Final Road Trips For Softball This Week

April 24, 2012

FULLERTON, CA -

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THIS WEEK...
Cal State Fullerton at San Diego State
April 25, 2012 | 6 p.m.
San Diego, Calif. | SDSU Softball Stadium (1,000)
GAME COVERAGE: Live Stats | Audio

Cal State Fullerton at Cal State Northridge
April 28-29, 2012
Northridge, Calif. | Matador Diamond (1,000)
GAME COVERAGE:
GAME 1: Saturday, April 28, 12 p.m. - Live Stats
GAME 2: Saturday, April 28, 2 p.m. - Live Stats
GAME 3: Sunday, April 29, 12 p.m. - Live Stats

BATTER UP!: After snapping a five-game losing streak with a one-run win on Sunday, the Cal State Fullerton softball team (17-23 overall, 5-7 in the Big West Conference) hits the road for the final time this season this week against a pair of opponents. The Titans open with a mid-week single game at San Diego State on Wednesday (April 25) at 6 p.m. before resuming Big West Conference play this weekend at Cal State Northridge. Both the doubleheader on Saturday (April 28) and Sunday's (April 29) finale against the Matadors begin at noon.

IN THE POLLS: Neither Cal State Fullerton, San Diego State, nor Cal State Northridge 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 will be available (barring technical difficulties) for all four of Cal State Fullerton's games this week. Please visit the Cal State Fullerton softball schedule page at www.FullertonTitans.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 SAN DIEGO STATE: The Aztecs, who are 25-19 overall and 6-0 in the Mountain West Conference, enter Wednesday's game on a roll, winning their last seven-straight following a pair of losses at No. 17 Arizona on March 27-28... SDSU is coming off a 5-0 win over city rival San Diego and a three-game sweep of New Mexico in Albuquerque last week, outscoring the opposition, 32-9, in the four games... the Aztecs are 3-1 against the Big West, defeating Cal State Northridge (7-1), Long Beach State (7-1), and UC Davis (3-0), while falling to Pacific (3-1)... sophomore Hayley Miles, the 2011 Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year (batting .344, 11 doubles, five home runs, 29 RBI), leads the offense, batting .432 with 15 doubles, 14 home runs, and 36 RBI in 44 games while scoring 49 runs... Rebecca Arbino (12-8, 2.16 ERA) and Bailey Micetich (11-6, 2.39 ERA) have combined to throw all but 39.2 innings in the circle, helping hold opponents to a .261 average this season.

ABOUT CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: The Matadors enter the week with a 9-34 overall record, but a 4-8 mark in Big West Conference play -- just one game behind the Titans in the standings... Northridge has lost five of its last seven, including losing two-of-three against Long Beach State at home last weekend... sophomore Madeline Sale leads the offense with a .282 average and 15 runs scored while junior Mikayla Thielges provides the pop, batting .250 with six home runs and 18 RBI... Northridge is batting just .195 as a team this season while opponents are hitting .317 against the Matadors' pitching staff, which is led by Mia Pagano (7-15, 3.68 ERA), who has thrown 158 of the team's 276.1 innings this season (57%) -- one of five pitchers to see time in the circle... Brianna Elder (1-5, 2.73 ERA) is second on the team with 43.2 innings.

SERIES HISTORIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with San Diego State, 46-15, but the Aztecs have won five of the last six meetings with the Titans' only win in that stretch coming at the 2009 NCAA Regionals in Tempe, Ariz., by the score of 8-2 that eliminated SDSU from the postseason... the Aztecs won the last meeting between the two by a 2-1 score on March 31, 2010... Fullerton is 19-6 all-time against San Diego State on the Aztecs' home field, but has lost its last two trips in 2008 (2-1 in nine innings) and 2009 (6-0)... the Titans are 60-34-1 all-time against Cal State Northridge, but have lost the last two (and four of six) after the Matadors took the series from Fullerton last season at Anderson Family Field... the Titans are 21-15-1 against Northridge at Matador Diamond, having lost two in a row with the Matadors' series win in 2010... Fullerton's last win in the series was by the score of 6-2 in last year's series opener.

