Titans Call on Cal Poly to Open Big West Play
March 29, 2012
FULLERTON, CA -
Cal State Fullerton at Cal Poly
March 31-April 1, 2012
San Luis Obispo, CA | Bob Janssen Field (800)
Game 1: Saturday, March 31, 12 p.m. - Live Stats | Audio | Video
Game 2: Saturday, March 31, 2 p.m. - Live Stats | Audio | Video
Game 3: Sunday, April 1, 12 p.m. - Live Stats | Audio
BATTER UP!: Having not played in 16 days thanks to a combination of scheduling and Mother Nature, a seemingly well-rested Cal State Fullerton softball team (12-16 overall, 0-0 in the Big West Conference) finally returns to the diamond this weekend, opening conference play with a three-game series against Cal Poly on Saturday (March 31) and Sunday (April 1) at Bob Janssen Field in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Saturday's doubleheader begins at 12 p.m. with Sunday's single-game finale also scheduled for noon.
IN THE POLLS: Neither Cal State Fullerton nor Cal Poly are listed among the top 25 polls entering this weekend's contests.
BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF.Athletics), Twitter (@FullertonTitans) and Vimeo.com (vimeo.com/fullertontitans).
I NEED STATS, STAT!: Live stats via Cal Poly's website will be available (barring technical difficulties) for all of Cal State Fullerton's games this week. Please visit the Cal Poly softball schedule page at www.GoPoly.com to access the links.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? GOOD!: Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, select Cal State Fullerton softball contests will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. To access the links, click on the headphones icon in the upper right-hand corner of FullertonTitans.com.
CAN YOU SEE ME NOW? EVEN BETTER!: For the seventh consecutive season, live streaming video for select Cal State Fullerton softball contests will be available (on a subscription basis) live over the Internet courtesy the Big West TV platform. For a monthly subscription of \$9.95 or an annual subscription of \$79.95, fans can catch all the exclusive action from the comfort of their home computers. For more information, please visit www.BigWest.org/TV or access the video player at www.fansonly.com/schools/bigw/allaccess/index.html.
ABOUT CAL POLY: The Mustangs enter the weekend with a 7-20 overall record after falling in a doubleheader to No. 14 UCLA on Tuesday by the scores of 14-0 and 14-5... the losses extended Cal Poly's losing streak to nine consecutive games dating back to a 4-3 win over James Madison on March 10... the Fullerton series is the end of a 10-game homestand for the Mustangs -- their first home games of the year after 26 scheduled games on the road, six of those cancelled due to weather... sophomore IF Kim Westlund leads the offense, batting .338 with two home runs and 19 RBI... Cal Poly is batting .232 as a team... Chloe Wurst (2-10, 5.50) and Jordan Yates (0-4, 9.99) have seen the majority of innings in the circle as of late.
FOR OPENERS (BIG WEST STYLE): Fullerton is 17-9 in Big West Conference opening games, but is just 4-4 in its last eight such contests... the Titans are 11-3 when opening the league schedule at home compared to just 6-6 on the road... since switching to the three-game series format in 1999, Fullerton is 28-11 in 13 conference-opening series, opening against Cal Poly twice in 2008 (swept by the Mustangs) and 2009 (winning two-of-three)... the Titans have also opened conference play against the Mustangs on two other occasions in 1997 and 1998, losing a road doubleheader on both trips in San Luis Obispo.
SERIES HISTORIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Cal Poly, 34-23, ending a four-game losing streak to the Mustangs with a sweep of the regular season series last year by the scores of 3-2, 3-0, and 11-8, in Fullerton... the Titans are just 10-14 on the road against Cal Poly, swept in each of their last two trips to San Luis Obispo in 2008 and 2010... Fullerton's last win on the road against the Mustangs came in 2006, winning the finale of the series, 4-2, while taking two-of-three from Cal Poly... Since the Mustangs joined the Big West Conference in 1996-97, the Titans lead the series, 25-22.
TOOTH AND NAIL: Each of the last 11 meetings between Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly have been decided by three runs or fewer, including four one-run contests and four more decided by just two runs.
LONG TIME NO SEE: Fullerton's 16 days off from competition is its longest stretch without a game since Mother Nature conspired to keep the Titans off the diamond for 19 days in 2005. That season, the Titans fell to then-No. 3 UCLA on Feb. 6 before weather wiped out the Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix, Ariz., the next weekend, holding back Fullerton's return to the field until Feb. 25 against Long Island at the then-Palm Springs Classic (now Cathedral City Classic).
