April 3, 2008
FULLERTON, CA - After a less-than-perfect start to Big West Conference play last weekend, the Cal State Fullerton softball team (16-18-1 overall, 0-3 in the Big West) returns home looking to snap its longest losing streak of the season. The Titans will welcome another struggling squad in UC Riverside to Anderson Family Field for a three-game series beginning on Saturday (April 5) with a doubleheader at 12 p.m. before Sunday's single-game finale, also at 12 p.m.
I NEED STATS, STAT: Gametracker live stats will be available for all three games of the weekend series. Links will be available at FullertonTitans.com.
I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW: Live streaming Internet video courtesy of Big West TV will be available on a subscription basis for all three games of this weekend's series against UC Riverside. For more information, or to sign up, please visit www.BigWest.org/TV.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: Due to scheduling conflicts, only audio for Sunday's single game series finale against UC Riverside will be broadcast. Access the links at FullertonTitans.com.
IN THE POLLS: Neither Cal State Fullerton nor UC Riverside are listed in this week's national polls.
SERIES RECORDS: Cal State Fullerton has won 21 of the 22 all-time meetings with UC Riverside dating back to 1985, winning the last 10 consecutive games dating back to 2004... Fullerton is 10-1 all-time at home against the Highlanders, winning four in a row at Anderson Family Field... Fullerton swept the season series from UCR in 2007 by the scores of 15-7, 2-0, and 4-1 in Riverside and has swept the last three series dating back to 2005, outscoring the Highlanders by a 53-20 count in that span.
SCOUTING THE HIGHLANDERS: UC Riverside enters the week with a 14-22 overall record and an 0-3 mark in conference play after being swept by UC Santa Barbara to open its league schedule... After last weekend against the Gauchos, the Highlanders have lost their last 25 consecutive Big West games dating back to 2006 following an April 22 win at Long Beach State by the score of 3-1... Marissa Alvidrez leads the team and the Big West Conference with a .462 average to go with eight home runs and 29 RBI... Four pitchers have seen action for UCR, but Stephanie Marshall (2-9, 3.20 ERA in 12 starts) and Christin Songer (5-5, 4.13 ERA in 13 starts) have received the majority of the starts.
HOME SWEET HOME: The weekend series against UC Riverside starts a stretch of seven straight games at Anderson Family Field for the Titans which also includes games against Loyola Marymount and UC Davis. Fullerton is one of only two schools with 10 wins at home in the Big West this season, entering the week with a 10-6 mark on its home turf.
TOPPING NAMED ALTERNATE: Former Cal State Fullerton All-American Jenny Topping was named as one of three alternates to the 2008 United States Olympic Team that will compete in Beijing in August. Topping, a member of the 2004 gold medal-winning squad, was joined by pitchers Lisa Fernandez and Alicia Hollowell on the reserve list as Head Coach Mike Candrea revealed his list of 15 players that will defend the USA's three consecutive gold medals in China on August 12. For more information, please visit USASoftball.org.
LET'S PLAY FOUR: The Titans and Mustangs technically only played three games last weekend, but the players may beg to differ. The two teams battled through 14 innings in the second game of last Saturday's doubleheader - the longest game of the year for Fullerton and the program's longest since a 16-inning game at Cal State Northridge on April 24, 1999.
ANYONE NEED ICE?: Senior Jessica Doucette might. The Titans' right-hander threw all 13 2/3 innings of that 14-inning marathon against Cal Poly before the Mustangs struck for the winning run. She became the second Fullerton hurler to throw that many innings in as many seasons after Brooke Weekley tossed all 13 innings of a 3-1 win over UC Davis on April 28 last season. Doucette's performance marked the most innings by a Titan pitcher in a single game since that 16-inning Northridge contest when Jana Oetgen tossed 15 1/3 innings before the Matadors struck for two runs to end the game.
TOUGH WEEK: Despite not being able to pick up a win in the circle against the depending conference champions, Doucette had herself a mighty fine week stats wise, posting a 0.71 ERA in 19 2/3 innings pitched, allowing just two earned runs and striking out 11 while holding Cal Poly to a .125 batting average (8-for-64).
STILL STINGY WITH THE HITS: Fullerton's pitching staff's batting average against dropped another three points following last weekend's series against Cal Poly, dropping down to .232 and continue to rank second in the league. With her stellar performances in the circle, Jessica Doucette's average against fell to .197 on the year - making her one of only two pitchers in the league to hold opponents to lower than a .200 average.
VIEYRA'S GREATEST HITS: Senior Crystal Vieyra was hit by a pitch twice this past weekend against Cal Poly giving her four for the season and 47 for her career - tying Amanda Hockett's record set in 2003 and moving her into a tie for fifth place on the NCAA's career list. Vieyra, who led the nation with 17 HBPs as a freshman in 2005 and finished fourth in the country with 19 as a sophomore, stands 15 HBPs shy of matching the NCAA record held by Liberty's Cheryl Wyrick, but just seven plunks shy of Purdue's Tricia Lilley and Centenary's Michelle Reeve for second place.
MUNOZ MAKES IT LOOK EASY: Senior Kiki Munoz continued her torrid hitting last weekend on the central coast, hitting a team-best .364 with her Big West-leading 13th double of the season. Leading the squad with 13 multiple-hit games on the year, Munoz has two-or-more hits in six of her last nine games, hitting .467 (14-for-30) in that stretch with four doubles and two runs scored. Her .414 average this season has Munoz ranked No. 39 in the NCAA in batting average - one of four Big West players to be nationally ranked.
BEST YET TO COME?: Hitting better than .400 prior to Big West play, Munoz may be in store for an even bigger season if she can duplicate last year's efforts against Big West pitching. The senior hit .510 (26-for-51) with a pair of home runs and 13 RBI in conference play in 2007 with hits in all but four of the 18 games. Munoz could get off to a big start this weekend against UCR, against which she went 6-for-11 (.545) last year.
CRADDICK CRANKS IT UP: Freshman K.C. Craddick had herself a solid weekend in San Luis Obispo, going 3-for-6 at the plate against Cal Poly, including the first multiple hit game of her career with a 2-for-3 effort in the finale. She also added a walk and a sacrifice in the Titans' 14-inning loss.
DOUBLES TROUBLE: With the season half gone, the Titans are just past halfway to the school record of 99 doubles set in 1999. Smacking four doubles this past weekend brought Fullerton to 53 two-baggers on the season which leads the Big West Conference by six over second-place Long Beach State. The Titans also rank No. 29 in the nation with 1.51 doubles per game entering this weekend's games.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: A diverse Titans offense has seen seven different players drive in 10 or more runs thus far this season and a similar group of seven score 10 or more times in 2008. Between the two groups, only Sheila Holguin (16 runs, nine RBI) and Jenna Wheeler (nine runs, 10 RBI) haven't yet reached double digits in both categories this season.
PITCHER'S BEST FRIEND: Cal State Fullerton's defense has turned 12 double plays this season - a total that ranks second in the Big West Conference. The Titans' 0.34 double plays per game also ranks No. 47 nationally.
UNDER PRESSURE: Freshman right-hander Christine Hiner has been thrown into the fire against some of the nation's best teams in her rookie campaign, as eight of her 16 starts (and nine of her 17 appearances overall) have come against teams ranked in the top 25.
NOT YOUR RANK AND FILE SCHEDULE: Cal State Fullerton has played 14 games this season against opponents ranked in the top 25 - the most of any other Big West Conference school this season. However, the Titans have posted just a 3-10-1 record against those squad with the three wins coming against a trio of top-10 foes: No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 2 UCLA, and No. 7 Arizona.