A LOOK AT THE WEEK
The Cal State Fullerton softball team begins play this weekend competing in the Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. The Titans open up play facing a pair of ranked squads in No. 18 Missouri and No. 14 LSU on Thursday, followed by No. 23 Texas A&M on Saturday, and wrap up the four-day event against Nevada and Oklahoma State on Sunday. Fullerton games will be split among Cathedral City's PGF Yankee, Schutt Fenway and Mizuno Pawtucket fields.
FOLLOW THE TITANS!
Fans can keep up with the latest in Cal State Fullerton athletics by following us on Facebook (Facebook.com/FullertonTitans), Twitter (@FullertonTitans), Instagram (FullertonTitans) and YouTube.com (Youtube.com/CSFAthletics). In addition, the softball team has established its own official Facebook (Facebook.com/csufsoftball), Twitter (@CSUFSoftball), and Instagram (csufsoftball) accounts.
I NEED STATS, STAT!
Live stats will be provided for all games this weekend. To access live stats for the games, log onto www.FullertonTitans.com and go to the softball schedule then click live stats. Links are also provided above.
IN THE POLLS
The Titans recently dropped out of the top 25, but continue to receive votes from the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll (12) and in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll (8). Over the weekend, the Titans will face a trio of ranked squads in No. 14/15 LSU, No. 18/18 Missouri and No. 23/22 Texas A&M, while Nevada and Oklahoma State are currently unranked in both polls.
ON THE WAY UP
Cal State Fullerton endured a challenging 2014 schedule in which the Titans jumped out to a 6-0 record, chalking up the best start for the program since the 2000 squad reeled off 11 straight wins. Posting an overall record of 33-21-1, CSF reached the 33-win mark for the first time since 2007 and will look to build on that this season. Fullerton finished fourth in the Big West standings with a 13-11 record. The Titans will face another impressive schedule in 2015, competing against 10 of the top 25 teams ranked in the preseason USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll including No. 7 UCLA and No. 8 Michigan.
TITANS REACH 1,400 WINS
Following a sweep in day one of the SoCal Collegiate Challenge over Purdue, 6-4, and No. 21 Notre Dame, 8-7, Cal State Fullerton eclipsed the 1,400-win mark in program history (1,400-727-6, .656). Over the 35-plus year history of the program, the Titans have captured one national championship (1986), eight conference championships (1986-87, 1993, 2000-03, 2006), 25 NCAA tournament appearances (1982-96, 1999-03, 2005-09), six Women's College World Series appearances (1982-83, 1985-87, 1995), and have produced 29 All-Americans for 38 selections.
FORD PREVIEWS 2015
Cal State Fullerton head softball coach Kelly Ford sat down with the sports information staff to discuss the upcoming 2015 campaign. Fans can read the entire Q&A on the right ledger of the softball page under 2015 Season Preview by first visiting www.FullertonTitans.com
TAMING THE TIGERS
The 18th-ranked Tigers are off to a 4-1 start to the season after competing in the Dot Richardson Invitational in Clermont, Fla. Mizzou is led offensively by junior Sami Fagan. The shortstop posts team-highs in doubles (2), home runs (3) and RBIs (11). Taylor Gadbois has also swung a hot bat of late with a team-high eight hits while scoring on eight occasions. The pitching staff combines for an impressive 0.61 ERA and stifling .177 batting average against opponents. The three-headed attack from the circle includes Tori Finucane (1-1, 0.47 ERA, 15 innings, two complete games, 12 strikeouts), Paige Lowary (2-0, 0.57 ERA, 12 and 1/3 innings, 15 strikeouts) and Cheyenne Baxter (1-0, 1.00 ERA, seven innings, six strikeouts), who have each found success early in the season. Cal State Fullerton owns a 6-1 all-time record over the Tigers boasting a 24-14 scoring advantage.
BATTLING THE BAYOU
LSU enters the Mary Nutter as the 14th-ranked team in the nation and boasts an undefeated 11-0 record after hosting the Tiger Classic and Tiger Invitational. LSU notched a pair of victories over then No. 20 Notre Dame, 3-2 and 7-1. LSU is led in every major offensive category by junior Bianka Bell, who headlines the squad in average (.528), runs (15), hits (19), doubles (6), home runs (5), RBIs (17), total bases (40) and slugging percentage (1.111). Similar to the Tigers of Missouri, the LSU pitching staff has had phenomenal success quieting opposing hitters to a .176 average while registering a combined 0.97 ERA and eight complete games among a quartet in the circle. Freshman Allie Walljasper appears to have a slight edge as the ace of the staff, posting a nearly unhittable 0.29 ERA over 24 and 1/3 innings, carding a 4-0 record with a team-high three complete games. The native of Manteca, Calif., has fanned 19 batters while surrendering only one earned run. Fullerton is 1-4 against LSU and have dropped three consecutive to the Tigers including an 8-1 loss in last season's Mary Nutter Classic.
