Titans Head to Bakersfield; Host Big West Opening Series Against UCSB
FULLERTON, Calif. - The Cal State Fullerton softball team begins play this week traveling to Bakersfield, Calif., to compete in a double-header against non-conference foe CSU Bakersfield on Wednesday. The Titans will then return home to open up conference play versus UC Santa Barbara in a double-header on Saturday while concluding the series with one game on Sunday. The three-game weekend series against UCSB will be played at Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, Calif.
PINK DAY!:The Cal State Fullerton softball team will host its annual pink game to support breast cancer research and awareness on Sunday (12 p.m.) Mar. 30, during its Big West Conference matchup versus UC Santa Barbara. Fans are encouraged to join the Titans and Gauchos in wearing pink to show their support of the cause. There will be a silent auction of player's warm-up shirts for the day and fans are welcome to bid on the items during the game. All proceeds will go to the softball team. To further show support and awareness of breast cancer research, please visit the Susan G. Komen Foundation website here http://ww5.komen.org
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 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.
ARE YOU LISTENING? WATCH OUT!: Cal State Fullerton home softball contests will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. The Titans also offer live streaming video for home 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. To access the links, click on the audio or live video link on the schedule page.
IN THE POLLS: In the ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches and USA Today/NFCA Coaches polls, neither the Titans, Roadrunners, or Gauchos are currently ranked.
SIZING UP IN THE RPI: The Titans currently rank 46th in the nation in Rating Percentage Index (RPI). RPI measures a team's wins and losses and its strength of schedule. Fullerton has played against two teams currently ranked in the top-10 and against six teams in the top-25.
TITANS VERSUS RANKED TEAMS*
DATE OPPONENT LOCATION RESULT
FEB. 7 No. 2 Oklahoma Fullerton, Calif. W, 3-1
FEB. 15 No. 23 California San Diego, Calif. L, 4-5
FEB. 21 No. 15 Baylor Palm Springs, Calif. W, 6-1
FEB. 21 No. 23 LSU Palm Springs, Calif. L, 1-8
FEB. 22 No. 24 Notre Dame Palm Springs, Calif. L, 0-8
FEB. 25 No. 2 Tennessee Fullerton, Calif. L, 4-8
MAR. 8 No. 14 Nebraska Fullerton, Calif. L, 2-9
MAR. 8 No. 7 Arizona Fullerton, Calif. L, 0-15
*Ranking when game occurred
TITAN CLASSIC REWIND: Fullerton wrapped up hosting the Titan Classic, Mar. 14-15 including competition against Texas Tech and DePaul. The Titans concluded the tournament with a 3-2 record, with wins over Canisius, 5-2, and Fresno State, 9-2.
CAPTURING A MILESTONE: Head coach Kelly Ford clinched her 500th win in her career this past week with a victory over UNLV, 12-4, on Mar. 14. Ford led junior college Mt. SAC to 455 wins between 2002-10. With currently 46 victories under her belt at Division 1 Fullerton, the Oklahoma alum has now totalled 501 wins and counting.
ABOUT CSU BAKERSFIELD: The Roadrunners are off to a 9-24 start to the season and are lead in the pitching circle by junior Kelsie Monroe. The right-hander posts a 7-11 record, nine complete games, 125 total innings pitched while yielding a (3.53) ERA.
The native from Los Banos, Calif., leads the team with 75 strikeouts while starting 20 games and making 24 appearances for CSUB.
ABOUT UC SANTA BARBARA: The Gauchos are led by Danville, Calif., native freshman Kristen Clark producing a .443 batting avg., chipping in 47 hits, four triples and 20 stolen bases. UCSB most recently competed in the UCSD Tournament in San Diego, Calif., posting a 2-2 record while picking up wins versus San Diego, 2-1, and San Jose State, 5-4.
The Gauchos (20-8) are off to their best start since 2007 when they reached the NCAA regionals.
