Titans Welcome Nation's Top Team For 2007 Home Opener

Feb. 20, 2007

FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team (5-5 overall) opens its 2007 home schedule on Wednesday night (Feb. 21) as the Titans welcome the top-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols to Anderson Family Field for a single game at 6 p.m.

The match-up preceeds Fullerton's final road tournament appearance of the season this weekend as the Titans travel to the Palm Springs Classic hosted by Oregon State that runs Friday (Feb. 23) through Sunday (Feb. 25) at the Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City, Calif.

IN THE POLLS: Fullerton continued to receive votes (2) in this weeks ESPN.com/USA Softball poll while Tennessee is the top-ranked team in the land for the second consecutive week. The USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll also has the Titans receiving votes (15) and also has the Lady Vols atop the poll in the No. 1 spot for the second week in a row with 28 first-place votes.

SERIES RECORDS: Cal State Fullerton has won all three previous meetings with Tennessee, including a high-scoring doubleheader sweep of the Lady Vols in 1997 (8-4 and 11-8 in Fullerton) and a win at the NCAA Regionals in 1999 in Seattle, Wash., by a 12-1 count in five innings

A LOOK AT THE LADY VOLS: Tennessee enters the week with a perfect 9-0 record and is hitting .386 as a team, led by Jennifer Griffin's .667 batting average... Player of the Year candidate Monica Abbott has been nothing short of stellar in the circle, posting a 7-0 record and allowing only an unearned run on three hits in 39 innings while striking out 100 and holding opponents to an .024 batting average... Six Tennessee players are hitting better than .400 on the season thus far, with two more hitting better than .340 through nine games... The Lady Vols have outscored the opposition, 71-5, and have stolen 22 bases in 25 attempts.

DOUCETTE EARNS BIG WEST WEEKLY HONORS: Cal State Fullerton junior Jessica Doucette was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week after a scintillating weekend at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic hosted by UNLV in Las Vegas, Nev.

Doucette hit .562 (9-for-16) over the weekend from the leadoff spot, including four doubles and six runs scored and extended her team-best hitting streak to seven consecutive games in the process.

She opened the tournament with her first three-hit game of the year against Portland State, including a pair of doubles and an RBI during the Titans' game-tying two-run fifth inning.

Doucette scored three runs in a game twice on the weekend against Seton Hall and Sacramento State while leading the team in average, hits, doubles, and co-leading the team in runs scored. She slugged .813 on the weekend and amassed a .611 on base percentage.

RECORD TALK: Senior Candice Baker is rapidly making her way up the career strikeout charts as her 25 K's last weekend in Las Vegas gave her 506 for her career - putting her just 10 strikeouts shy of Ann Van Dortrecht, who had 516 strikeouts from 1989-91, in fifth place.

BATS HEATING UP: The desert heat in Las Vegas had an effect on Fullerton's bats last weekend as the Titans hit .343 as a team (over 100 points better than their .242 team average in their first week at the Kajikawa Classic) and slugged 20 extra base hits - including six home runs. Overall, Fullerton's performance in Las Vegas raised its overall team average to .293 this season - an increase of 51 points from the first weekend of play.

HOLDING "COURT": Sophomore Courtney Martinez put on a slugging display in Las Vegas over the weekend as the second-year Titan hit .385 on the weekend with four of her five hits going for extra bases - including a pair of home runs - while knocking in a team-best seven runs. She slugged 1.077 for the weekend and shared the team lead with six runs scored.

"DOUCE" EARNS A DEUCE: Along with her explosive weekend at the plate, Jessica Doucette earned her first two pitching victories of her Titan career in Las Vegas, posting complete-game wins over Hawaii and Seton Hall. She struck out 11 batters in her two starts while holding the opposition to a .214 batting average.

INSIDE INFO?: Cal State Fullerton may have an ace in the hole in Wednesday night's contest with Tennessee in former Georgia Bulldog Jessica Doucette. Doucette, who played in the SEC for two seasons against the Lady Vols, saw some success at the plate against "Rocky Top," hitting .316 in seven career games against Tennessee with three runs scored, a double, a home run, and four RBI.

SHOW ME SOME GLOVE: The Titans' defense has been stellar to start the 2007 season as Fullerton has committed only four errors in 256 chances for a .984 fielding percentage. This after a 2006 season that saw Cal State Fullerton post the best fielding percentage in school history (.972) and the fewest errors in a season (49).

HOLGUIN MAKES HER DEBUT: Cal State Fullerton freshman infielder Sheila Holguin made her first collegiate start on Saturday as the Titans defeated Seton Hall and made it a memorable one as she collected her first career hit with a single to rightfield during a six-run fourth inning. The next day against Sacramento State, Holguin notched her first career double in the second and scored her first career run in the fourth after drawing a lead-off walk.

NO HITS FOR YOU: Candice Baker has picked up right where she left off from last season, holding the opposition to just 18 hits and a .146 batting average in six starts this season to lead the Big West Conference. Baker also leads the league in strikeouts and ranks second in ERA and innings pitched.

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 is back at it as the Titans have turned five double plays this season to lead the leagueº.

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 23 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 27 in a doubleheader at Loyola Marymount.

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.