April 5, 2010
FULLERTON, CA - Cal State Fullerton junior Ari Cervantes parlayed her stellar efforts in the circle and at the plate to this week's Big West Conference Player of the Week award the league office announced on Monday afternoon.
Cervantes becomes the second Titan so honored this season, joining teammate Trina Harrison, who won the award for the first time in her career on March 22 following a stellar showing at the Judi Garman Classic. It is the first career player of the week honor for Cervantes, who has also been named as the league's pitcher of the week back on March 16, 2009.
The Tustin native led Fullerton at the plate last week, helping the Titans to a three-game sweep of conference rival UC Santa Barbara and the early lead in the race for the 2010 Big West title. Cal State Fullerton is the only unbeaten team in league play after the first weekend, leading three other teams by a half a game.
After entering the weekend with only two multiple-hit games all season, Cervantes finished the week with two hits in all three victories over the Gauchos, batting a team-high .545 (6-for-11) and slugging .818 on the weekend while also earning a pair of wins in the circle.
She knocked in a pair of runs in the Titans' 10-1 five-inning victory with a two-run single to cap the scoring in the fourth and came up clutch in game two, slugging her third home run of the season to tie the game after UCSB had taken an early lead.
In the finale, the timely hitting didn't stop as she finished 2-for-4 with a run scored, but saved her biggest hit of the weekend until the seventh as her two-out, two-strike single back up the middle scored teammate Torrie Anderson with the tying run, completing a Fullerton comeback from three runs down and forcing extra inning. The Titans eventually won that game, 5-3, in nine innings.
With her performances last weekend, Cervantes extended her team-best hitting streak to five straight games during which she is batting .600 (9-for-15) with five runs scored, raising her overall average from .257 at the start of the streak to a team-high .360 entering this week's games. The four RBI in the series against UCSB also doubled her season total to date.
In the circle, Cervantes was also 2-0 with a 0.78 ERA with victories in games one and three of the series with the Gauchos, scattering eight hits and carrying a shutout into the fifth in the opener before allowing just three hits in four innings of relief in the Titans' extra-innings win.
For the weekend, she stranded 13 UCSB baserunners - nine in scoring position - allowing just two extra base hits in nine innings of work.
Cal State Fullerton looks to continue rolling in conference play as the Titans host a three-game series with UC Riverside this weekend at Anderson Family Field. Fullerton opens with a doubleheader against the Highlanders on Saturday (April 10) at 12 p.m. with Sunday's (April 11) single-game finale also slated to begin at Noon.