Feb. 6, 2007
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team kicks off its 28th varsity season this weekend as one of 22 teams participating in the 2007 Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State at the Tempe Sports Complex in Tempe, Ariz.
The Titans open the tournament with morning games against Texas Tech and Wisconsin on Friday (Feb. 9) beginning at 9:30 a.m. PT. Play continues on Saturday (Feb. 10) against Northwestern State and Western Michigan at 8 a.m. PT and concludes on Sunday (Feb. 11) at 8 a.m. PT against 2006 NCAA runner-up Northwestern.
IN THE POLLS: Fullerton is receiving votes in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason coaches polls... The Wildcats are the unanimous \#4 team in the nation.
FOR OPENERS: The Titans are 21-6 overall in season openers since 1980, snapping a two-game losing streak with a victory over Fresno State in Arizona last season... Fullerton is 4-3 all-time in season openers under Head Coach Michelle Gromacki... the Titans have opened a season against Texas Tech once before, defeating the Red Raiders by a 10-0 score in five innings at the New Mexico Diamond Invitational on Feb. 4, 2000.
SUCCESS IN THE DESERT: Fullerton will be opening the season at Arizona State's tournament for the fifth time in the last seven years, holding a 31-22 record at this tournament dating back to the 1994 season.
TITANS PICKED TO REPEAT AS BIG WEST CHAMPS: The 2007 Cal State Fullerton softball team was picked to repeat as champions of the Big West Conference according to a vote of the league's coaches released on Jan. 24 by the conference office. The Titans received six of the seven possible first-place votes and 48 points overall to outdistance second-place Cal Poly, which received 35 points. The two were followed by last year's runner-up Long Beach State (33 points) in third and UC Santa Barbara and Pacific, which tied for fourth with 25 points apiece. Cal State Northridge (17 points) received the remaining first-place vote and was picked sixth followed by UC Riverside (13 points) in seventh.
LAST YEAR AT THE KAJIKAWA CLASSIC: Cal State Fullerton opened the 2006 season with a 2-3 record at the Kajikawa Classic, posting wins over nationally-ranked Fresno State (5-4) and Syracuse (3-2) while falling to Utah State (5-2), Oregon State (7-5), and \#5 Arizona (2-0).
BAKER IS ONE TO WATCH FOR: Senior right-hander Candice Baker was one of 50 players named to the initial watch list for the sixth annual USA Softball National Player of the Year Award on Jan. 23. The list is comprised of players representing 33 schools and 11 different NCAA Division I conferences. Baker, a two-time All-West Region First-Team selection as a utility player, was 22-10 in the circle as a junior with a 2.16 ERA and a Big West best 259 strikeouts and a .194 batting average against. The list will be pared down to 25 names on April 4 and will shrink yet again to 10 players on May 9. The three finalists will be announced on May 23 with the winner named prior to the start of the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Cal State Fullerton returns nine letterwinners and eight starters, including three pitchers, from last season's squad that finished 37-24 overall and won its eighth Big West championship with a 14-4 record. The Titans advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the 22nd time in 25 seasons, falling to No. 23 Fresno State and defeating Tulsa before being eliminated by No. 10 Stanford. Fullerton welcomes six newcomers to the field in 2007, including Division I transfers Jessica Doucette (University of Georgia) and Lauren Lupinetti (St. John's University), who should make an immediate impact in the Titans' lineup.
THE "TITAN FAMILY": Family ties reign supreme at Cal State Fullerton in 2007. Cousins Jenna Wheeler and Courtney Martinez will play together for the second straight season... Yvette Fernandez's cousin is former Fullerton All-American Monica Lucatero... Jessica Doucette's mother, the former Teri Young, was a member of the Titans' first-ever softball team in 1980... Dana Crucil's father, Jeff, was an offensive lineman for the Titans' football team in the early 1970s.
GROMACKI APPROACHES MILESTONE: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Michelle Gromacki is approaching yet another coaching milestone as she stands just 28 wins away from notching her 300th career coaching win. Gromacki, a two-time Big West Coach of the Year and four times the head coach of the NFCA West Region Coaching Staff of the Year, could reach the 300-win mark as soon as March 17 in bracket play at the Judi Garman Classic at Anderson Family Field.
VAN BOXMEER NAMED EARNS SPOT ON CANADIAN NATIONAL TEAMS: Cal State Fullerton senior Ashley Van Boxmeer was named to Canada's 17-member World University Games team that will compete on Aug. 8-18 in Bangkok, Thailand, and will also compete with the Senior Women's National Team at the 2007 Canada Cup.