This Tuesday, the UCSB softball team will take on the visiting Loyola Marymount Lions at Campus Diamond. UCSB enters the game with a 17-16 overall record after going 3-2 in last weekend’s Gaucho Classic II.  The team is hitting an encouraging .321 at the plate, and has won two out of its last three.

Samantha Stark reaches for the ball to get the runner out. Dustin Harris/Daily Nexus

Samantha Stark reaches for the ball to get the runner out. Dustin Harris/Daily Nexus

The Lions bring a stellar 21-14 record into the game, though they lost their last two games at home against Cal Poly and have lost six of their last eight contests.

Junior outfielder Kristen Clark is a proven sparkplug atop the Gaucho lineup as she leads the team with a .451 average, 14 stolen bases, 51 hits and 29 runs scored.

In addition, freshman infielder Sierra Altmeyer leads the team with 26 RBI’s and nine doubles, and is hitting .298 on the year. Also helping to bring in runs for the Gauchos has been sophomore outfielder Jessica Johnston as she has contributed 25 RBI’s and is second among starters with 25 RBI’s and a .365 batting average. Senior starting pitcher Ashley Ludlow leads a strong Gauchos’ pitching staff with a 5-6 record, one save, a 3.00 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 86.1 innings pitched this year.

Loyola is led by outstanding senior outfielder Meghan Van Behren. Van Behren leads the team with a .442 batting average, 29 runs scored, 53 hits and 12 doubles.

LMU is also led by sophomore third baseman Alicia Brown and junior outfielder Amanda Dirks. Brown carries a .416 batting average to go along with eight homeruns and 24 RBI’s. Dirks owns a .323 average at the plate with seven home runs, 23 RBI’s and 25 runs scored.

ON the mound, the team has two potent starting pitchers in freshman righty Hannah Bandimere, who possesses a 10-7 record and an ERA of 3.50 with 70 strikeouts in 96 innings. Junior lefty starter Rachael Farrington has similar numbers with an 11-6 record, 3.51 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 99 innings.

UCSB’s final non-conference game will begin at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29. The Gauchos will then begin Big West Conference play at home at Campus Diamond vs. Cal Poly for a three-game series this weekend starting on Saturday, April 2 at 1 p.m.