FULLERTON, Calif.-- The Cal State Fullerton softball team begins play this week hosting Loyola (IL) on Tuesday and Grand Canyon on Wednesday. Shortly after, the Titans host the Judi Garman Classic with a full slate of five games in facing San Jose State on Thursday, Fresno State on Friday, two games on Saturday against Nebraska and Arizona, and concluding with competition against Wisconsin on Sunday. All Fullerton games will be played at Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, Calif.
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I NEED STATS, STAT!: Live stats will be provided for all games this week. To access live stats for the games, go to www.FullertonTitans.com and go to the softball schedule page then click live stats.
IN THE POLLS: In the ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches and USA Today/NFCA Coaches polls, the Wildcats are ranked No. 7/9 while the Cornhuskers are listed at No. 16/15. Neither the Titans, Ramblers, Antelopes, Spartans, Bulldogs or Badgers are currently ranked in the polls.
DOWNPOUR IN ORANGE COUNTY: Due to heavy rains in the Fullerton area, the Titans were only able to compete in one out five scheduled games in the Louisville Slugger Invite. Fullerton took the loss in the lone game versus Oregon State, 5-2, on Feb. 27.
ABOUT LOYOLA (IL): The Ramblers are off to a 6-10 start to the season while chalking up a road record of (1-2). A native of Naperville, Ill., sophomore Brie Pasquale leads Loyola (IL) with a .295 batting avg., 11 runs scored, 13 hits, two home runs and nine RBI. Fullerton owns a slight edge over the Beavers with an all-time record of 2-1, most recently with a 7-0 defeat in Fullerton, Calif., in 2008.
ABOUT GRAND CANYON: The Antelopes are lead in the pitching circle by sophomore Kailey Regester and senior Stephanie Pesqueira. Regester posts a 4-0 record with 41 and 2/3 innings pitched, 15 strikeouts along with a (3.02) ERA. Pesqueira enters the week sporting a 3-4 record, two complete games, 38 and 2/3 total innings pitched while yielding a (4.34) ERA. The Antelopes have won five out of their past six contests outscoring their opponents 47-26 over that span.
ABOUT SAN JOSE STATE: The Spartans are led by Redlands, Calif., native senior Jessica Garcia posting a .357 batting avg., chipping in 20 hits, four round-trippers and 28 RBI. San Jose State most recently competed in the Libby Matson Tournament in Stockton, Calif., posting a 1-1 record including being out dueled by No. 7 Washington, 1-0. CSF owns an overall record of 29-10 against the Spartans all time, including a 19-4 home record while winning four consecutive versus SJSU.
ABOUT FRESNO STATE: The Bulldogs have posted a record of 10-5 on the season, most recently competing in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. Fresno State posted a 2-3 record with the two victories coming over Virginia, 11-10, and LIU Brooklyn, 6-2. The Bulldogs are led by Turlock, Calif., native Stesha Brazil who has manufactured 29 total bases, 13 hits, two doubles, four home runs to go along with a .271 batting avg.
ABOUT NEBRASKA: The Cornhuskers enter the tournament sporting a 12-6 record and are led by senior pitcher Tatum Edwards. The right-hander has marked 57 and 2/3 innings of work yielding 16 earned runs, fanning 54 while posting a (1.94) ERA. Nebraska will compete against Arizona State, San Jose State, Cal State Fullerton, Washington and Fresno State at the Judi Garman.
ABOUT ARIZONA: The Wildcats from Tucson head into the tournament with an 18-1 record, good for second in the overall Pac-12 standing. Arizona is led by junior San Diego, Calif., native Kellie Fox with a .467 batting avg., nine round-trippers to go along with 21 runs scored and 21 hits in 2014. Fullerton owns a 28-26 all-time record against the Cats, but have dropped the previous eight out of 10 previous contests.
ABOUT WISCONSIN: The Badgers have posted a record of 7-7 on the season, most recently competing in the Texas A&M Invitational in College Station, Texas. Wisconsin posted a 3-2 record with the three victories coming over TAMCC, 3-1 and 10-1, and Connecticut, 7-2. The Badgers are led by Chino Hills, Calif., native Mary Massei who has manufactured 37 total bases, 19 hits, six doubles, four home runs to go along with a .422 batting avg.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Fullerton finished third in the Big West race a season ago with a 13-11 mark in conference play to go along with a 28-28 overall record. The Titans return six position starters and three pitchers while welcoming 18 newcomers to the fold for the 2014 season. Leading the way for returners is senior catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama, an all-conference first-team selection who hit .323 to go along with 50 hits and 25 runs batted in. In the circle, sophomore Jasmine Antunez returns after earning the Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors a season ago, finishing 18-14 with a 2.58 ERA, 174 strikeouts and even a no-hitter on her resume vs. UNLV.
GOLDEN GLOVE SAM: Infielder Samantha Galarza has rarely made errors in her 18 starts to the season. In fact, Galarza is error-less in every single Titans game this year yielding a 1.000 fielding percentage. The sophomore has generated 22 put outs and 31 assists defensively.
LEADING OFF TO SCORE: Transfer Missy Taukeiaho is currently second in the Big West in runs scored with 15 on the season. Taukeiaho has started all 17 games in the leadoff position and it's clear that her .478 (sixth in the Big West) on base percentage is paying dividends when batting in the one-hole.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Titans have marked a 7-2 record while playing at home including a stunning victory over then No. 2 Oklahoma in the Easton Tournament. On the road or in a neutral contest, CSF is a combined 4-5. The Titans look to capitalize on their home field advantage as CSF is in the midst of an 18-game home stand at Anderson Family Field.
MAKING THE SACRIFICE: Senior catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama leads the team as well as the Big West in sacrifice bunts with five in 2014. Tsuchiyama's execution to move the runner over has been intricate in the Titans 16 runs scored in the first inning along with an 8-1 record when the team scores first.
LET IT BE THE FIFTH: The Titans are sporting a perfect 7-0 record when the team is leading after the fifth inning while marking an 0-6 record when CSF is trailing. The Titans pitching staff have allowed 14 combined runs in the sixth and seventh innings to preserve the victory.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL: In 2014, Cal State Fullerton leads all of the Big West in the best fielding percentage at .972 while second in the league with a low 14 errors. During the season, the Titans have turned three double plays over the first 18 games of the season.
NEWCOMERS: Although the 2014 Titans return dynamic seniors Jena Rubio, Leesa Harris, Gabby Aragon, Lauren Mario and Ariel Tsuchiyama, there are plenty of young talent on this seasons roster. Coach Kelly Ford's team consists of eight freshmen, six of which are position players and the remaining two on the pitching staff. Freshman Christina Washington is looking to have a promising season pitching in the circle, alongside now sophomore Jasmine Antunez who had similar expectations one year ago. Three Titans have transferred to the 2014 team, one being to watch is University of Washington transfer Missy Taukeiaho. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native is looking to make an immediate impact to the offensive potency of the 2014 Titans.
BIG WEST OUTLOOK: The Titans were picked to finish third in the Big West Conference in 2014 as selected by the eight head coaches in the annual preseason poll. Defending conference champion Hawai'i, collected four first place votes and 76 points overall and are favored to repeat after making a big splash in 2013 by capturing the crown in their return to the Big West after a 16 season hiatus. Runner-up in the polls was Long Beach State who garnered three first place votes and 55 overall. UC Santa Barbara was fourth in the polls with 40 points, while UC Davis rounded out the top five at 30 points.