CLASH OF THE (FORMER) TITANS: Former Titans-turned-head coaches Michelle Gromacki and Kathy Van Wyk will clash from the dugouts for the seventh time in the last eight seasons on Wednesday night in San Diego, with Van Wyk holding an 8-6 advantage in the all-time head-to-head battle as head coaches. Van Wyk was a pitcher on the 1982 Titans' squad that finished third at the Women's College World Series, posting a 35-1 record in the circle and a 0.18 ERA en route to the school's first Broderick Award and All-America honors. Van Wyk also served as an assistant coach with Cal State Fullerton from 1983-87 and again from 1991-94 before taking the reins of the Aztecs' program. Gromacki was a three-year letterwinner for the Titans from 1985-87 and was the starting catcher on the school's 1986 NCAA National Championship team.

MORGAN'S RETURN: After suffering a leg injury that has put her on the shelf for more than a month, senior Morgan LeMond made her return to the field against UC Riverside last weekend, including making a pair of starts as the Titans' designated player. In game two of the series, LeMond made her biggest impact, finishing 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of singles for her first hits since March 9 against Michigan State when she doubled, walked, and drove home three before being injured running the bases.

POWER SURGE: Gabby Aragon, Nicole Johnson, and Jena Rubio all left the yard last weekend against UC Rvierside, giving the Titans three home runs in the series against the Highlanders - the most for Fullerton in four league series this season. The two home runs in the Titans' game three victory by Johnson and Rubio marked only the fourth multi-home run game for Fullerton this season and the first time since the Titans slugged a pair in the series finale against UC Santa Barbara on April 7.

OFFENSE BACK IN DOUBLE DIGITS: Fullerton's 11 hits in game two against UC Riverside last weekend were the most since the Titans banged out 12 hits in the series opener against Cal Poly on March 31 and only the ninth time in 40 games this season that Fullerton has reached double figures in that category. On the flip side, the opposition has reached double-digit hits in five of the last six contests and 23 times in 40 games overall.

JENA'S BAT IS JUMPIN': Sophomore Jena Rubio (along with teammate Adri Martinez) currently holds the longest active hitting streak for the Titans at four games after senior Anissa Young's streak was snapped at eight games in the series finale with UC Riverside. Rubio has been one of the team's hottest hitters since the start of Big West Conference play, collected nine of her 13 hits this season over the last 12 contests and is batting .417 (5-for-12) during her current streak with a pair of runs scored and her second home run of the year.

GETTING INTO GEAR: After four consecutive games without a steal, the Fullerton running game got back into the groove against UC Riverside, swiping four bases against the Highlanders to bring its total to 43 for the year -- the most since the Titans stole 48 bags in 2007. The 43 steals this season ranks tied for ninth on the school's single season list, needing just five more to move into eighth place. Seven more steals would give Fullerton 50 stolen bases for only the seventh time in school history and the highest total since the 1994 squad set a school record with 88 steals (in 103 attempts).

CAN'T CATCH ME: The Titans are perfect in their last nine steal attempts and haven't had a runner thrown out attempting to steal in their last 12 games since being caught twice in a home loss to Purdue on March 14.

OFFENSE PICKING UP: Barring an offensive collapse, the Titans could be on their way to one of their best offensive seasons. If the season ended today, Fullerton's .284 average as a team entering this week's contests is its best since 2002 when the Titans hit .292 -- which ranks sixth all time in school history. This year's ranks mere percentage points outside of the top 10, narrowly missing the 1997 squad's .285 average.

HEY THERE, SLUGGER: After being held hitless in the first two games of the series against UC Riverside, Nicole Johnson exploded offensively in the series finale, slugging her seventh home run of the year to go along with a pair of doubles in the Titans' win. Johnson, who ranks second in the Big West in doubles and tied for second in home runs, is slugging .747 overall this season -- good for the top spot in the league and fifth in a single season in school history if the season ended today. In conference play, Johnson is slugging at a more impressive 1.032 clip (best in the league) with seven doubles (also tops) and three home runs (tied for the lead) while batting .516 (ranked No. 1) in 12 games this season.

