Seven Games in Five Days for Titans Softball

Feb. 15, 2012

FULLERTON, CA -

THIS WEEK...
UCLA at Cal State Fullerton

Feb. 15, 2012 | 6 p.m.
Fullerton, Calif. | Anderson Family Field
Game Coverage: Gametracker | Live Audio | Live Video

Cal State Fullerton at CSU Bakersfield
Feb. 17, 2012 | 12 & 2 p.m.
Bakersfield, Calif. | Roadrunner Softball Complex
Game Coverage: Live Stats

Cal State Fullerton at Fresno State Round-Robin
Feb. 18-19, 2012
Fresno, Calif. | Bulldog Diamond
Game Coverage:
Feb. 18 vs. Santa Clara, 10:30 a.m.: Gametracker | Live Audio
Feb. 18 vs. Fresno State, 3:30 p.m.: Gametracker | Live Audio
Feb. 19 vs. Santa Clara, 10:30 a.m.: Gametracker | Live Audio
Feb. 19 vs. Fresno State, 1 p.m.: Gametracker | Live Audio

ON DECK: It's a busy week ahead for the Cal State Fullerton softball team (2-3 overall in 2012) as the Titans will play seven games over the next five days beginning on Wednesday night with their home opener against No. 12/8 UCLA at 6 p.m. at Anderson Family Field. Fullerton then hits the road for an extended weekend, travelling to CSU Bakersfield for a doubleheader on Friday (Feb. 17) and then on to Fresno for two days of games against Santa Clara and host Fresno State on Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 18-19) at Bulldog Diamond.

IN THE POLLS: UCLA enters Wednesday's contest ranked No. 12 according to the USA Today/NFCA coaches poll and No. 8 according to the ESPN.com/USA Softball coaches poll. Cal State Fullerton, CSU Bakersfield, Santa Clara, and Fresno State are unranked in this week's polls.

CAN'T MAKE THE TRIP?: Live stats will be available for all seven of the Titans' contests this weekend. Links will be available on the softball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com. Live Video (on a subscription basis) will be available for Wednesday's contest against UCLA only while live streaming audio will be available for the games against the Bruins and all four contests in Fresno. Links to live audio and video can be found by clicking on the icons in the upper right-hand corner of the main page at FullertonTitans.com.

SCOUTING THE BRUINS: UCLA is coming off a blistering 24-2 rout of Southern California rival LMU on Tuesday to improve to 5-0 on the season after opening with four straight wins at its own tournament against Kentucky and Pacific... every Bruins starter had at least two hits against the Lions as they banged out 25 runs on the afternoon... Dani Yudin, who drove in a career-high six runs against LMU and is hitting .643 with two home runs and 14 RBI, leads an offense batting .465 as a team and slugging .781 overall thus far... UCLA has six regulars batting better than .400 on the year... freshman Ally Carda (3-0, 2.33 ERA), sophomore Jessica Hall (1-0, 0.00 ERA), and junior Destiny Rodino (1-0, 2.80 ERA) compose a pitching staff that has held opponents to just seven runs overall and a .127 batting average.

SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS: CSU Bakersfield enters the week with a 1-4 record after opening the year in Las Vegas at the UNLV Sportco Kickoff Classic, posting a win over Weber State while falling to Kent State, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and UNLV... Amy Riccardi leads the offense thus far, batting .471 with two runs scored while Karissa Veiga and Taylor DeSilva lead the team with two RBI apiece... Sarah Hoag (1-4, 6.66 ERA) has started all five contests for the Roadrunners while Marissa Hiller (0-0, 17.65 ERA) has seen action out of the bullpen in four contests.

SCOUTING THE BRONCOS: Santa Clara opened the season 1-5 over the weekend, dropping a single non-conference game at UTEP before going 1-4 at the New Mexico State Encanto Invitational... Alyssa Jepsen is batting .500 with a home run and an RBI while Stephanie Fisher (.471-0-2) and Jamie Wallis (.429-1-1) are also hitting better than .400 on the year... Fisher leads the team with seven runs scored while Brianna Knight is batting .316 with a team-high six RBI... Four different pitchers have seen time in the circle for the Broncos: Briana Rios (0-1, 7.94 ERA), Jessica Turner (0-2, 8.76 ERA), Carissa Theis (1-1, 9.45 ERA), and Jaymi Bautista-Geiger (0-1, 21.13 ERA).

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Fresno State enters the weekend with a 3-2 overall record after having its mid-week match-up against Pacific cancelled due to poor field conditions... The Bulldogs posted wins over Toledo, North Dakota State, and UC Riverside to start the Fresno State Kick-Off, but closed with losses to Sacramento State and Long Beach State in extra innings... senior Katlin Griffin leads the offense with a .364 average, two home runs, and six RBI, while Michelle Moses has added three more home runs... Moses (1-2, 1.17 ERA) leads a staff that has held opponents to a .172 average while Mackenzie Oakes (1-0, 2.03 ERA) and Kiley Shae Aldridge (1-0, 0.00 ERA) have also seen time.