OUR THANKS TO HAWKEYE, PIERCE, AND RADAR: The MASH unit that has been the Cal State Fullerton lineup this season received two huge shots in the arm this week as redshirt sophomore Gabby Aragon and redshirt junior Katey Laban have been cleared to return to the field. Aragon, an all-conference selection as a freshman in 2012 who sat out all of last season due to injury, has missed the first two months of this season with a sore back while Laban, an all-conference honoree a season ago as the team's No. 2 pitcher, was sidelined due to health issues.
SEASON-HIGH HIT PARADE NOT ENOUGH: Cal State Fullerton matched its season high with 15 hits against Purdue in its last outing (also vs. Santa Clara on Feb. 18), but it wasn't enough for the Titans, who fell to the Boilermakers, 8-6. It was the most hits in a loss for Fullerton since May 15, 1999, when the Titans finished with 16 hits in a, 7-5, 12-inning defeat to Pacific. The hit parade against Purdue also marked the fourth game with double-digit hits in its last eight and was a stark contrast to the Titans' last four losses when they finished with seven hits COMBINED in those contests.
ONLY EVENS? THAT'S ODD: Cal State Fullerton's trouble this season has, apparently, been the even-numbered innings as the Titans have been outscored in the 2nd (33-9), 4th (44-18), and 6th (12-11) frames while outscoring the opposition in the 1st (24-23), 3rd (29-26), and 5th (27-25). The only wrench thrown into this whole note happens in the seventh, when opponents have outscored Fullerton, 17-6, but the Titans have outscored their foes, 4-1, in the eighth.
VIZCARRA SWINGING SWEETLY: Freshman Emily Vizcarra was one of the team's hitting starts in the Titans' only two games of the rain-shortened Judi Garman Classic, finishing 4-for-5 at the plate, including her second, three-hit game of the season against Purdue. With the performance, Vizcarra, who is hitting .625 (5-for-8) with three runs scored and three RBI over her last three games, raised her overall average 37 points to .291 this season -- good for fifth on the team entering the week.
MISS DO-IT-ALL: And we mean that almost literally. The Titans' ailing pitching staff has received a huge boost as freshman lefthander Desiree Ybarra, who has pitched nearly every out of every inning over the last 10 games, including nine starts and the last seven-in-a-row. She has posted a 5-5 record with a 5.12 ERA in that span, pitching all but 11 2/3 innings, and collecting 32 of her team-best 55 strikeouts in those 10 appearances with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly 3-to-1. Ybarra has gone the distance in four of the nine starts, including posting her first career shutout against Charleston Southern on March 9 and tied a career high with eight strikeouts against East Carolina on March 6.
"FASTER THAN FAST, QUICKER THAN QUICK": She is speed. Thrown out in her only steal attempt last week, senior Adriana Martinez remains tied for seventh with Heidi Robertson (1995) on the school's single-season list at 15-for-17 overall on the season with just 12 more steals ahead of her to match Jstone Vines' record of 27 set in 1994. The 15 stolen bases, aside from being a career high, are the most for a Titan since Julie Watson stole 18 bags in 2004 and give Martinez 34 for her career -- just three back of Chenita Rogers (1986-87) for third. The career record is held by Jstone Vines (1991-94) with 59 swipes.
SPEAKING OF SPEED: Martinez isn't the only one burning up the basepaths this season as the Titans rank second in the Big West Conference with 34 stolen bases as a team -- already surpassing last season's 47-game total (32) and standing one swipe shy of the team's total from 2010 (35). Two more steals this week would give Fullerton it's highest stolen base total since 2007 when the Titans stole 48 bases.
LET'S TURN TWO: Twin killings at the hands of the Titans' defense have been happening often in 2012 as Fullerton leads the Big West Conference (and stands tied for ninth in the NCAA) with 14 double plays entering this week's contests while also ranking No. 11 in the nation this week at 0.50 double plays per game.
FEELING THE GLOVE: After a rocky start defensively that saw the Titans commit an error in each of their first eight contests (and 15 of their first 18 overall), the Fullerton defense has pulled itself together as of late, committing just one error in the last 23 2/3 innings (93 chances) for a .989 fielding percentage over the last four games. The consistency also extends back even further, posting a .972 fielding percentage in 282 chances over the last 10 contests, including six games of errorless softball.
