After splitting the San Diego State Campbell/Cartier Classic last weekend, the UCSB women’s softball team returns home for its home opener at Campus Diamond and enters the second of a string of four straight weekend tournaments in preparation for Big West Conference play.

The Gauchos (2-2 overall) open up the weekend bright and early when they host Nevada at 9 a.m. today.

Santa Barbara’s loss to Kansas last weekend could have been salvaged, had the Gauchos plated runners earlier on in the game instead of trying to play late inning catchup.

“I believe our group cohesion is very strong. Everyone is friends and there are no problems,” junior designated hitter Danielle Myers said. “As long as we can get our hits early and get our energy up, I think we will be fine.”

Slated to lead the team in its home opener, senior pitcher Jenn Davis (0-2) will look to redeem her San Diego performances in front of a friendly home crowd. Despite her two losses last weekend, Davis only allowed four earned runs on 10 hits, while fanning out 13 batters all weekend. In those two appearances, she collected a 2.57 ERA and set a program record for career strikeouts with 643.

Nevada (0-5) enters Santa Barbara this morning reeling from tournament play of its own, after dropping five straight games at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. Their record should not be taken lightly however, as the Wolf Pack fell to #1 Arizona and #3 UCLA as part of a very competitive weekend.

UCSB leads the all-time series between the two teams, who last faced off and split the 2004 season.

“I think we’re going to do really well against Reno, and I firmly believe our team has played really good defense in the past months. I personally worked a lot on hitting and defense,” Myers said.

Tomorrow morning at 9, the Gauchos will get an early preseason preview of Big West competition when they face Long Beach State, who was picked third to finish the conference in the preseason coaches’ poll. The 49ers (1-4) have an advantage this weekend, as they faced off in the same Kajikawa tournament last week, and already have an idea of what to expect tomorrow. However, Long Beach did not finish much better than the Wolf Pack, posting a 1-4 record in the tournament when they fell to powerhouses Oregon, #17 Texas and #6 Arizona State.

This meeting between the Gauchos and 49ers is the first of many to come in 2007, but currently the all-time series is grossly in favor of Long Beach, 63-22-1.

Today’s game against Nevada is scheduled for 9 a.m., with Saturday’s double-header starting again at 9 a.m. when UCSB takes on Long Beach, followed by Northern Colorado at 11 a.m. Santa Barbara faces Northern Colorado again on Sunday at 1 p.m. All games will be held at Campus Diamond.