Six Titans Earn All-Big West Honors; Taukeiaho Player of the Year
FULLERTON, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton sophomore Missy Taukeiaho and senior Ariel Tsuchiyama were named to the All-Big West Conference First Team, highlighting a group of six Titans named to the all-league honor roll released by the conference office on Tuesday evening. Taukeiaho also became the 11th Titan to be crowned the Player of the Year in the conference.
Taukeiaho and Tsuchiyama each earned their first career first-team nods, following in the footsteps of sophomore Jasmine Antunez who was selected on the first-team in 2013.
Senior Leesa Harris and sophomore Samantha Galarza were named to the second team while junior Eliza Crawford was recognized as an honorable mention player. Freshman Christina Washington also placed on the inaugural All-Freshman Team.
Taukeiaho is the first Titan to earn the Player of the Year honors since Ashley Van Boxmeer in 2006. The University of Washington transfer single handedly rewrote both the program and conference record books in four separate categories. Batting from the leadoff position in all 55 games this year, Taukeiaho scored 62 times, inking her into the books for most in a single-season. Power wasn't the least bit lacking from the leadoff position as the third baseman blasted 19 home runs, notching her into the No. 2 spot on the single-season charts. In addition, she finished No. 6 in RBI (51) and No. 9 in batting average with a .429 clip.
Being an offensive machine, Taukeiaho manufactured 21 multi-hit contests and 12 multi-RBI games, pacing the Titans to their first .300 team average since the 2000 campaign. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native captured three Player of the Week accolades over the season, good for third most all-time in Big West history. She led the conference in home runs, runs scored, RBI, walks (40), on-base percentage (.547) and slugging percentage (.851). In conference play, Taukeiaho launched eight of her 19 long balls complimented by her league-high .508 average, propelling the Titans to victories in seven of their last eight games.
After being selected on the All-Big West second-team twice over her career (2011 and 2013), Tsuchiyama finds herself as a member of the first-team after her last campaign as a Titan. She is a four-year starter, and during her career has started in a whopping 204 of 206 games. She will conclude her career in the top-10 in fielding percentage all-time behind the backstop. Batting from the left-side, she extended her career-high hitting streak to nine games earlier this year, also notching career-highs in batting average (.329), hits (53), home runs (3), doubles (11), RBI (26), total bases (73) and on-base percentage (.410).
On the opening line-up for 54 games, Harris concludes her career starting at least 50 games in each of the past three seasons while posting a career batting average of over (.300). During a 12-4 rout over UNLV earlier this season, the Los Angeles, Calif., native struck for four hits en route to driving in five runs, both career-highs and one of only three Titans to manufacture a four-hit game. Making a living on the base paths, Harris is third all-time in program history with 38 stolen bases. The left fielder poured in career-highs of at-bats (150), runs (35), hits (52), triples (5), RBI (20), total bases (66), slugging percentage (.440), and on-base percentage (.372) while being one of 10 conference players to post a perfect 1.00 fielding percentage.
In 2014, Galarza was one of two players to start all 55 games totaling 54 hits, five home runs and 24 runs scored with 29 RBIs. Batting at a clip of .329, she has also logged a .369 on-base percentage, collecting 75 total bases, 24 runs, six doubles, three stolen bags and a slugging percentage of (.457). All are career-highs for the right-handed middle infielder. She launched her first career grand slam on Mar. 30 that proved to be the game-winner against UC Santa Barbara in a thrilling come from behind 11-7 victory. The Moreno Valley, Calif., native has also accumulated an extensive list of honors, including being selected on the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team, CSF Big West Sportsmanship Award and Big West Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2013.
Chipping in five game-winning RBIs this season, Crawford launched a career-high 12 home runs, 36 RBIs, 82 total bases while drawing 23 walks. Batting from the left-side, she posted an on-base percentage of .422 and a slugging percentage of (.607). The Lakewood, Calif., native blasted two round-trippers against George Washington on Feb. 9, leading to another career-high of five RBIs in that contest. The first baseman concluded the year amongst the conference top-five in home runs, sacrifice flies (3), and slugging percentage while being hit by a pitch on 12 occasions. The first baseman also became the first Titan since 1996 to post a perfect fielding percentage of 1.000, refusing to commit an error in 176 chances.
Selected on the conference's inaugural All-Freshman Team, Washington pioneered the pitching staff with a 12-6 record, posting a team-best 3.56 ERA, while tossing 131 and 2/3 innings along with 55 strikeouts. The Inglewood, Calif., native tossed a complete-game in a 3-1 decision against eventual conference champion Long Beach State on Apr. 18, issuing two walks and going the distance without the benefit of a strikeout.
NCAA tournament bound Long Beach State highlighted the awards with a league-high five selections to the first-team. Cal Poly's Sierra Hyland earned both the Pitcher of the Year and Freshman Pitcher of the Year accolades while UC Santa Barbara's Kristen Clark swiped the Freshman Field Player of the Year award. Long Beach State's Shayna Kimbrough captured the Defensive Player of the Year while her Head Coach, Kim Sowder, was christened the Coach of the Year after clinching the conference title.