Something has to give in UCSB softball’s second Big West series of the season.
Amidst a five-game winning streak, the Gauchos (20-14 overall, 3-0 in the Big West) face off against conference rival Cal Poly in a three-game home stand this weekend. The Mustangs (15-13, 3-0 Big West) have also won their last five contests, but they have gotten the victories by scoring an average of seven runs per game. Despite the offensive power of Cal Poly, Head Coach Brie Galicinao remains confident in her team’s ability to compete against Big West opponents.
“[Conference play] is a different stage of our season and we are approaching it one game at a time,” Galicinao said. “Game two against whoever is just as important as game fifteen. In that way it’s kind of like a seven-week tournament. Conference is always a little crazy and anything can happen, but we’ll be fine as long as we can play our game.”
After receiving her season’s second Big West Player of the Week honor on Monday, senior third baseman Tisha Duran heads into this weekend on an impressive hot streak. She hit two homeruns last week, drove in six and has gone six-for-12 in her last four games.
The Santa Barbara pitching rotation has also found a rhythm of late, with starters holding opposing teams to no more than two runs in four of the last five games. Junior hurler Tami Weston has improved to 7-2 after posting wins in her last three appearances and maintaining a sparkling 2.81 ERA, while the sophomore pair of Lindsey Correa and MeLinda Matsumoto have combined for 13 wins and 108 strikeouts.
“Everybody’s been chipping in, and it’s really whoever can do the job,” Galicinao said. “The defense plays well behind all [three] of them. If you look at last year’s conference stats, Jennifer Davis pitched a large majority of innings so they could all be freshmen. They’re still figuring it out, but it’s nice to see them go against conference teams who may not have seen them last year.”
Behind 14 strong innings from freshman left-handed pitcher Anna Cahn (5-6) and senior righty Robyn Kontra (5-1), Cal Poly posted its own sweep of Cal State Fullerton this past weekend. The Mustangs are lead offensively by a trio in freshman catcher Stephanie Correia, junior centerfielder Jenna Maiden and junior shortstop Melissa Pura. The trio has combined for nine home runs, 49 RBI and 118 bases.
The first pitch of Saturday’s doubleheader is scheduled for 12 p.m.