Softball Opens 2012 Regular Season in Austin
Feb. 8, 2012
FULLERTON, CA -
Cal State Fullerton at Texas Classic
Feb. 9-12, 2012
Austin, TX | Red & Charline McCombs Field
Feb. 9 vs. Texas: Live Stats | TV: Longhorn Network
Feb. 10 vs. Colorado State: Live Stats
Feb. 11 vs. UTSA: Live Stats
Feb. 11 Semifinal vs. Colorado State, 4:30 p.m. PT: Live Stats
Feb. 12 Consolation/Championship - Opponent TBD: Live Stats TBA
A LOOK AT THE WEEKEND: The 33rd varsity season of Cal State Fullerton softball opens this week deep in the heart of Texas as the Titans (23-24 overall, 12-9 in the Big West Conference in 2011) kick-off the 2012 campaign as one of four teams at the Texas Classic hosted by the University of Texas at Red & Charline McCombs Field. The Titans and Longhorns will be joined by Colorado State and Texas-San Antonio in the four-day event, beginning with round robin play on Thursday (Feb. 9) which will seed a championship bracket that begins on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 11). The consolation and championship games of the tournament will be held on Sunday morning (Feb. 12).
TEXAS CLASSIC TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
2.9 - Cal State Fullerton at Texas, 5 pm PT (TV: Longhorn Network)
2.10 - Colorado State vs. UTSA, 9 am PT
2.10 - Cal State Fullerton vs. Colorado State, 12 pm PT
2.10 - UTSA at Texas, 3 pm PT
2.11 - Cal State Fullerton vs. UTSA, 8 am PT
2.11 - Colorado State at Texas, 11 am PT
2.11 - Semifinal \#1, 2 pm PT... Semifinal \#2, 4:30 pm PT
2.12 - Consolation Game, 7 am PT... Championship Game, 10 am PT
All games involving the University of Texas will be broadcast live on the Longhorn Network with Dave Raymond (play-by-play) and former Texas A&M All-American Amanda Scarborough (color) handling the broadcast from Austin.
CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS: For those fans who do not receive the Longhorn Network, but have Verizon FiOS Internet service, you can watch the Titans-Longhorns (as well as any of the other contests involving Texas) online at http://espn.go.com/longhornnetwork/index.
IN THE POLLS: Texas enters this weekend's openers as the only ranked team in the field, standing at No. 18 according to the NFCA and No. 19 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Preseason Coaches Polls.
NEW LOOK BIG WEST: The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced on Dec. 12, 2011, that San Diego State will return as the conference's 11th member effective July 1, 2013. The Aztecs, whose women's teams were members of the league from 1985-90, were an original member of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association from 1969-78, and will join Hawaii as the league's "newest" members. The Warriors, whose women's programs were part of the Big West from 1984-96, were introduced as the 10th member of the league on Dec. 10, 2010, and will officially compete as a member of the Big West in July of 2012.
BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF.Athletics), Twitter (@FullertonTitans) and Vimeo.com (vimeo.com/fullertontitans).
"HI, MOM!!!": The Cal State Fullerton softball team will twice be featured on television in 2012 when the Titans take the field against Texas on Feb. 9 and again on May 5 when they host Long Beach State in an ESPNU doubleheader at Anderson Family Field. This year marks the sixth consecutive year that Fullerton will play in front of a nationally televised audience after the Titans played on ESPNU at Long Beach State in 2011 and at home against the 49ers in 2010 as well as ESPN NCAA Regional broadcasts in 2008 (at UCLA) and 2009 (at Arizona State) and an NCAA Super Regional series at Arizona in 2007. The spotlight of national TV has been harsh, however, as the Titans are just 3-8 in those five previous appearances, including a split of their regular season doubleheader with Long Beach State last season.
I NEED STATS, STAT!: For those unable to make the trip to Austin, live stats will be available for all games at the 2012 Texas Classic. Links will be available on the softball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com as soon as they become available.
GROMACKI PREVIEWS 2012: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Michelle Gromacki sat down with the sports information staff to discuss the upcoming 2012 campaign. Filmed by team videographer Matt Brown in stunning high definition, fans can view the entire interview via Vimeo.com at the following link: http://vimeo.com/35553144.
