Long Beach State softball will see a bit of pressure lifted off its shoulders as it continues Big West conference play against UC Santa Barbara in a double header 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Friday at the Softball Complex.
Santa Barbara (7-33, 1-8 Big West) currently sits at the bottom of the Big West Conference standings, the same position the team held at the end of the 2018 season.
“We go into each game with the same mindset as if we’re playing the number one team in the nation,” senior utility Jamie Wren said. “We always want to play at our best.”
Santa Barbara’s single Big West victory came against third place UC Davis, where the game ended 3-1 due to multiple errors by the Aggies’ defense.
Although the Gauchos may not have a promising record, there are a few key players that help the team stay competitive with their Big West opponents. A power hitter to look out for is sophomore outfielder Sammy Fabian, who holds a batting average of .420, the second-best in the Big West and second-highest in the history of the softball program at Santa Barbara. Fabian leads the team with 50 hits and 14 runs scored.
A second standout is junior infielder Genesis Ramirez, who has scored the most runs on the team with 15 and has racked up 10 RBIs in 24 hits.
Despite sitting in fifth place in the Big West, Long Beach State has produced at least one run in every Big West match this season. As a team, the 49ers hold the highest batting average in the Big West at .290. Long Beach has no problem showing up on the offensive end, but has lost important games due to defensive errors.
“We’re doing a lot of good things in practice like relays, throwouts at the plate and defense. We just have to find a way to put it all together and get some better results,” head coach Kim Sowder said.
A key factor to the team’s batting average is Wren, who leads the team in batting average since the start of Big West play. Wren is batting .359 and has accumulated nine doubles, two triples and six home runs to put forward a slugging percentage of .602. She has also brought in the most runs on the team with 37, putting her in third place for most RBIs in the Big West.
Another powerhouse is sophomore infielder Alyssa Gonzales, who has blasted nine doubles, one triple and five home runs, all while wrangling in 33 RBIs.
“Continuing to fight and finding a way,” Sowder said about her hopes for the team this weekend. “Finding a way to finish the game strong and trying to find that winning mindset. Finding a way to pick each other up and continue to fight with everything we have.”