Busy Weekend Ahead With Three Teams on Deck

March 25, 2011

FULLERTON, CA -

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PLAY BALL: A nine-game homestand to close out non-conference play comes to an end this weekend as the Titans host three teams for five games at Anderson Family Field. The schedule kicks off with a triple-header on Saturday (March 26) as Ohio and Canisius College face-off at noon before Fullerton takes on the Bobcats and Golden Griffins in back-to-back tilts beginning at 2:30 p.m. Sunday (March 27) then sees Cal State Bakersfield travel south for a doubleheader at noon.

IN THE POLLS: Neither the Titans nor their opponents are listen in either the USA Today/NFCA or ESPN.com/USA Softball national coaches polls this week.

I NEED STATS, STAT!: Once again in 2011, live in-game statistics via CBS College Sports' Gametracker will be available for all Cal State Fullerton home games and selected road contests this season (barring technical difficulties). Fans can access the links from the softball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.

I SEE YOU!: For the sixth consecutive season, fans can watch live streaming video over the Internet thanks to a partnership between the Big West Conference and CBS College Sports. Live video streaming of selected Cal State Fullerton softball home and road contests will be available on a subscription basis and can be accessed by visiting www.BigWest.org/TV. A monthly subscription of \$9.95 or an annual subscription of \$79.95 delivers exclusive coverage of every home and conference women's volleyball and men's and women's basketball contests along with selected men's and women's soccer, baseball, softball, and Big West championships.

"CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?": Live streaming audio for Wednesday's game against UCLA from Anderson Family Field will be broadcast live thanks to Stretch Internet (www.stretchinternet.com). Veteran Cal State Fullerton play-by-play man, Mike Martinez, will have the call from Fullerton for Sunday's doubleheader against Cal state Bakersfield only. Links to the broadcasts can be accessed by clicking on the headphones icon in the upper right-hand corner of FullertonTitans.com.

ABOUT OHIO: The Bobcats enter the weekend with a 10-12 overall record and are in the midst of a 10-game West Coast road swing that has seen them post a 2-6 record thus far following a 9-1 loss to UCLA in five innings on Thursday... Ohio finished 2-3 at the San Diego Classic II last weekend before being swept in a doubleheader at Long Beach State by the scores of 3-0 and 6-4 on Wednesday... Senior Melissa Bonner leads the team with a .350 average to go along with four doubles, a triple, a home run, and seven RBI... Lauren Gellerman leads the team with five doubles, four home runs and 15 RBI while hitting .278 on the year... the Bobcats are hitting .251 as a team and have swiped 29 bases in 35 attempts led by Jillian Van Wagnen's perfect 10-for-10 on the season... Ohio is hitting .251 as a team... Emily Wethington leads Ohio in the circle, posting an 8-4 record and a 4.03 ERA, going the distance in 12 starts while striking out 74 in 76 innings and holding opponents to a .254 average this season.

ABOUT CANISIUS: The Golden Griffins enter the weekend with a 10-6 overall record heading into a Friday doubleheader with Long Beach State... Canisius is also in the middle of an extended West Coast trip, playing an 11-game stretch that began last weekend in Los Angeles at the Marina International Hotel Showcase hosted by LMU... the Golden Griffins then split a doubleheader with UC Riverside and fell to the Lions, 14-0, in five innings on Wednesday (March 23)... Lauren Falzone leads all regulars with a .410 average, helping Canisius to a .307 average as a team... Five regulars are hitting better than .300 on the season with Stephanie Pfentner posting a team-best three home runs and 11 RBI... Amanda Baun leads the way in the circle, posting a 5-2 record with a 4.20 ERA and a .256 average against.

ABOUT CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD: The Roadrunners enter the weekend with a 6-16 overall record, having lost four straight and five of their last six, including doubleheader sweeps at the hands of Pacific (10-9 in 10 innings and 11-0 in five innings) and No. 6 Washington (8-0 in six and 9-0 in five innings)... Jamie Miller leads the team offensively, batting .297 overall with a home run and seven RBI... Amy Ricciardi leads the team with eight runs batted in this season... Sammy Rodriguez has seen the majority of starts in the circle this season, posting a 3-8 overall record with a 5.04 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings... Alyssa Walker (2-3, 4.83) and Sarah Hoag (1-5, 6.33) have also seen significant innings this season.

