A LOOK AT THE WEEK
The Cal State Fullerton softball team begins play this week with a road game at the University of San Diego on Wednesday. Fullerton will then co-host the Louisville Slugger Tournament with Long Beach State starting with a Thursday match up against Wichita State in Lakewood, Calif. The Titans return home to host Southern Utah and Northwestern on Friday, followed by Boise State on Saturday. CSF will wrap up the tournament returning to Lakewood to face Portland State on Sunday.
TICKETS & PROMOTIONS
Cal State Fullerton softball tickets are on sale for the 2015 campaign. Three types of items are available, single game tickets, tournament packages or, the best deal, the season ticket that includes all regular-season tournaments along with individual games. For details about all three ticket types, fans may click here. Always keep in mind that there are special opportunities for groups and promotional activities at Anderson Family Field (softball) and at Goodwin Field (baseball).
Cal State Fullerton students receive free admission to Titan home games with their Titan I.D. card.
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 continue to receive votes from the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll (1) and in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll (3). Neither the Toreros, Shockers, Thunderbirds, Wildcats, Broncos or Vikings are ranked in either 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 36-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.
DODGING THE TOREROS
The Torreros are off to a 7-7 start to the season after competing in the Amy S. Harrison Classic in Riverside, Calif. USD is led offensively by freshman Kailey Hill. The native of Ramona, Calif., posts team-highs in doubles (3), home runs (3), RBIs (11) and slugging percentage (.774). The pitching staff is led largely by Paige von Sprecken, who has tossed 51 and 2/3 innings for the Toreros with a 2.03 ERA. The 5-foot-9 freshman posts a 6-1 record with five complete games in six starts to go along with 42 strikeouts while opposing batters are hitting a .233 average against her. Cal State Fullerton owns an 8-1 all-time record over the Toreros boasting a daunting 79-4 scoring advantage. The Titans captured a 4-2 victory in last season's meeting on Feb. 12 in Fullerton, Calif.
CHOPPING DOWN THE SHOCKERS
Wichita State enters the Louisville Slugger Tournament with a 7-7 record after participating in the EMU Madeira Beach Tournament in Madeira Beach, Fla. WSU notched one win in the three-day event, a 2-0 shutout over Villanova. WSU is led by junior Brittany Fortner, who headlines the squad in average (.395), hits (17), doubles (6), home runs (5) and slugging percentage (.721). The Shockers' pitching staff consists of two main contributors in sophomores Jenni Brooks and Katie Malone. Brooks posts a 3-3 mark over 31 innings, carding a team-low 3.16 ERA. Malone has collected a team-high three complete games in seven starts, tallying 28 strikeouts in 39 and 2/3 innings. This will only be the second meeting between Fullerton and Wichita State with the Titans being victories 5-2 in a neutral contest in Las Cruces, N.M., all the way back in 1988.
CAPTURING THE THUNDERBIRDS
After competing in the University of San Diego Tournament and picking up a pair of wins against CSU Bakersfield, 3-1, and Kent State, 4-3, Southern Utah holds a 2-7 record. The bulk of the pitching has been done by senior right-hander Katie Greenberg (2-3), who has four complete games in five starts, totaling 16 strikeouts and a 3.62 ERA over a team-high 32 and 1/3 innings. SUU's senior infielder Sara Park leads the offense in hits (8), triples (1), and total bases (11). The Thunderbird offensive has had its difficulties to begin the season, posting a combined .204 batting average. Fullerton (2-0) in undefeated against Southern Utah in program history, last meeting in Tempe, Ariz., with a 14-1 decision in a five inning run-rule game.
TAMING THE WILDCATS
Alongside the Titans, Northwestern recently completed play at the Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., exiting the tournament with an overall record of 4-9. The two squads have battled to an all-time series tally of 16-9 in favor of CSF, however, the Wildcats have won three consecutive with an 18-2 scoring advantage. The Titans are 13-5 when hosting the Wildcats in the friendly confines of Anderson Family Field. Northwestern has struggled in the circle posting a combined ERA of 5.90 while yielding 64 walks. Right-hander Kristen Wood has found the most success, tallying a 2-2 record with four complete games and 47 strikeouts over 42 innings. Senior outfielder Andrea DiPrima continues to standout offensively, registering a .406 average, 13 hits, two round-trippers, 10 RBIs and 12 walks.
SADDLING THE BRONCOS: ROUND TWO
The Titans now own a 3-0 all-time series record against Boise State after a 15-4 rout in five innings earlier this season on Feb. 13 in the Wilson/Demarini Classic in Las Vegas. Boise State heads to Southern California with a 5-10 record after competing in the Diamond Devil Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. The Broncos have been led by a 1-2 punch of Devon Bridges and Makenzie Sullivan. Bridges posts team-highs in average (.447), hits (21), slugging percentage (.723) and on-base percentage (.527). Sullivan enters the tournament recording team-highs in doubles (6), home runs (3) and RBIs (16). Rachel Rodriguez has emerged as the ace of the Broncos' pitching staff, posting a 2-4 mark to go along with a 4.55 ERA, one complete game, and 10 strikeouts over 40 innings.
