The UC Santa Barbara softball team plays its first three-day series of the season at Campus Diamond in the UCSB Softball by the Beach Tournament against the Portland State and St. John’s.

Today’s first pitch is set for 11:30 a.m. against the Portland State Vikings (4-8 overall) and Saturday begins with a 9 a.m. contest versus St. John’s (2-4 overall), followed by a repeat match-up with Portland State at 11:30 a.m. The tournament concludes with one more meeting between UCSB (3-6 overall) and the Red Storm at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

“It’ll be exciting to play on our field,” Head Coach Brie Galicinao said. “It’s a new team, a fresh look and our own field so it’ll be nice to get some work in here. As long as our pitchers are able to perform and we keep up the energy, we’ll be good.”

Much like last year, the top of the Gaucho lineup has done its job with junior second baseman Christine Ramos and sophomore first baseman Jessica Ziegler each registering 10 total bases and combining for 11 stolen bases out of 12 attempts.

Despite a complete-game shutout by sophomore right-handed pitcher Lindsey Correa (2-2) and a complete-game win in junior right-hander Tami Weston’s (1-0) first start this past weekend, UCSB’s rotation has struggled and has nearly accumulated a five run team ERA.

“The biggest thing for our team to take away [from San Diego] is that it’s all a grind at this point,” Galicinao said. “It’s all a process and we need to try not to let our record deflate us. If we look at the preseason for what it is – the pre-season, then we need to trust that our hard work will pay off and our pieces will come together.”

Examining the opponents headed into the weekend, Portland State is coming off a loss to Oregon State, where the Vikings were limited to just three hits in a shutout. St. John’s season has started off on an equally disappointing note, but freshman third baseman Kacee Cox was recently named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll with a .308 batting average in the Red Storm’s opening weekend. Cox has also avoided a strikeout in 13 total at-bats.

The Gauchos boast their own talented third baseman in senior Tisha Duran, who comes into this weekend with a .414 batting average and leads the team in hits with 12, homeruns with two and RBI with 10.

“[Duran’s] been very consistent and she’s picking good pitches to hit,” Galicinao said. “Her biggest challenge from a year ago was waiting for pitches she can hit and she’s shown patience and been calm at the plate.”