SERIES NOTES: Cal State Fullerton will be facing three rarely seen opponents this weekend as the Titans will be meeting Ohio and Cal State Bakersfield for only the second (and, in the Roadrunners' case, also the third) time in the program's illustrious history while they will be facing Canisius for only the third time... Fullerton won its only meeting with Ohio by a 10-0 score in five innings way back at the 1996 Pony Tournament... the Titans' only win over Cal State Bakersfield came earlier this year as they shutout the Roadrunners, 3-0, behind an Ari Cervantes two-hitter at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe... the Titans defeated the Golden Griffins, 14-0, in five innings back at the 1998 Kia Klassic and outscored Canisius, 8-0, in five innings in an elimination game at the 2007 NCAA Regionals in Columbus, OH.

CURSE YOU, RAIN GODS: Sunday's Judi Garman Classic finale against Boise State was washed away by Mother Nature after an inning and an out, marking the second time this season the Titans have been washed out and the third time they have been denied a game after their contest against BYU at the Long Beach Marriott Invitational was cancelled because of "darkness" after a city ordinance required the lights to be turned off at Mayfair Park at 11 p.m.

"TOOCH" THEM ALL: Sophomore Ariel Tsuchiyama (pronounced TOO-chee-YA-muh) cranked the first home run of her collegiate career in the Titans' tournament opener against Notre Dame last week, lining a shot over the wall in right as part of a six-run third inning en route to Fullerton's 10-0 shutout win. It completed the "season cycle" for Tsuchiyama, who entered the game with a pair of double against Iowa and a triple against Utah State on the year. She joined freshman Lauren Mario as the only Titans to "hit for the cycle" for the year.

LUCK OF THE IRISH: The Cal State Fullerton offense kicked-off the Judi Garman Classic in stunning fashion, rapping out a season-high 14 hits in a 10-0 run-rule win over Notre Dame. In station-to-station fashion, 12 of the team's 14 hits were singles as Nicole Johnson (double) and Ariel Tsuchiyama (home run) tallied the team's only extra-base hits. The 10 runs marked only the second time this season that the Titans have reached double figures in that category (13 vs. Long Island on Feb. 27) and the 14 hits were the most for Fullerton since April 2 against UC Santa Barbara when the Titans finished with 16 hits in a 12-3 victory.

ARI'S LUCKY SEVEN: Senior right-hander Ari Cervantes earned her seventh win of the year last week against Notre Dame, combining with teammate Aly Fascetti on a three-hitter, and surpassing her win total from her entire junior season when she finished 6-19 overall in the circle. It's just one sign of improvement from a troubling season for Cervantes, who entered the week ranked third in the Big West in ERA (2.72), seventh in opponent's batting average (.256), first in innings pitched (100.1), seventh in strikeouts (56), and tied for fourth in wins.

DEFENSE IMPROVING: Since tying a season high with five errors in game two of a doubleheader against Troy, the Titans' defense has slowly been improving, posting a .973 fielding percentage over the last six games with just five errors in 185 chances. Overall, Fullerton is seventh in the league in fielding percentage entering this week despite ranking tied for fourth in the fewest errors committed this season and the Titans rank tied for second with eight double plays turned.

HARRIS PICKING UP STEAM: Speedy freshman Leesa Harris has found her groove at the plate over the last two weeks, collecting five of her six hits on the year over the team's last seven games, batting .500 (5-for-10) with a pair of runs scored, three walks, and four stolen bases over that span. Harris has a .556 on base percentage in limited plate appearances this season, which is tops on the team, and is a perfect 4-for-4 in steals in 2011.