FIGHTING THE VIKINGS
The Vikings were also a participant in the Wilson/Demarini Classic in Las Vegas, collecting wins over Utah Valley, 10-0, and Boise State, 10-6. Portland State also tasted defeat to a pair of Big West foes in CSUN and Hawai'i in 11-0 decisions, respectively. Overall, the Viks are off to a 4-6 start to the season and is led offensively by junior Lexi Goranson. The right-handed outfielder posts a .292 average with five runs scored, five RBIs and a team-high 11 walks. The Viks offense has struggled as a whole, tallying a team average of .228 through 10 games into the 2015 campaign. The pitching staff is led by a pair of Vikings in right-hander Kristen Crawford and lefty Meagan Hendrix. Crawford has tossed 21 innings to go along with a 3.00 ERA and seven strikeouts. Hendrix has turned in 21 and 2/3 innings with a 1-1 record and one complete game while opponents are hitting at a .333 clip against her. Cal State Fullerton owns an 4-2 all-time record over the Vikings boasting a daunting 30-11 scoring advantage. Although the Titans are a perfect 4-0 at Anderson Family Field in series history, Portland State has captured the last two meetings, both in Las Vegas by scores of 7-5 (2007) and 3-2 (2013).
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
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.
NEW LOOK LINE-UP
Following a four game skid which was the longest losing streak since 2013 when the Titans lost five straight, head coach Kelly Ford shook up the batting order heading into the final day of the Mary Nutter Classic. The 1-2-3 order of Missy Taukeiaho, Courtney Rodriguez and Eliza Crawford was consistent through 13 games, but Ford placed Rodriguez at leadoff, inserted emerging sophomore Delynn Rippy into the two hole and longtime leadoff threat Taukeiaho was inked third in the order. With Crawford batting clean up, Fullerton ended its losing streak and notched two victories over Nevada, 9-1, and Oklahoma State, 6-5.
DRIVING WITH THE CLUTCH IN
Eight TItans have driven in the game-winning RBI among the nine Fullerton victories thus far into the season. Courtney Rodriguez and Eliza Crawford leads the bunch with two apiece, respectively, while a host of Titans in Samantha Galarza, Kylie Padilla, Gabby Rodas and Missy Taukeiaho have accomplished the feat once each.
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.
As if a bases-loaded walk was an unorthodox scenario to walk-off an opponent, the Titans once again manufactured a way to win in epic proportions against Oklahoma State on Feb. 22. With Missy Taukeiaho standing on second base and in scoring position, Sarah Moore stayed patient on a 3-1 count in the bottom of the seventh to draw a walk. The unique aspect of this is that the ball four was airmailed over the catcher for a wild pitch, and Taukeiaho rounded third to slide home safely and shock the Cowgirls and seal the 6-5 walk-off victory.
TAKING CARE OF THE ROCK
Cal State Fullerton has a second-best .974 fielding percentage in the Big West Conference. The Titans also post a league low 11 errors while forcing opponents to hit into a league best seven double plays through 15 games.
NOT SO SHI-ANNE
Freshman shortstop Shianne Brannan has been no stranger to the softball when on defense, logging 24 putouts and 38 assists in 62 chances. The Chino, Calif., native is the only Titan to post a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with at least 50 chances. Brannan has also registered a team-high five double plays.
SEE US IN THE THIRD
The Titans have dominated on both sides of the field in the third inning limiting opponents to a combined four runs while the Fullerton bats have managed to bring across 26 runs in the same frame. In contrast, the Titans have been outscored in the fourth frame 14-5, worst of any inning.
Featured primarily as a pinch-hitter thus far in 2015, Oregon State transfer Lexi Gonzalez made the best of her bases-loaded plate appearance in the third inning against Nevada on Feb. 22, launching a grand slam to right-center which led to an eventual run-rule of the Wolf Pack 9-1 in five innings. The home run was Gonzalez's first in a Titans' uniform, while the Covina, Calif., native became only the third Titan this season to drive in four runs in a single game.
I WANT SOME MOORE
Mizzou transfer Sarah Moore continues to transition nicely into the Titans' offensive attack, hitting at a .345 clip (10-for-29) with two doubles, one home run, and 10 RBIs in 13 games. The Chino Hills, Calif., native has also showed patience at the plate, registering nine free passes and an on-base percentage of (.586).
NOT SO AVERAGE
Juniors Courtney Rodriguez and Missy Taukeiaho are 1-2 in the conference standings in highest batting average with clips of .469 and .429, respectively. Rodriguez is also the current Big West frontrunner in hits (23), while Taukeiaho headlines the offensive categories of slugging percentage (.881), on-base percentage (.579), runs (18), walks (13) and home runs (6).
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 recogniton, 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.
Missouri junior transfer Sarah Moore will support the outfield, while Padilla's OSU teammate, sophomore Lexi Gonzalez, is expected to aid the Titans in multiple facets.
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.
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.
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