February 13, 2013

Titans Head to Sin City for Easton Desert Classic

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FULLERTON, Calif.- The Cal State Fullerton softball team heads to Las Vegas for their first road action of the season. The Titans join the 18-team field at the 2013 Easton Desert Classic hosted by UNLV. Fullerton will have a full slate of five games with two on Friday (Feb.15), two on Saturday (Feb.16), and one on Sunday (Feb. 17). All Fullerton games will played at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park, located on the corners of Russell and Galleria in Henderson, Nev.

IN THE POLLS: Oregon enters the Easton Desert Classic as the No. 7 team in the nation in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 9 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball coaches poll. Neither the Vikings, Beavers, Cougars, Rebels, and Titans are ranked in the polls. 

NEW LOOK BIG WEST: The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced on Dec. 10, 2010 that Hawai'i will re-join the Big West as of July 2012. The Warriors, women's programs were previously part of the Big West from 1984-96. 

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titan athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF Athletics), Twitter (@FullertonTitans) and Youtube (www.youtube.com/CSFAthletics). Also follow the softball Twitter (@CSUFsoftball).

I NEED STATS, STAT!: Live stats will be provided for both games this week. To access live stats for the games, go to www.FullertonTitans.com and go to the softball schedule then click live stats.

FORD PREVIEWS 2013: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Kelly Ford  and Associate Head Coach Dee Dee Kingsbury sat down with the sports information staff to discuss the upcoming 2013 campaign. Filmed by department videographer Matt Brown, fans can view the entire video via Youtube.com/CSFAthletics.

ABOUT PORTLAND STATE: The Vikings enter the tournament with a 2-4 overall record after participating in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. Portland State beat  Boise State, 2-1, and Kentucky, 5-3, but loss to  San Jose State, Stanford, Bradley, and Indiana...Senior Carly McEachran is batting .333 with four home runs and four RBI's...McEachran is joined by freshman Lauran Bliss who is managing a .438 average and three RBI's...Anna Bertrand (1-3, 5.25) and Karyn Wright (1-1, 3.71) make up a pitching staff that has allowed 32 runs in six contests. 

ABOUT OREGON STATE: The Beavers enter the weekend 3-3 overall and will take on BYU, Idaho State, Long Beach State, and Seattle University in addition to the Titans in Las Vegas...Oregon State also competed in the Kajikawa Classic posting wins versus Stephen F. Austin, Northwestern, and San Jose State, while falling to Oklahoma, Creighton, and Kentucky...Freshman Natalie Hampton leads the offense, batting .421 with a team-high eight hits, two home runs, and nine RBI's. Senior Elizabth Santana leads the Beavers with five runs scored...Maria Demore  (3-1, 2.04) is the ace of the staff, throwing two shutouts in three starts. 

ABOUT BRIGHAM YOUNG: Coming off the Red Desert Classic in St. George, UT., which BYU hosts, the Cougars enter this upcoming weekend 2-3 overall, after defeating Seattle and Idaho State. BYU will also face Hawai'i, Oregon State, Lousiana Monroe, and Portland State in the Easton Desert Classic. Gordy Bravo leads the offense, batting .556 with 10 hits and four RBI's...JC Clayton and Lacey Millet have combined for 14 hits, seven runs, and 7 RBI's...Tori Almond (1-1, 4.53) and Hannah Howell (0-2, 4.30) have split time in the circle for the Cougars in 2013. 

ABOUT UTAH: The Utes enter the weekend with a 2-3 overall record, having loss three games in a row at the Red Desert Classic last week...Utah will also face Idaho State, Seattle University, Long Beach State, and UNLV in Las Vegas...Chalese Fankhauser leads the offense with a .429 average, while Kelsi Hoopiiaina leads the Utes with seven hits and a home run...Sophomore pitcher Mariah Ramirez (1-1, 4.50) and junior Naomi Amu (1-2, 5.40) lead the Ute's pitching staff, while Kayce Nieto (0-0, 2.70) has also seen time.

ABOUT OREGON: The Ducks opened up the season as the No. 5 ranked team in the nation according to the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll, but dropped to seven this week after going 4-2 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz...Oregon defeated Western Michigan, Stephen F. Austin, San Jose State, and Boise State. The Ducks loss to No. 5 Florida (1-0) and top ranked Oklahoma (12-0) according to the ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches poll. At the Eastern Desert Classic, Oregon will also face Ohio, Long Beach State, Lousiana Monroe, and Hawai'i. Junior Courtney Ceo leads the offense with a .444 average and a team-high eight hits. Sophomore outfielder Janie Takeda leads the team with six RBI's. The pitching staff is led by preseason All-American Jessica Moore (3-1, 0.68), and holds opponents to a .225 average this season. Karissa Hovinga (1-0, 3.50) and Cheridan Hawkins (0-1, 5.25) have also seen time. 

