder said. “You aren’t just going to run over teams, everyone is going to come out and play. We definitely can beat them, but we have to play our best ball. Any team can sneak up and beat us, so this will be a good test for our team. But I think we have a good chance.”