Softball Opens Big West Conference Play at UCSB on Saturday

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A LOOK AT THE WEEK: After hosting one of the premiere non-conference tournaments in the nation, the Judi Garman Classic, the Cal State Fullerton softball team heads on the road this weekend to begin Big West Conference play against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. The Gauchos currently hold the second best record in the Big West conference. The teams meet in a doubleheader on Saturday (March 23) at 12 & 2 p.m. before concluding the series with a single game on Sunday (March 24) at noon.  

IN THE POLLS: Neither the Titan or Gauchos are ranked in either of the top 25 polls entering this weekend's contests. 

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.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, select Cal State Fullerton softball contests will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. To access the links, click on the audio link on the schedule page.

CAN YOU SEE ME NOW? EVEN BETTER!: Cal State Fullerton Athletics now offers live streaming video for select softball contests over the Internet courtesy of the Big West  TV. Fans can catch all the exclusive action from the comfort of their home computers. For more information, please visit www.BigWest.org/TV.

ABOUT UC SANTA BARBARA: The Gauchos enter the weekend at 19-8 overall after taking the series against Santa Clara on the road last week with a 10-1 win in game two and 1-0 victory in game three. UCSB has won four of their past five games and head into conference play with the second best overall record in the Big West. Freshman infielder Arianna Palomares leads the team with a .390 average to go along with seven RBI's while senior Keilani Jennings have provided the pop with five home runs and 18 RBI's. Sophomore Shelby Wisdom leads the team with eight doubles and 25 RBI's. Wisdom (10-5, 2.10) and junior Andriana Collins (4-1, 3.63) have split time in the circle this season with Wisdom holding opponents to a .234 average, while striking out 77 batters on the year. 

FOR OPENERS (BIG WEST STYLE): Fullerton is 19-9 in Big West Conference opening games, and is 6-4 in its last 10 such contests... the Titans are 11-3 when opening the league schedule at home compared to just 8-6 on the road... since switching to the three-game series format in 1999, Fullerton is 32-13 in 15 conference-opening series.

SERIES HISTORIES: Cal State Fullerton has dominated the all-time series with UC Santa Barbara, 103-11, after taking two of three from the Gauchos last season in Fullerton... the Titans won the opener, 2-1, before dropping game two 5-4. Fullerton took the series after winning game three 5-4. Fullerton is 54-6 against UCSB on the road since 1980, having won 10 of the last 12. Since the Big West Conference began sponsoring the sport of softball, the Titans are 84-10 against the Gauchos since 1986... UC Santa Barbara's last win in the series came on May 9-10, 2008, when the Gauchos won games one (8-5) and three (11-7) from Fullerton to clinch the series – only the second series victory by UCSB in the history of the two programs.

CONFERENCE CALL: Since the Big West conference started sponsoring softball 27 years ago, the Titans have a combined record of 371-163-1 against all-time Big West opponents. 

PLAYING SPOILER: The Titans have taken down three top 25 ranked opponents this season, which is tied for most in the Big West-. On Feb. 26th, Fullerton defeated No. 10 11-5 at Easton Stadium in Los Angeles and defeated No. 7 Missouri 5-4 on Feb. 23, 2013 at Anderson Family Field. Fullerton also defeated No. 21 Virginia Tech 7-3 at the Judi Garman Classic on Mar. 16. The last time the Titans took down a top ten team was on March 15, 2009 when they defeated the University of Washington 3-2 at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif. 

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Titans have played only one away game this season coming against UCLA at Easton Stadium on Feb. 26. The Titans last season were 5-10 on the road and have not had a winning road record since the 2009 season. Cal State Fullerton is 33-52-1 in the past five seasons on the road. 

GETTIN' ON THE BOARD FIRST: When the Titans score first in a game they are 9-1 compared to 4-15 when the opposing team scores first. The Titans scored first against Virginia Tech, but eventually lost off a walk-off RBI single by the Hokies in the bottom of the seventh inning. 

WE NEED HITS: The Titans are batting .240 this season, but when Cal State Fullerton out-hits the opponent they are 11-0 compared to 2-15 when the opponent out-hits them. The Titans have produced 13 hits in one game, the most this season, three different times. Last time the time the Titans had 13 hits was versus Charleston Southern on March 8.

TAKE CARE OF THE SOFTBALL: Cal State Fullerton is 9-6 when they commit no errors in a game and 4-10 when they do commit an error. However, the Titans have only committed one error in the past 53 innings and rank second in the Big West in fielding percentage (.970) compared to Pacific (.974)

CONTROLLING THE LEAD: The Titans have been perfect so far this season when leading after four innings. Fullerton is 10-0 in games they have led after four innings and a whopping 11-0 after six innings. However, they are 2-12 when trailing after four innings. 