ABOUT TEXAS: The Longhorns return six position starters, three pitchers, and 12 letter winners overall for the 2012 season after posting a 46-10 overall record (14-4 for second place in the Big 12) a season ago... senior infielder Lexi Bennett returns to lead the offense after batting .438 with nine home runs and 41 RBI, slugging .792 on the season with 51 runs scored as a junior in 2011... junior right-hander Blaire Luna (28-7, 1.27 ERA, 316 K's) and sophomore righty Rachel Fox (18-2, 1.24 ERA, 122 K's) pace a pitching staff that held opponents to a combined .180 average last season... Head Coach Connie Clark is in her 17th season with Texas since starting the program in 1997, posting a 552-260-3 (.679) overall record at the helm... Clark pitched Cal State Fullerton to the 1986 NCAA National Championship and she was the 1987 Honda Broderick Award Winner.
ABOUT COLORADO STATE: The Rams return five starters, two pitchers, and eight letter winners overall off of last season's squad that finished 8-43 overall and 1-14 in the Mountain West Conference for 6th place... sophomore infielder Chelsea Biglow returns to lead the offense after batting .300 with six home runs and 29 RBI as a freshman... senior Kelli Eubanks (2-1, 6.22 ERA) and sophomore Alexa Cash (1-20, 8.36 ERA) return in the circle for the Rams... Head Coach Jen Fisher is in her second season at the helm of her alma mater after spending three years at Division II Metro State where she was named the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year in 2010.
ABOUT UTSA: The Roadrunners return seven starters, three pitchers, and 11 letter winners overall for the 2012 season after finishing 28-27 overall and 17-13 in the Southland Conference for fifth place... sophomore catcher Molly Fichtner returns to lead the offense after batting .350 with 11 home runs, 11 doubles, and 34 RBI as a rookie in 2011... junior right-hander Haylee Staton (6-8 overall, 3.58 ERA) and senior right-hander Morgan Luksa (4-7, 4.71 ERA) return in the circle... Head Coach Amanda Lehotak is in her first season with UTSA after spending the last five years as head coach at Jacksonville University, posting a 137-152 (.474) record.
SERIES HISTORY: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Texas, 9-5-1, but the Longhorns won the last meeting with the Titans, 5-0, on March 19 at the 2011 Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton... Fullerton is 2-1-1 against Texas in Austin making its last trip to the Lone Star State in 2008, suffering a 1-0 loss and a 4-4 tie in a hastily scheduled "doubleheader" due to weather... the Titans haven't won in Austin since taking two from the Longhorns by the scores of 3-1 and 4-3 (8 inn.) in 2001... Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Colorado State by a 6-1 count, losing the first game in the history of the series in 2010 at the Cathedral City Classic by a 10-5 score in nine innings... five of the seven meetings with the Rams have come on neutral fields with Fullerton posting a 4-1 record in those games... Saturday's meeting with UTSA will be the first between the two programs in softball.
CONFERENCE CALL: Cal State Fullerton is 81-43-1 (.657) all-time against the current configuration of the Big 12 Conference, a combined 119-53-1 (.691) against current Mountain West Conference opponents, and 12-8 (.600) against the current Southland Conference alignment.
FOR OPENERS: Cal State Fullerton is 24-8 (.750) all-time in season-opening contests, having won five of its last six after a 3-0 win over CSU Bakersfield last season at the Kajikawa Classic in Arizona. The Titans' only loss in that span was a 2-0 shutout defeat against Kentucky in 2010. This week will mark the first time that Fullerton will open a season in the State of Texas and the third-straight year that the Titans will open away from home after spending the last two seasons opening at tournaments in Arizona.
PRESEASON POLL: The Cal State Fullerton softball team was picked to finish third in the race for the 2012 Big West Conference title according to a vote of the league's head coaches released on Jan. 31, 2012, by the conference office. The Titans received 42 points to finish behind defending champion Pacific and Long Beach State, which received four first-place votes and 59 points apiece to stand tied atop the poll. UC Santa Barbara (37 points) was picked a close fourth followed by Cal State Northridge (34), Cal Poly (26), UC Davis (20), and UC Riverside (12).
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Fullerton finished third in the Big West race a season ago with a 12-9 mark in conference play to go along with a 23-24 overall record. The Titans return seven position starters and a pair of pitchers while welcoming seven newcomers to the fold for the 2012 season. Leading the way for the returners is senior infielder Nicole Johnson, an all-conference honorable mention selection who hit a team-high .331 to go with five home runs, and 17 RBI a season ago, as well as junior all-conference outfielder Ashley Carter, who hit .312 with a trio of triples, 14 walks, and eight RBI. In the circle, junior Katey Laban returns after earning all-conference honorable mention honors a season ago, finishing 5-7 overall with a 3.40 ERA and a .270 average against. In conference play, Laban was 5-3 with a 2.66 ERA and a .268 average against in 12 appearances.
DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS: Cal State Fullerton is 21-14-1 (.597) all-time in games against various opponents played in the State of Texas, but just 1-3 in neutral site games played in Austin with a win over Penn State in 2008 and losses to Michigan (2008), UCLA (2001), and Wisconsin (2001).
WE'RE HONORED: Cal State Fullerton placed eight players on the 2011 Big West Conference all-league honor roll, tied with conference champion Pacific and Long Beach State for the most in the conference last season and the most for the Titans since 2001 when they had nine players named All-Big West. Four of those all-conference honorees return for 2012: Nicole Johnson, Katey Laban, Ashley Carter, and Ariel Tsuchiyama.
"SCOTTY, WE NEED MORE POWER": Usually among the league's top slugging teams when it comes to home runs, the Titans had a bit of a power outage in 2011, finishing sixth in the Big West with just 20 home runs. It was the lowest total for a Fullerton lineup since 1997 (20) and snapped a string of five straight seasons with at least 30 round-trippers.
NICE TO MEET YOU: Cal State Fullerton will face a pair of first-time opponents this season when they take on Boise State at the Cathedral City Classic on Feb. 23 and Charleston Southern on March 9 at Anderson Family Field as part of a tournament hosted by Long Beach State. It will actually be a second chance for the Titans and Broncos after their scheduled inaugural meeting at the Judi Garman Classic last season was cancelled due to rain on the tournament's final day.
JOHNSON WITH A TARGET ON HER BACK...: And her knee, and her thigh, and her arm... you get the picture. Senior Nicole Johnson is within striking distance of a rather dubious school record, entering the 2012 season with 37 career hit by pitches across her first three Division I seasons. Johnson, who was bruised a team-high 15 times last season as a junior (tied for the fourth-highest total in the school's single-season record books), ranks third all-time in school history, needing just 19 more HBPs to match Crystal Vieyra's school record of 56 accumulated from 2005-08.
GOING, GOING... BACK, BACK... TO CALI CALI: Perhaps one of the biggest offensive additions to the Titans' lineup this year is senior infielder Anissa Young, who returns to her native Southern California after playing for the last three seasons at LSU. The Fontana native (Bloomington HS) completed her best offensive season as a junior 2011, batting .272 in the ultra-competitive SEC with team high's in home runs (10) and RBI (42) while helping the Tigers to an NCAA Regional berth. During her career at LSU, she started every game but one (171 of 172), batting .252 for her career with 20 doubles, 26 home runs, 117 RBI, and 67 walks. One of those games during the 2009 season came against Cal State Fullerton at the NCAA Regional in Tempe as the then-freshman finished 1-for-3 with an RBI in a 3-2 victory over the Titans.
OFFENSIVE RECOVERY: The Titans combined to hit .275 as a team in 47 games last season, the program's best average in eight years since Fullerton batted .279 in 56 games during the 2003 campaign. Returning to better that mark in 2012 are six of the team's top nine hitters from a season ago, a group that will be bolstered by the return of redshirt sophomore Gabby Aragon, who missed all of last season after hitting .288 as a freshman in 2010 en route to all-conference second-team honors, and redshirt freshman Eliza Crawford, who hit .286 in just nine games before missing the rest of 2011 due to injury.
THREE SIGN WITH CAL STATE FULLERTON FOR 2013: Cal State Fullerton softball Head Coach Michelle Gromacki announced that high school standouts Jasmine Antunez, Samantha Galarza, and Melissa Sechrest have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers with the Titans beginning with the 2013 season.
"We are very excited about this incoming class of student-athletes," Gromacki said. "We couldn't be more confident that this recruiting class is one of the best we've had."
California natives Antunez, a 5-4 pitcher/outfielder from Garden Grove, and Galarza, a 5-5 utility player from Moreno Valley, join Arizona native Sechrest, a 5-foot-8, left-handed infielder/outfielder from Peoria, for the 2013 campaign as true freshmen. The complete release from signing day is available here: http://www.fullertontitans.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/111611aae.html