SERIES RECORDS: UCLA leads the all-time series with Cal State Fullerton, 39-32-1, having won the last four straight dating to a 1-0 Titan victory in extra-innings on March 12, 2008... Fullerton is 12-14 against the Bruins at home, having lost nine-straight in Fullerton dating to a 5-1 win in NCAA Regional play on May 17, 1996... the Titans are 2-1 all-time against Bakersfield with all three meetings coming last season... Fullerton posted a 3-0 shutout win in Arizona to open the 2011 season before splitting a doubleheader with a 1-0 win in the opener and a 6-2 (9 inn.) loss in the nightcap at Anderson Family Field... the Titans lead the series with Santa Clara, 4-1, winning the first four meetings in the series before the Broncos posted a 14-9 win in San Jose on March 14, 2010... Fullerton's last win in the series was a 7-0 shutout victory on Feb. 10, 2008... Fresno State leads the series with Cal State Fullerton, 39-31, having won the last three-straight meetings with the Titans dating to a 5-4 Fullerton win in Arizona on Feb. 10, 2006... the Titans are just 9-20 against the Bulldogs in Fresno, having lost 12 of the last 13 visits... Fullerton lost its most recent trip to Fresno State, 2-0, in the 2006 NCAA Regionals and last posted a win at Bulldog Diamond over FSU during the 2002 NCAA Regionals by a 1-0 score.

BLAZING BATS: Cal State Fullerton's offense came out swinging during its season-opening trip to Texas, posting the highest batting average (.292), the most runs scored (24), the highest slugging percentage (.365), and the highest on base percentage (.378) among its Big West Conference brethren following the opening weekend of play. The Titans also led the league with 40 hits (only seven of those going for extra bases) and have four of the Big West's top 10 hitters after one week of action.

SPEED... I AM SPEED: It was an almost perfect weekend for the Titans on the base paths as Fullerton finished 11-for-12 in stolen bases in its first five games, paced by senior Adri Martinez's perfect 5-for-5 showing. Freshman Emily Vizcarra (2-for-2) and junior Ashley Carter (2-for-3) also finished with multiple swipes while redshirt freshman Eliza Crawford and senior Nicole Johnson added one steal apiece.

DON'T BLINK, YOU MIGHT MISS HER: With Martinez's five steals on the weekend, the senior improved to 24-for-32 on the basepaths for her career, standing just one steal shy of breaking into the school's all-time top 10. With her next stolen base, Martinez will move into a tie for 10th alongside Rachel Olvera (1997-01) and Sue Lewis (1981-84) while three more steals will match Tobi Perkins (1980-83) for eighth.

SOMEONE TURNED UP THE A.C.: Junior Ashley Carter had her hitting shoes on in Texas, leading the team (and sharing the league in the Big West Conference) with seven hits in the Titans' five games, finishing the weekend hitting .368 with three runs scored and four RBI - already half of her total (8) from all of 2011. She finished with hits in each of Fullerton's first four games, including a career-high three hits at the top of the order in the first meeting with Colorado State and she added a career-best three RBI in the Titans' win over UTSA. It's a solid start for the junior, who hit a career-high .312 last season with 43 hits and 19 runs scored.

CRAWFORD'S BACK: After playing in only nine games last season before missing the year due to injury, redshirt freshman Eliza Crawford came back in a big way last weekend, batting .400 in Texas with hits in each of the team's last four games after going 0-for-1 and being hit by a pitch in the season opener against the Longhorns. Crawford tied her career high with two hits apiece in games against Colorado State and UTSA while also matching her best with two RBI (as it turns out, the game-winning runs) in the Titans' 13-10 win over the Rams.

VIZCARRA HITS IN BUNCHES: Freshman Emily Vizcarra was thrown directly into the fire to start her collegiate career and she emerged as one of the Titans' most consistent hitters on the weekend. After going 0-for-1 in the opener against Texas, Vizcarra ripped off three-straight two-hit games, including her first career RBI (and game-winner) in a 5-4 walk-off win over UTSA. The rookie finished the weekend sharing the team lead in average (.400) and runs scored (4) while finishing tied for second in hits (6).

MORE CAREER FIRSTS: After spending most of last season as a reserve outfielder and a pinch runner, sophomore Jena Rubio notched her first career hits and RBI last weekend in Texas, finishing the weekend 3-for-11 (.273) including her first multi-hit game with a 2-for-3 effort in the win over Colorado State. She also drove in her first career run against the Rams and added another hit in the finale against UTSA. Junior transfer Tiffany Sheffler also notched her first career hit at the Division I level in the Titans' rematch with Colorado State, slashing a two-run triple against the Rams. Meanwhile, in the circle freshman Desiree Ybarra earned her first career win against Colorado State, striking out a career-high eight in the process.

RUNS APLENTY: Fullerton's 13-run outburst in its 13-10 victory over Colorado State were the most since the Titans downed Long Island, 13-4, on Feb. 27, 2011, while the 14 hits against the Rams were the most since they slugged 17 hits against Pacific in an 8-1 home victory on May 1, 2011.

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 by the conference office. The Titans received 42 points to finish behind defending conference 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.

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