Feb. 24, 2009
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team (5-6 overall) opens an extended homestand on Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 25), as the Titans host nationally-ranked UCLA in a battle of Southern California rivals at 4 p.m. at Anderson Family Field.
Fullerton is coming off a rough weekend in the desert, going 2-3 at the prestigious Cathedral City Classic hosted by Oregon State. The Titans posted come-from-behind victories over NC State (9-6) and Nebraska (4-2) while falling to No. 20 North Carolina (5-0), Long Island (5-1), and Mississippi (3-0).
IN THE POLLS: The Bruins are ranked as No. 3 in the nation according to this week's ESPN.com/USA Softball coaches poll... UCLA also stands at No. 4 in the nation according to the USA Today/NFCA coaches poll... Cal State Fullerton is unranked this week.
I NEED STATS, STAT!: Barring technical difficulties (insert sound of knocking on wood here), Gametracker will be available for Wednesday night's clash with the Bruins from Anderson Family Field. Links are available on the softball schedule page of FullertonTitans.com.
SCOUTING THE BRUINS: UCLA enters the week with a 13-2 overall record having won its last eight straight contests, including a perfect 5-0 mark at the Cathedral City Classic last weekend, posting wins over \#1 Alabama (4-1), \#15 Massachusetts (4-2), NC State (12-1), Maryland (5-0), and \#14 Fresno State (10-2)... Sophomore Katie Schroeder his hitting a robust .457 to lead the Bruins offensively to go along with seven home runs and 14 RBI... UCLA is hitting .338 as a team, outscoring opponents 121-45, and slugging 32 home runs on the season... Megan Langenfeld (3-0, 1.09), Whitney Baker (4-0, 2.26), and Donna Kerr (6-2, 3.32) comprise a potent pitching staff that has held the opposition to a .192 batting average through 15 games this season.
THE SERIES: UCLA leads the all-time series with Cal State Fullerton, 36-32-1... The Titans claimed a 1-0 victory in eight innings during the 2008 regular season with the Bruins getting their revenge with an 8-3 win in the opening game of last year's NCAA Tournament... UCLA has won seven of the last 10 meetings dating back to the 2005 season... Fullerton, which is 12-13 all-time at home against the Bruins, hasn't defeated UCLA on its home field since a 5-1 win on May 17, 1996, in the opening game of the NCAA Regionals - a streak of eight straight.
YOU'RE THE BEST... AROUND: Cal State Fullerton's young roster will be thrown directly into the fire during the 2009 season as the Titans' schedule features 10 teams ranked in the USA Today/NFCA preseason top 25 and seven more teams listed among those receiving votes. Wednesday's game against UCLA will mark the third top 25 opponent for the Titans this season as they look to improve on an 0-2 record after losses to \#20 North Carolina and \#13 Northwestern.
ON DECK...: Following Wednesday's game against UCLA, Cal State Fullerton welcomes nine other teams to Southern California for the 2009 DeMarini Invitational at Anderson Family Field. The Titans will play four games during the three-day event, meeting \#11 California, Minnesota, Auburn, and \#5 Stanford. The complete schedule is available by clicking here.
TITANS PICKED SECOND IN THE BIG WEST: Cal State Fullerton was picked to finish second in the race for the 2009 Big West Conference title according to a vote of the league's head coaches released on Jan. 21. The Titans received 49 points behind defending champion Long Beach State, which garnered seven of the eight first-place votes and 63 points overall. UC Santa Barbara, which gained the remaining first-place vote, and Cal Poly were picked in a tie for third with 45 points followed by Pacific (28), UC Davis (26), Cal State Northridge (21), and UC Riverside (11).
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Cal State Fullerton returns seven letter winners, four position starters and one pitcher from last season's squad which finished 27-28-1 overall and 11-10 in conference play, but earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the 24th time in 27 seasons. The Titans also welcome 10 newcomers to the fold - seven freshmen and a pair of transfers from nearby Mt. San Antonio College. Senior catcher Lauren Lupinetti is the team's top returning bat a season after hitting .282 with seven home runs and 33 RBI - the latter two statistics leading the team in 2008. Sophomore right-hander Ari Cervantes is the only returning pitcher for the Titans after she threw 26.2 innings and posted an 0-1 record in 11 appearances.
HELLO, MY NAME IS...: You can't tell the players without a scorecard and some fans may be asking them to wear name tags until they can get everyone straight. Fullerton's 10 newcomers are the most since the team listed 12 new faces on the roster prior to the 2005 campaign.