Last weekend marked the first time since 2003 that the UC Santa Barbara softball team was perfect in a tournament and it will look to keep its streak alive.
The Gauchos (6-2 overall) won four games in a row and they begin their UCSB Mini Tournament tomorrow. Texas-San Antonio is up first, followed by a clash with Northern Illinois. Saturday features a rematch with NIU (2-2) and the first of two games in as many days against Santa Clara.
“I think this is the best team chemistry that I’ve been involved with since I’ve been coaching here,” UCSB Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “It’s just ultimately a team effort every time we go out. The people in the dugout are helping the people in the field and they’re ready to go in when needed. I just feel really good about this team so far this year.”
Texas-San Antonio (3-7) has never faced the Gauchos before and is coming off a rollercoaster of a tournament last weekend. The Roadrunners scored 10 runs in their two wins, but they struggled to score at all in their three losses.
Northern Illinois freshman hurler Kate Greenough (2-1) boasts a 1.10 ERA and will likely run into freshman right-handed pitcher MeLinda Matsumoto (2-0) who, along with freshman righty Lindsey Correa (2-0), has packed quite the one-two punch for the Gauchos.
“I feel comfortable throwing either [Matsumoto or Correa]. I expected them to come in and pitch right away because they did so well in their traveling teams and in high school,” Schroeder said. “Having the depth this year in the pitching makes a difference for [senior right-handed pitcher Jennifer Davis] because all the weight is not on her shoulders, so if she does struggle a little bit, she has some people to back her up.”
Northern Illinois presents a dangerous offensive threat in sophomore outfielder Ashley Clement, who went 4-for-10 with a home run and six RBI last weekend. The Gauchos, however, have an impressive sophomore of their own in second baseman Christine Ramos who has reached base in each of her last seven at bats.
“What’s great about Christine [Ramos] is that she’s a solid lead-off batter because she just knows where to place the ball,” junior catcher Ericka Hansen said. “She’s an awesome offensive player.”
Santa Clara (0-10) has had a relatively dismal season thus far, but the Broncos should be hungry for their first win after heartbreaking losses to #11 Stanford and Pacific.
The first pitch is set for 8 a.m. tomorrow at Campus Diamond.