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 59 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:
1. Hawai'i (4), 59
2. Long Beach State (3), 55
3. Cal State Fullerton (1), 46
4. UC Santa Barbara, 40
5. UC Davis, 30
6. Cal Poly, 25
7. Cal State Northridge, 24
8. UC Riverside,
SECHREST OUT!: Sophomore first baseman Melissa Sechrest concluded the home stand batting 5-for-15, driving in eight RBI and scoring four runs overall. In a 10-2 victory over Canisius on Mar. 17, Sechrest produced a 1-for-3 outing including a walk-off grand slam to finish with a career-high four RBI. The Peoria, Ariz., native launched three round-trippers over the past five games to go along with a .250 batting avg.
KEEP THE STREAK ALIVE: Senior outfielder Leesa Harris torched opposing pitchers over the past five games, batting at a .733 clip (11-for-15). Harris has recorded a base hit in all five games, tying her career-high in consecutive games with a hit. In a 12-4 rout over UNLV on Mar. 14, the Los Angeles, Calif., native batted a perfect 4-for-4 while driving in five RBI en route to setting career-highs in both hits and RBI.
MAKING A LIVING ON THE BASES: Middle infielder Samantha Galarza has now reached base a team-high seven consecutive games. Galarza manufactured eight hits and five runs scored over that span while raising her batting avg. to .279 on the season.
MAGIC NUMBER IS SIX: The Titans have a clear advantage when the offense is able to produce at least six runs in a contest, reflecting a 12-1 record when doing so. When scoring five runs or less, the team posts a roller coaster 6-11 mark. A big contributor in getting the runs across has been transfer Missy Taukeiaho. The sophomore lead off hitter is currently leading the Big West in runs scored with 27 on the season.
IRON WOMEN: Infielders Missy Taukeiaho and Samantha Galarza have each started all 30 games for the Titans this year. The duo have combined for 177 at-bats while producing 39 runs, 57 hits and 12 round-trippers in 2014.
DOWNPOUR IN THE MIDDLE INNINGS: The Titans have used the third and fourth innings to jump ahead of their opponents. Fullerton owns a 33-15 scoring advantage in the third inning while holding a 27-10 edge in the fourth inning. Overall, the Titans have combined to out score opponents 152-128, resulting in a 18-12 overall record.
STAYING OUT OF TROUBLE: The Titans lead the Big West with a team-low zero ground outs leading to a double play. Using speed on the bases, Fullerton is 27-for-33 (82%) on stole base attempts good for fourth in the league.
SHOULDERING THE LOAD: In the first 30 games of the Cal State Fullerton season, sophomore Jasmine Antunez is second in the Big West with 22 appearances. Over that span, Antunez leads the team tossing 71 and 1/3 innings, to go along with a (4.22) ERA, fanning a team-high 60 batters on the season while chipping in three complete games among the pitching staff. Her seven wins and 16 games started also lead the team.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE: Cal State Fullerton leads the Big West in drawing base on balls with 93 as a team, 13 more than the nearest competitors Long Beach State and UC Riverside with 80, respectively. Three Titans have eclipsed double-digits in walks, Taukeiaho with 17, Eliza Crawford with 15 and Ariel Tsuchiyama registering 13.
KEEPING THE FOOT ON THE GAS: The Titans are sporting a commanding 15-1 record when the team is leading after the fourth inning while marking a dismal 0-9 mark when CSF is trailing. The Titans pitching staff have allowed only 10 runs combined in the fourth inning to help preserve victories down the stretch.
THE BEST BALL IS THE LONG BALL: In 2014, Cal State Fullerton leads the Big West in home runs with 32 for the season. Leading the way for the Titans is Taukeiaho with nine round-trippers, followed closely by Crawford with eight long balls. Fullerton holds the league lead over Hawai'i (31) and Long Beach State (29) for overall home run totals.
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 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 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.
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 Taukeiaho. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native is looking to make an immediate impact to the offensive potency of the 2014 Titans.