WALK THIS WAY: Cal State Fullerton tied a season high with seven walks in its 5-2 loss to No. 5 Michigan last week at the Judi Garman Classic, but struggled to make the Wolverines pay, stranding six of those free passes on base. Overall the Titans walked 12 times on the weekend, boosting their season total to 57 in 2011 to move into a tie for fifth in the Big West. Sophomore Ariel Tsuchiyama was the biggest beneficiary of the wildness of opposing pitchers last week, doubling her season total to date with three free passes, but freshman Lauren Mario, who walked twice at the Judi Garman Classic, upped her team-leading total to 11 this season, moving her into a tie for eighth in the Big West entering this week's contests.

NOTHING FOR FREE: Opponents have made the Titans work for their runs off free passes this season as, of the team's 57 walks this season, only 15 have come around to score (26 percent) while over half (22) of the remaining 42 left on base have been stranded in scoring position.

MAYBE IT'S THE NEW FENCE?: The outfield fences at Anderson Family Field, literally, underwent a lift in the off season, raised to a height of six feet from their previous four feet that had been the norm since the field was redone prior to 2001. Whether or not that's the reason for the Titans' power struggles this season, Fullerton's lineup that led the Big West with 36 home runs a season ago has struggled to the tune of eight long balls in its first 22 games this season compared to 13 home runs at this point in 2010. The good news? Those fences may not have had as much of an effect as we thought as six of the team's eight home runs this season have come at home compared to just four of the 13 hit in the first 22 games last season.

SETTING THE TABLE: Cal State Fullerton's leadoff hitters have done a solid job getting things started this season, reaching base 41 percent (57 times in 140 opportunities) of the time, compared to just 30 percent (45-for-150) for the opposition. Freshman Lauren Mario has led the way for the Titans' offense, reaching base as the lead-off hitter in 12-of-19 attempts (.632) and is followed closely by a very patient K.C. Craddick, who has reached in 11-of-18 opportunities (.611) this season.

PERFECT SEVEN: Senior Sammie Dabbs dabbles in speed. The Titans' outfielder is a perfect 7-for-7 in stolen bases this season, ranking in a tie for second in the conference entering the week and standing just five steals shy of breaking into the school's single-season top 10 (Elise King, Jstone Vines, and Tobi Perkins all stand in a tie for 10th with 12 steals). She has been thrown out trying to steal just once in her four seasons and her 14 career steals are 11 shy of breaking into the career top 10 at Cal State Fullerton.

"FASTER THAN FAST, QUICKER THAN QUICK": They are speed. Cal State Fullerton enters the weekend with 20 stolen bases in 22 games thus far this season, well-ahead of last year's pace that didn't see the Titans swipe their 20th base until game 31 against DePaul on March 23. Fullerton enters the week ranked tid for fourth in the Big West Conference in steals and has seven players with at least one stolen base this season.

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: Talk about timing. Six different players have driven home the game-winning run for the Titans this season, including a pair from senior K.C. Craddick, while five different players have also come around to score game-winning runs, including two apiece from junior Nicole Johnson and freshmen Lauren Mario and Jena Rubio.

AND THE HITS (BY PITCH) JUST KEEP ON COMING: Two more bruises for junior Nicole Johnson and a jump of two more spots on the career list for the Canyon Country native. Johnson, plunked soundly in games against Notre Dame and Illinois last weekend, now ranks tied for third on the school's all-time list with 30 HBPs, matching Courtney Martinez (2006-09) for the spot and standing 17 shy of Amanda Hockett for No. 2 all time. Johnson leads the team, and stands second in the Big West, with eight HBPs this season - standing just four shy of entering Fullerton's single-season chart for a second time. Crystal Vieyra (2005-08) holds the school's career record, and stands fourth in the NCAA all time, with 56 HBPs during her stay at Cal State Fullerton while Hockett holds the single-season record at 20 in 2002.

GET `EM ON, GET `EM OVER: Sophomore Ashley Carter has shown she is the ultimate team player at the top of the Titans' lineup this season, moving runners up into scoring position with a Big West Conference-best nine sacrifice hits thus far this season - almost halfway to breaking into the school's top 10 in the category for a single season. She has two games with a pair of sacrifice hits and has at least one sacrifice in four of her last eight games. It's just one part of a big offensive year for Carter, who is batting .291 overall (better than 110 points higher than her .180 average as a freshman) with a double, two triples, and three RBI.