Softball Swings Into "Sin City" for Louisville Slugger Desert Classic

Feb. 15, 2007

FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team makes a return trip to the desert this weekend as the Titans compete at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic hosted by UNLV. Fullerton opens the tournament against Portland State and Hawaii on Friday morning (Feb. 16) at 9 a.m. Play continues with a pair of night games against Seton Hall and Oregon at 6 p.m., and concludes on Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m. against Sacramento State.

IN THE POLLS: Despite going 2-3 last weekend in Arizona, Fullerton continues to receive votes both in the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball coaches polls... Oregon and Hawaii are also both receiving votes this week.

LAST WEEK: In Tempe, pitching and home runs were the story of virtually every game. Fullerton's Katie Gollhardt, Jessica Doucette and Kiki Munoz went "yard" in an opening 5-0 win over Texas Tech as Candice Baker threw a two-hit shutout. A two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning carried Wisconsin to a 4-2 win in the day's second game.

On Saturday the Titans were on the wrong end of home runs. Brooke Weekley made only one big mistake against Northwestern State of Louisiana and a two-run home run beat her, 2-0, despite 11 strikeouts from the senior right-hander. Baker came back with a three-hitter and nine strikeouts vs. Western Michigan but one of them was a three-run homer for a 3-1 Broncos' victory.

On Sunday, Doucette and Gollhardt drove in runs to back another shutout by Baker, who held No. 4-ranked Northwestern to three hits while striking out nine in a 2-0 Titans' victory.

BAKER NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Cal State Fullerton senior Candice Baker was named the Big West Conference's first pitcher of the week for the 2007 season, posting a 2-1 record in Arizona, including a three-hit shutout of \#4 Northwestern. She struck out 28 on the weekend to go with a 1.00 ERA.

RECORD TALK: Baker's 28 strikeouts this past weekend gave her 481 for her career, moving her into sixth place on the school's all-time record list. Next in her sights is Ann Van Dortrecht, who is in fifth place with 516 strikeouts from 1989-91.

CATCH THIS: Junior catcher Kiki Munoz had herself a stellar start to the 2007 season, hitting .467 during last weekend's Kajikawa Classic with a double, home run, and the first stolen base of her career. She also slugged .733 on the weekend and was perfect behind the plate in 48 chances defensively.

"LADY LUCK": Cal State Fullerton will be playing in a tournament in Las Vegas for the fourth time in the history of the program in 2007, posting a 13-5 record in three previous trips: 6-2 in 1986, 4-1 in 2003, and 3-2 in 2006. Last season, the Titans posted wins over \#6 California (1-0), Utah State (8-0), and Notre Dame (9-3) while falling to \#12 Northwestern (5-4) and Brigham Young (5-2).

NEWCOMERS MAKE IMPACT: Transfers Lauren Lupinetti and Jessica Doucette each finished their first weekends as Titans with four hits at the Kajikawa Classic while Doucette slugged her first home run and drove in two runs. Junior Amanda Fernandez appeared in all five games as a pinch runner, stealing a pair of bases.

NO HITS FOR YOU: Candice Baker picked up right where she left off from last season, holding the opposition to just eight hits in the first weekend and a .116 batting average after five games. Baker, who led the Big West in batting average against in 2006 (.194), also tossed a pair of complete-game shutouts - one-third of her entire total for all of last year.

LET'S TURN TWO: Fresh off a 2006 season that saw the Titans turn a Big West Conference best 25 double plays and average 0.41 per game to rank No. 16 in the nation, Fullerton was back at it again last weekend in Arizona as the Titans turned two three times in five games.

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.

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.

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 26 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 24 against San Diego State 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.

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