THE AGGIES' ATTACK
After hosting the Aggie Classic in College Station, No. 23 Texas A&M holds a 7-4 record. The Aggies tasted defeat to No. 2 Oregon, 5-1, in a mid-week match up on Wednesday. A notable victory for Texas A&M was a 6-4 upset of then No. 6 UCLA in the SoCal Collegiate Classic in Los Angeles, Calif., on Feb. 7. The pitching staff is led by right-hander Rachel Fox (4-3), who has four complete games in seven starts, 31 strikeouts, and a 2.15 ERA over a team-high 42 and 1/3 innings. Texas A&M's freshman infielder Tori Vidales has emerged as the top offensive threat leading the squad in hits (11), home runs (4), RBIs (10) and slugging percentage (.706). The rich history of Fullerton and Texas A&M softball have equated to a 20-17 (8-8 neutral) edge in favor of the Titans in the all-time series. CSF is 6-4 over the previous 10 meetings including a 6-5 victory in the last contest at the Mary Nutter Classic in the 2006 campaign.
PAYBACK TO THE WOLF PACK?
Nevada recently held on for a 6-5 upset over then No. 25 Cal State Fullerton in the Wilson/Demarini Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., on Feb. 13. The Titans staged a furious rally in the sixth frame with five runs, but failed to make the final push to overtake the Wolf Pack. The two squads have now evened the all-time series at 2-2, with CSF continuing to hold a 25-12 scoring advantage. Nevada heads into this weekend with a 3-7 record after notching two wins in Las Vegas including a 6-3 decision over UTEP. The Wolf Pack have struggled in the circle posting a combined ERA of 6.02 while yielding a whopping 59 walks. Right-hander Chase Redington has found the most success, tallying a 2-3 record with two complete games and 14 strikeouts over 27 and 2/3 innings. Junior outfielder Jasmine Jenkins continues to standout offensively, registering a .344 average, 11 hits, two round-trippers and 10 RBIs. The native of Irvine, Calif., tagged Fullerton pitching for a 2-for-4 effort in last week's meeting, collecting a pair of hits and two RBIs.
WRANGLING THE COWGIRLS
The Titans own a daunting 12-5 all-time series record against Oklahoma State, but have dropped three consecutive, while being outscored 34-3 including a 16-0 rout in the last meeting at the Mary Nutter Classic in 2010. Prior to the three straight losses, the Titans had won 12 consecutive, dating as far back as 1983. Oklahoma State enters the tournament 2-5 after participating in the Mardi Gras Invitational in Mobile, Ala. The Cowgirls captured wins over Lipscomb, 9-5, and Butler, 9-5. OSU's Danielle Riddle leads the team in hits (7), doubles (3), RBIs (7) and total bases (16). The pitching staff has struggled, posting a combined 6.16 ERA while opposing batters are swinging at a .370 clip. Right-hander Whitney Whitehorn (0-3) has done the bulk of the pitching, tossing 18 innings to go along with a 5.44 ERA, two complete games and three strikeouts.
NOT SO SHI-ANNE
Freshman shortstop Shianne Brannan has been no stranger to the softball when on defense, logging 17 putouts and 26 assists in 43 chances. The Chino, Calif., native is one of four Titans to post an errorless 1.000 fielding percentage with a minimum of nine chances. Brannan is also credited with turning three double plays to first baseman Melissa Sechrest to lead the squad.
DRIVING WITH THE CLUTCH IN
Six TItans have driven in the game-winning RBI among the seven Fullerton victories thus far into the season. Courtney Rodriguez leads the bunch with two, while a host of Titans in Eliza Crawford, Samantha Galarza, Kylie Padilla, Gabby Rodas and Missy Taukeiaho have accomplish the feat once each.
I WANT SOME MOORE
Mizzou transfer Sarah Moore continues to transition nicely into the Titans' offensive attack, hitting at a .438 clip (7-for-16) with two doubles, one home run, and seven RBIs in eight starts in the outfield. The Chino Hills, Calif., native has also showed patience at the plate, registering team-highs in eight free passes and an on-base percentage of (.625).
In a back and forth game versus No. 21 Notre Dame an unlikely hero emerged in Fullerton, Calif., native Gabby Rodas. While the heated contest was littered with five home runs, in the bottom of the seventh with the bases-loaded and the game tied 7-7, Rodas fouled off pitch after pitch until she finally earned a walk and drove in the game-winning RBI in stunning fashion.
THE WRATH OF THE TITANS
Cal State Fullerton plated 35 runs over the course of five games at the Wilson/Demarini Classic in Las Vegas last weekend, routing Boise State, 15-4, and BYU 11-0. The 15 runs tallied against Boise State was the most since May 11, 2007 when they also scored 15 in a conference win over UC Riverside.
TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE
Third Team NFCA All-American Missy Taukeiaho started 2015 just right where she left off, posting a team-high .469 (15-for-32) average, and blasting six round-trippers over the first two weekends of the season. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native logged her second two-homer game of the season against BYU, launching a grand slam in the opening frame en route to a team-high five RBIs in a 11-0 rout of the Cougars in five innings. The right-handed third baseman leads the Big West in average, slugging percentage (1.063), on-base percentage (.575), runs (13), RBIs (12) and home runs.
After finishing second in the Big West Conference for being hit with the most pitches (12) last season, opposing pitchers continue to tag senior Eliza Crawford as she's already been beaned a team-high five times. The squad as a whole (15) leads the conference.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
After the first two weekends of competition, the Titans' batters posted a league low 28 strikeouts to opposing pitchers. Currently, UC Santa Barbara (50), Hawai'i (44) and UC Riverside (44) have swung and missed on the most occasions. Fullerton also boasts a league-high in walks (47) and on-base percentage (.433) en route to a second best 59 team runs scored.
SHAKING IT UP
Head Coach Kelly Ford has presented five different starting batting lineups in five games. Amongst the changes, the 1-2-3 hitters have remained the same in Missy Taukeiaho, Courtney Rodriguez and Eliza Crawford, while Paige Kisling and Delynn Rippy have splits time batting ninth in the order.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS
Fullerton finished fourth in the Big West race a season ago with a 13-8 mark in conference play to go along with a 33-21-1 overall record. The Titans return 12 letter winners and three pitchers while welcoming 14 newcomers (four transfers) to the fold for the 2015 campaign.
Six Titans garnered 2014 conference honors including Missy Taukeiaho who became the 11th Titan in program history to capture Big West Player of the Year. To cap off the season, Taukeiaho garnered third team NFCA All-American status, while recently being named on the USA Softball Top 50 "Watch List" for national player of the year consideration.
CSF's Ariel Tsuchiyama joined Taukeiaho on the All-Big West First Team followed by Leesa Harris and Samantha Galarza on the second team, Eliza Crawford as an honorable mention, and Christina Washington on the conference's inaugural All-Freshman Team. A quartet of all-conference honorees return for the 2015 campaign in Crawford, Galarza, Taukeiaho, and Washington.
BIG WEST OUTLOOK
The Titans were picked to finish second in the Big West Conference in 2015 as selected by the eight head coaches in the annual preseason poll. Cal State Fullerton received three first-place votes and 56 points overall. Long Beach State is the favorite to repeat as Big West Softball champions as the 49ers secured four first-place votes and 59 points for the top nod this season. Cal Poly garnered the remaining first-place vote and collected 50 points for third place.
BIG WEST CONFERENCE PRESEASON POLL
1. Long Beach State (4) - 59
2. Cal State Fullerton (3) - 56
3. Cal Poly (1) - 50
4. UC Santa Barbara - 40
5. Hawai'i - 31
6. CSUN - 24
7. UC Davis - 24
8. UC Riverside - 9
() First-place votes
For the first time in recent memory, head coach Kelly Ford has designated juniors Missy Taukeiaho, Samantha Galarza and the lone senior on the squad, Eliza Crawford, as team captains.
Decorated with national recognition, Taukeiaho was a menace to opposing pitchers from the leadoff spot as she hammered a conference-leading 19 home runs. The performance placed her at No. 2 in Big West single-season history, trailing only former CSF slugger Stephenie Little, who owns the record with 23 round trippers in 1999. The third baseman also set a Big West single-season record with 62 runs scored, and landed at No. 6 in RBI (51) and No. 9 in average (.429). The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native produced 21 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI games.
In 2014, Galarza was one of two players to start all 55 games totaling 54 hits, five home runs, 24 runs scored and 29 RBIs. Recognized as a member of the All-Big West Second Team, she batted a clip of .329, collecting 75 total bases, six doubles, three stolen bags and a slugging percentage of (.457). The Moreno Valley, Calif., native also shows a strong showing in the classroom being tabbed on the 2013-14 CoSIDA Academic All-District squad with a 3.95 GPA as a communications major.
Coming in the clutch with five game-winning RBIs last season, Crawford launched a career-high 12 home runs en route to 36 RBIs, 82 total bases and 23 walks. The Lakewood, Calif., native concluded the year in the conference's top-five in home runs, sacrifice flies (3), and slugging percentage (.607). The first baseman also became the first Titan since 1996 to post a perfect fielding percentage of 1.000 (minimum of 100 chances), refusing to surrender an error in 176 chances.