SERIES HISTORIES: Cal State Fullerton is 4-1 all-time against Portland State, but havent met since 2007 when Portland State defeated the Titans 7-5 at the UNLV tournament...Fullerton leads the all-time series with Oregon State, 10-9, but has loss the last three of four times the teams have played...the Cougars lead the all-time series versus the Titans, 2-0. Last time the two teams met was at the UNLV tournament when BYU defeated CSF 10-3 on Feb. 20, 2010...Fullerton leads the all-time series versus Utah, 12-11, but has loss three times in a row including an 11-3 loss on Feb. 20, 2010 in the UNLV tournament versus the Utes...the Titans lead the overall series against the Ducks,14-6, and won the last time the two teams played 4-3 on Feb. 13, 2011.

CONFERENCE CALL: Cal State Fullerton is 47-16(.746) all-time against the current configuration of the Pacific Coast Softball League, a combined 142-142-1 (.500) versus current Pac-12 opponents, and 190-94 (.670) against members of the current Western Athletic Conference. 

EASTERN DESERT CLASSIC: The Titans have competed six times at the Easton Desert Classic. Cal State Fullerton hasn't played in the Las Vegas tournament since 2010 when they went 0-5. 

STRIKEOUTS: Freshman Jasmine Antunez has started every game for the Titans and in every inning she has pitched she has recorded at least one strikeout. Antunez has struck out one batter in eight innings, two batters in two innings, and has struck out the side four times. 

SHOULDERING THE LOAD: Antunez has started every game for the Titans this season, throwing four innings in each. In four starts, she ranks second in the Big West in games started (4), third in opponent batting average (.118), and sixth in the Big West in hits allowed (6).

KEEP THE STREAK ALIVE: Junior Ariel Tsuchiyama leads the team with a .500 average, five hits, and a team-high two RBI's, while also riding a three game hitting streak. Tsuchiyama has had a hit in the past 10 out of 11 games dating back to 2011 (Missed 2012 Season with Injury).

SECHREST OUT: Freshman Melissa Sechrest belted a 2-0 pitch over the right field fence to take the lead over Southern Miss 4-2 during game two of the season opener on Feb. 7, 2013. Sechrest is batting .222 on the season in four games played. 

YBARRA IN RELIEF: In two relief appearances, Sophomore pitcher Desiree Ybarra hasnt allowed a hit or walk (4 1/3 IP).Ybarra is first in the Big West Conference in opponent batting average (.000) and hits allowed (0). 

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN': Cal State Fullerton has 22 of 23 players on their roster  from California, but the Titan's opponents this weekend have their own handful of players from the Golden State also. Out of the 93 players on the opposing team rosters this weekend, 39 of them hail from California, making 42% of the TItan's opponent players from California. The team breakdown of players from California are: Oregon (12/19 players), Oregon State (11/19), Utah (6/19), Portland State (5/19), BYU (5/19).  

SOMEONE TURNED UP THE A.C: After blasting a triple to the center field fence in game two versus McNeese State on Feb. 11, 2013, Ashley Carter moved up to fourth on the all-time list  in career triples with nine tieing Carey Hess, who played for the Titans from 1987-90;.

NEW ERA: Head Coach Kelly Ford began her first stint as the head coach of Cal State Fullerton softball program on Feb. 7, 2013. Ford recorded her first win in game two versus Southern Miss, 4-2. Fordspent 11 seasons at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif., recording a 455-102-1 record overall (.812 winning percentage). Prior to her time at Mt. SAC, Ford worked under former coach Michelle Gromacki as an assistant in 2000 and 2001. 

A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Fullerton finished sixth in the Big West race a season ago with a 8-13 mark in conference play to go along with a 20-31 overall record. The Titans return six position starters and three pitchers while welcoming nine newcomers to the fold for the 2013 season. Leading the way for returners is senior outfielder Ashley Carter, an all-conference first-team selection who hit .325 to go along with 55 hits and 27 runs scored. In the circle, sophomore Desiree Ybarra returns after earning all-conference honorable mention accolades a season ago, finishing 13-17 with a 4.66 ERA.

FIVE SIGN WITH CAL STATE FULLERTON FOR 2014:Cal State Fullerton softball Head Coach Kelly Ford announced that high school standouts  Sydney Colenzo, Megan Estacio, Olivia Martinez, Delynn Rippy, and Kayla Silverstein have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers with the Titans beginning with the 2014 season. 

PRESEASON POLL: The Cal State Fullerton softball team was picked to finish sixth in the race for the 2013 Big West Conference title according to a vote of the league's head coaches released on Jan. 30, 2013. The Titans received 33 points to finish behind newcomer Hawai'i, which received four first-place votes and 76 points to top defending  champion Long Beach State (73 points).