DOUBLE UP: With her 12 doubles, Johnson, who ranks tied for third in the nation this week with 0.36 doubles per game, is rapidly closing in on the school's all-time single-season list in that category, needing just three more to move into a five-way tie for 10th with Monica Lucatero (2001) and Nikki Hart (1997-99).

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 No. 7 in the NCAA) with 22 double plays entering this week's contests while also ranking No. 3 in the nation this week at 0.55 double plays per game.

"LET'S PLAY ONE": We apologize to all the Ernie Banks fans out there, but the Titans just haven't been fans of the "let's play two" mantra this season. Including Fullerton's twinbill against CSU Bakersfield back in February, the Titans are 3-2 in game one of their doubleheaders this season, but have yet to win in the nightcap, going 0-5 in game two's. Since the start of Big West play, Fullerton has brought its Sunday best, however, going 3-1 in series finales thus far.

"A.C." A CHILLING SIGHT FOR OPPOSING PITCHERS: Junior Ashley Carter has picked up right where she left off as a sophomore, entering this week's contests with a career-high 46 hits, 25 runs, and 16 RBI while batting a career-best .338 on the season. She ranks tied for fourth in the Big West Conference in hits and tied for eighth in runs scored while standing 10th in average. Her two hits in the finale against Pacific marked her team-high 13th multi-hit game of the season (the only Titan in double figures this season), accumulating 10 two-hit contests and a trio of three-hit performances against Colorado State (Feb. 10), Bakersfield (Feb. 17), and Utah State (March 11).

CARTER JOINS THE TOP 10: With her final hit of the Pacific series, a triple to left centerfield, junior Ashley Cater joined teammate Nicole Johnson on the school's career list in that category, moving into a six-way tie for seventh with seven. It was Carter's third triple of the season, tying her career high and matching UC Riverside's Ariel Shore for third in the Big West Conference this season.

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: Nine different Titans have tallied game-winning hits, led by Eliza Crawford's four this season, while eight different players have come around to score the game-winning run, paced by table-setter Ashley Carter with five.

WE LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER: A wise minor league manager once said, "It's a simple game. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball." When the Titans have been able to pull together all those components this season, they have been nearly unstoppable, batting a robust .346 with 166 hits, a 2.72 ERA, and just 15 errors while outscoring opponents by a 123-55 count in their 17 victories this season. In its 23 defeats, however, Fullerton is batting just .231 with a 7.32 ERA, and 34 errors while being outscored, 185-56.

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 16 home runs in their last 23 games, 12 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.

IRON WOMEN: Outfielders Ashley Carter and Leesa Harris are the only two Titans to start all 40 games at the same position on defense this season, while Carter is the only player to hold on to her same spot in the batting order, hitting leadoff in all 40 contests.

SHEFFLER TRIPLES HER FUN: Junior Tiffany Sheffler smacked her fourth triple of the season in the series opener against Cal Poly on March 31, a total that has her ranked No. 17 in the nation this week and moved her into a tie for ninth on the school's single-season list for that category with 13 other players. A fifth triple this season will bump Sheffler all the way up to a tie for fifth while four more triples will match the school record held by Terri Oberg, who had eight triples in both the 1985 and 1986 seasons.

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 42 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 five more bruises to tie Amanda Hockett (2000-03) for second place and 14 more HBPs to match Crystal Vieyra's school record of 56 accumulated from 2005-08.

"FASTER THAN FAST, QUICKER THAN QUICK": She is speed. 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.

SPEED THAT'S TWICE AS NICE: Harris' two steals last weekend against UC Riverside gave her 12 in 14 attempts on the year, joining teammate Adri Martinez (15-for-17) in double figures in that category this season -- something that hasn't happened since 1994 when Jstone Vines (27-for-30), Monica Bagalayos (26-for-30), and Heidi Robertson (18-for-19) each finished in double digits.

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