ADRI ADEPT WITH THE STICK: Since sinking to a season-low .214 average on March 3, the coming of Spring has been beneficial for senior Adriana Martinez, who has been heating things up at the plate for the Titans over the last eight games. During that span, Martinez is batting a robust .480 (12-for-25) at the dish with seven runs scored, three RBI, and four multi-hit contests - including a career high-tying three hits twice against Michigan State (March 9) and Purdue (March 14). In the process, Martinez has raised her overall average 82 points to .296 on the year -- good for fourth among regulars in the Fullerton lineup.
THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE: When she's not getting on base or swiping a bag, Martinez has been there to help out her teammates, leading the team and tying for second in the Big West with seven sacrifice hits this season. She has also successfully advanced 28 runners in 50 opportunities this season (56 percent) -- the second-best mark on the team behind Eliza Crawford's 31 in 53 attempts.
GET HER ON, GET HER IN: Aside from her 25 hits this season (which rank second on the team), redshirt freshman Eliza Crawford has simply found a way to get on base, leading the team and ranking sixth in the Big West with a .432 on base percentage, helped out by 11 walks (tied for 10th in the league) and five hit by pitches (tied for second in the league). That has paid big dividends for the Titans as she has scored 16 runs -- one of three Fullerton players in the Big West's top 10 and tied for ninth overall.
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 this week's games with 40 career hit by pitches across her first three-plus 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 seven more bruises to tie Amanda Hockett (2000-03) for second place and 16 more HBPs to match Crystal Vieyra's school record of 56 accumulated from 2005-08.
IRON WOMEN: Outfielders Ashley Carter and Leesa Harris along with infielders Emily Vizcarra and Adriana Martinez are the only four Titans to start all 28 games at the same position on defense this season, but Carter is the only player to hold on to her same spot in the batting order, hitting leadoff in all 28 contests.
WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: Seven different Titans have tallied game-winning hits this season, led by two each from Eliza Crawford and Anissa Young, while six different players have come around to score the game-winning run, paced by table-setter Ashley Carter with four.
A.C. A CHILLING SIGHT FOR OPPOSING PITCHERS: Junior Ashley Carter has picked up right where she left off as a sophomore, building off her career year in 2011 and entering the week's contests with a team-high 35 hits, good for third in the Big West Conference and just eight hits shy of her career-high 43 hits from a year ago. Her 18 runs scored rank tied for sixth in the league and she stands third in the Big West with a .365 average through 28 games. Carter, who led the team with 16 multi-hit games last season en route to a career-best .312 average, leads the team in that category once again in 2012 with seven, two-hit games and a trio of career-high three-hit performances against Colorado State (Feb. 10), Bakersfield (Feb. 17), and Utah State (March 11).
HOME IS WHERE THE POWER IS: After slugging just two home runs over its first 16 games, Cal State Fullerton's bats have been "plugged in" since its return home to Anderson Family Field. The Titans have hit eight home runs in their last 11 games, seven of those coming within the friendly confines, including a three-home run game against Michigan State on March 4 -- the most for the Titans in a single game since they slugged four round-trippers against UC Santa Barbara on April 2, 2010.
WALK WHICH WAY?: Cal State Fullerton's offense was held to without a walk in its last outing against Purdue on March 14, marking only the second time in 28 games that the Titan batters failed to draw a base on balls this season (vs. Michigan State on March 4). Fullerton, which drew a season-high seven walks against the Spartans on March 9 (the most since the Titans were walked eight times at UC Davis on April 22, 2011), enters the first weekend of Big West Conference play ranked third in the league in the category with 73 walks overall.
TRIPLE THE FUN: Johnson's triple against Boise State on Feb. 23 was the seventh three-bagger of her career, moving her into a five-way tie for seventh place on the school's career list alongside Missy Coombes (1987-90), Candice Baker (2004-07), Courtney Martinez (2006-09), and Sheila Holguin (2007-10). However, the senior does have some work to do to catch career leader Sue Lewis, who legged-out 20 career triples from 1981-84. Three more triples for Johnson, who slugged a career-best four triples in 2010, this season would make her only the fourth Titan with double digits in the category, joining Lewis, Terri Oberg (16 from 1985-86), and Rose Garces (10 from 1992-95).