Cal State Fullerton consists of nine freshman, six of which are position players and the remaining three on the pitching staff. Rookie Shianne Brannan is looking to have a promising season at the shortstop position, filling the void of the graduated Gabby Aragon. A quartet of Titans have transferred to the 2015 team, with all four in contention to crack the starting lineup or make an immediate impact.
University of Arizona junior transfer Courtney Rodriguez looks to make a big splash in the outfield, while Oregon St. sophomore transfer Kylie Padilla will be leaned on for catcher duties as she also looks to fill another void in graduated Ariel Tsuchiyama.
NEW LOOK STAFF
Cal State Fullerton head softball coach Kelly Ford announced the promotion of Jorge Araujo to the role of first assistant coach and Claire Sua-Amundson as an assistant coach in mid-August. Araujo enters his third season as an assistant on the softball staff where he will continue to be the recruiting coordinator and defensive specialist for the team.
Sua-Amundson joins the Fullerton softball staff after completing her third season with the Stanford softball program, and her second as the associate head coach. Last season, Sua-Amundson helped lead Stanford to a 39-21 overall record and a fourth-place finish in the Pac-12 Conference (13-11). The Cardinal finished the season with a No. 21/22 final national ranking. Under her guidance, the Cardinal made their 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
TITANS INK TRIO TO 2016 SIGNING CLASS
Head softball coach Kelly Ford announced that three area prep athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to play softball for the Cal State Fullerton Titans. Sydney Golden, Raeanne Martinez and Ariana Williams all hail from California and will begin their careers with the Titans at the beginning of the 2015-16 academic school year.
2014 TITANS REWIND
In 2014, Cal State Fullerton led the Big West in drawing base on balls with 170 as a team, 15 more than the nearest competitor Hawai'i with 145. Three Titans eclipsed 20 walks or more, Missy Taukeiaho led the league with 40, followed by Eliza Crawford with 23 and Gabby Aragon registering 22 free passes.
A whopping ten different Titans drove in a game-winning RBI to create a lead that was never surrendered by Fullerton in 2014. Gabby Aragon led the team with eight game-winning RBI hits, followed closely by Missy Taukeiaho with seven. Eliza Crawford (6), Sam Galarza (3), Leesa Harris (2) and Melissa Sechrest (2) round out the top-five contributors. Amongst the 31 hits in total, 10 of those were via the long ball.
GRAND SLAM FEVER
Fullerton opened up conference play with two victories against UC Santa Barbara including an 11-7 come-from-behind thriller in the Titans annual Pink Day game on March 30, 2014. Missy Taukeiaho blasted a grand slam in the third inning to erase a five-run lead while Samantha Galarza launched another four-bagger in the sixth frame to break a 7-7 tie to stun the Gauchos and capture the series. The slugfest remarkably produced three total grand slams as UCSB's Stacy Cavazos accounted for another earlier in the third inning.
DOING IT IN BUNCHES
Five Titans recorded a multiple-hit 10 times or more in 2014: Missy Taukeiaho (21), Samantha Galarza (15), Ariel Tsuchiyama (14), Leesa Harris (12) and Gabby Aragon (12). Two out of the five athletes collected four-hit games, one apiece by Taukeiaho and Harris, respectively.
AND WE ARE TIED, THIS TIME FOR GOOD
Due to darkness and the lack of lights at Bakersfield on March 26, 2014, the Titans and Roadrunners finished the game in a 10-10 tie. This was the first decision of this type for the Titans since Feb. 17 of 2008 when Cal State Fullerton and the Texas Longhorns ended in a 4-4 tie.
COMING ALIVE IN THE THIRD
Over the 2014 season, the Titans owned a commanding 76-28 scoring edge in the third inning. The offensive outburst resulted in a 26-3 record when Fullerton led after that very frame.
Fullerton played exceptional defensively marking a (.967) fielding percentage, good for second-best in the conference for 2014. The Titans posted the second-lowest errors total with 52 on the season, 22 less than league leaders UC Davis with 74. Out of the six individuals in all of the Big West who own a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage over the season, four wore a Titans uniform: Leesa Harris, Eliza Crawford, Lauren Mario and Jena Rubio.
TAKE THE RAKE OUT
To cap the 2014 season off, the Titans placed second in the Big West in batting average with a team clip of (.300). It is the highest average by a Titan team since the 2000 and 2001 squads batted .304 and .298, respectively. Four Fullerton starters posted averages above that mark: Missy Taukeiaho (.429), Leesa Harris (.347), Ariel Tsuchiyama (.329), and Samantha Galarza (.329). Fullerton also finished second in the conference in home runs (57) and runs scored (303), and first in slugging percentage (.479) and on-base percentage (.385).
TITANS VERSUS RANKED TEAMS* (2014)
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
APR. 10 No. 2 UCLA Fullerton, Calif. L, 2-5
*Ranking when game occurred