SAFE HAVEN: Senior Ashley Carter single against the Sooners extended her streak of reaching base safely now in each of the last nine games. Johnson has 10 hits in those contests, including a hit by pitch against Arizona State on March. 14. 

CARTER STEALING BASES: Carter is finding a way to get on base and this season she leads the team with eight stolen bases. The Fontana, Calif. native had only stolen 11 bases prior to this season.

SHOULDERING THE LOAD: In 20 starts as a freshman, Antunez is second in the Big West in appearances (24), tied for third in strikeouts (105), and fourth in innings pitched (93.2). Antunez is holding opponents to a .228 batting average this season, which ranks sixth in the Big West. 

YBARRA DOES IT ALL: Sophomore Desiree Ybarra was the Titan's ace last season, but this season she has contributed not only in the circle, but at the plate as well. Ybarra in the circle is 4-5 with one save. Ybarra has closed out 14 games for the Titans this season, which is the most in the Big West. Ybarra's bat has been a big addition for the Titans. The Riverside, Calif. native has a .264 average, two home runs, and 13 RBI's. Ybarra is also tied for the most sacrifice flies in the Big West with four on the season.

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: Seven different Titans have tallied game-winning hits this season, led by three from Jasmine Antunez

SUPER MARIO:Cal State Fullerton second baseman Lauren Mario belted two home runs versus Charleston Southern, which is the first time a Titan batter has hit two home runs in a game since Anissa Young crushed two against Michigan State on March 4, 2012. 

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.

IRON WOMEN: Catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama has started all, but two games behind the backstop for the Titans this season, while leading the Titans with a .293 batting average as the starting catcher. Tsuchiyama has 14 RBI's on the season the most since 2011 when she recorded 12 RBI's. She missed all of 2012 due to an injury. 

SAVES: Cal State Fullerton is tied with Long Beach State with the most saves in the Big West (3). Each Titan pitcher has recorded a save this season. 

FORD UPDATES 2013 SEASON: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Kelly Ford sat down with the sports information staff to discuss the 2013 season thus far. Filmed by department videographer Matt Brown, fans can view the entire video via Youtube.com/CSFAthletics.
 

GETTING ON BASE: The Titans are last in the Big West in on-base percentage (.312) compared to UC Santa Barbara who has an on-base percentage of .350. 

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Eliza Crawford and Desiree Ybarra have combined for 11 doubles this season. Ybarra currently stands fifth in the Big West in doubles, while Crawford is tied for sixth with five. 

PITCHING RECOVERY: In 51 games last season the Titans pitching staff finished with a 5.20 ERA. In 2013, the Titans pitching staff has cut that in down with the current 3.44 ERA they have managed.

DEBUTS AND TITAN CAREER FIRSTS: Freshman Monique Wesley made her first career appearance as a Titan in the circle tossing one inning versus Arizona State on March 14. Junior Kailey Mertz, transfer from San Jose State, recorded her first hit against Charleston Southern. Mertz hit an RBI single up the middle giving the Titans a 10-2 victory enforcing an eight-run rule. Freshman Cami Jacob managed her first hit of her career after driving a double down the left field line against Charleston Southern on March 8th during the Long Beach State Invitational. 

RECYCLED NOTES:

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. Ford spent 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. 

TAKING DOWN THE BRUINS: After defeating UCLA 11-5 on Feb. 26th the Titans  not only took home a victory to add to the win column, but a new record. The Titans scored the most runs against UCLA since April 25, 1989 when they scored seven runs. The 11-run tally is the most in 73 meetings between the two schools.

PLAYING JAPAN TOYOTA: The Titans played against the Japan Toyota professional softball team on Wednesday February 20, 2013 at Anderson Family Field, losing 7-1. The Titans and Japan Toyota played seven-inning exhibition contest, as Japan Toyota gets ready for their upcoming season. Team Toyota comes over to the United States annually to play collegiate and professional teams to prepare for the Japan Softball League. Team Toyota features USA Softball Olympians Monica Abbott and Natasha Watley, who have won back-to-back Japan Softball League Championships (2011 & 2012).

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).  

WRATH OF THE TITANS: Among the league's top offensive teams in 2011, 2012 wasn't anything different as the Titans finished second in runs scored, second in stolen bases, and third in RBIs. The 2012 Titans finished with a .280 batting average topping 2011's .275 average. Cal State Fullerton also produced the most hits (365) in program history since 2007. 

WE'RE HONORED:Cal State Fullerton placed seven players on the 2012 Big West Conference all-league honors: Ashley Carter, Leesa Harris, Nicole Johnson, Morgan LeMond, Adriana Martinez, Desiree Ybarra, and Anissa Young). Three of those all-conference honorees return for 2013: Ashley Carter, Leesa Harris, and Desiree Ybarra. 

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.