Softball Breaks From Conference Play With Series at UC Davis

April 26, 2007

FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team (27-18 overall, 9-3 in the Big West Conference for third place) takes a break from league action this weekend as the Titans head north for a three-game series against future conference rival UC Davis at La Rue Field. The series begins with a doubleheader on Saturday (April 28) at noon before Sunday's finale, also at 12 p.m.

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ON THE AIR: Gametracker and live audio will be unavailable for this weekend's contests in Davis. Please check www.FullertonTitans.com for recaps and box scores which will be posted as soon as possible following the games.

IN THE POLLS: Cal State Fullerton continues to receive votes in this week's USA Softball coaches poll. UC Davis is unranked.

A LOOK AT THE AGGIES: UC Davis enters the weekend with a 28-20-1 overall record after a series victory over Big West-leading Cal Poly (2-0, 4-3, 1-5) over the weekend and a pair of losses to California (9-3, 7-0) on Wednesday. The Aggies, who will become a full-fledged member of the league beginning with the 2007-08 academic year, are 7-6 against Big West schools this season. Sophomore catcher/outfielder Deanna Menapace leads the Aggies' offense, hitting .324 with a team-best nine home runs and 23 RBI. UC Davis features three players hitting better than .300 this season and is hitting .249 as a team. In the circle, Jessica Hancock (13-11, 2.23 ERA) and Lindsay Tognetti (13-7, 3.07) have split time, with Tognetti leading the team in strikeouts (175) and average against (.213) and helping the staff hold opponents to just a .237 batting average.

A LOOK BACK: Cal State Fullerton won its third Big West Conference series of the year last weekend after taking two of three from visiting Pacific, which entered the weekend in first place in the league standings. The Titans took the first two games of the series by the scores of 2-0 and 5-1 before the Tigers held on for a 5-4 win in the series finale.

"WEEKLEY" HONORS: Senior right-hander Brooke Weekley was named the Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week on April 23 after allowing just one run on eight hits in a complete-game win over Pacific. Weekley, who was making only her fifth start of the year and her first in almost a month, improved to 7-3 and lowered her ERA to 1.83 on the season. It was Weekley's second career Big West honor and the first 2005.

JUST ONE MORE: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Michelle Gromacki moved two win closer to another coaching milestone as she stands just one victory shy of 300 for her career. Gromacki, only the second head coach in the history of the program, is 299-154 (.660) all-time at Cal State Fullerton, including a 124-38 (.765) record in Big West Conference games.

DEPENDABLE: The ironwoman at first base for the Titans, junior Katie Gollhardt has started every game Cal State Fullerton has played since she arrived on campus in 2005 - a stretch of 157 consecutive games.

SEND `EM UP... SIT `EM DOWN: Candice Baker extended her league-leading strikeout total to 211 over the weekend - one of only three Big West pitchers thus far to reach the century mark in strikeouts in 2007. The senior right-hander became only the fifth pitcher in school history to reach the 600-strikeout plateau with 11 K's against Utah on March 21 and her 664 strikeouts rank her fifth on the school's all-time list with current Titans' assistant coach and two-time All-American Gina Oaks (685 career strikeouts) next on the list.

A RECORD READY TO FALL?: With nine games (plus any possible postseason play) remaining in the season, Baker may be on the verge of toppling one of the program's longest-standing records. The senior righty needs just 38 more strikeouts over that span to tie Susan LeFebvre's career mark of 702 that has stood since the 1986 season.

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE: And it is one that junior Kiki Munoz possesses in spades this season at the plate. The junior catcher is one of the nation's toughest players to strikeout in 2007, ranking No. 22 with one strikeout in every 20.7 at bats and has struck out only six times in 124 at bats overall this season.

WEEKLEY WARMING UP IN THE BIG WEST: Senior Brooke Weekley has made the most of her seven appearances against Big West opponents this season, posting a spotless 3-0 record with a pair of saves and a miniscule 0.79 ERA in 17 2/3 innings. She has allowed only three runs (two earned) on 15 hits in that span, holding opponents to a .231 batting average.

AGGIES BEWARE: The defending Big West Pitcher of the Week could have a big weekend up north against UC Davis if Weekley's previous performances against the Aggies are indicative of anything. Weekley is 2-0 in two career starts against UC Davis with a 1.31 ERA and a .132 average against. Last season, she allowed only an unearned run on three hits while striking out eight in the Titans' 7-1 game two victory.

FLEXING HER MUSCLE: Junior Jessica Doucette may want to lobby for a start in the cleanup spot in the Titans' lineup in Big West play as she has been Fullerton's big hitter against league opposition. Despite hitting just .227 in 12 games, six of Doucette's 10 hits in Big West games have been for extra bases - including league-bests with five home runs and 15 runs batted in. Overall this season, Doucette shares the team lead with seven home runs and paces Cal State Fullerton's offense with 23 RBI.

DOES A BAT GOOD: Several Titan regulars have benefitted on the stat sheet since the start of conference play, but none more than junior Kiki Munoz, who has seen her average go up 54 points to .315 entering this weekend's play. Munoz, who stands third in the league with a .469 average in Big West play, hit just .261 through the Titans' first 30 games and dipped as low as .255 at one point.

Other players who have seen drastic improvement at the plate: Lauren Lupinetti (.293 to .308), Candice Baker (.267 to .281), Ashley Van Boxmeer (.317 to .331), and Crystal Vieyra, who missed 18 games at the start of the season due to injury but has rebounded to raise her average 16 points to .211 on the year - including a season-high of .237 after a six-game hitting streak.

KIKI TORCHING OPPOSING PITCHING: Since Big West Conference play has started, junior catcher Kiki Munoz has been torching opposing pitchers, hitting .469 (15-for-32) and reaching base safely in each of the Titans' 12 conference games this season. In that stretch, Munoz has raised her batting average 60 points to .315 since hitting a season-low .255 on March 31.

OUCH!!!!: Break out the ice packs, being hit by a pitch is back in style at Cal State Fullerton. Sophomore Lauren Lupinetti was plunked for a Big West-high 13th time last weekend against Pacific - helping to raise Fullerton's league-leading total to 37. Lupinetti's 13 bruises rank tied for fifth on the school's single season list (just seven short of the record of 20 held by Amanda Hockett in 2002) and ranks No. 11 in the nation with 0.29 per game.

STINGY WITH THE HITS: All three of Cal State Fullerton's starting pitchers this season have been bullish against opposing batters, helping the Titans to a .205 batting average against - a total that leads the Big West Conference entering this week. Seniors Candice Baker and Brooke Weekley, along with junior Jessica Doucette, all rank among the Big West's top 10 in batting average against with Baker leading the way with a .186 average against (2nd in the league). Weekley is right behind her in seventh place with a .229 average against while Doucette ranks eighth with a .231 average against.

GOTTA WIN THE CLOSE ONES: Cal State Fullerton has been in just about every game it has played this season as 22 of its 45 contests have been decided by two runs or less. However, the Titans are just 12-10 in those contests, hitting just .235 as a team and .186 with runners in scoring position. The Titans have been doing their part defensively, however, holding opponents to a .176 average in those contests and committing only 16 errors in 674 chances (.976) in the field to give their offense a chance.

S.O.S.: "Save Our Scores." In its 18 losses this season, Cal State Fullerton has left 115 runners on base - 65 of those in scoring position (57 percent). Last weekend, the Titans stranded a total of 24 runners on base in their three-game series against Pacific - 16 of those in scoring position (67 percent) - and have left 21 runners in their three Big West Conference losses this season, 12 of those in scoring position.

TITANS' DEFENSE AMONG BEST IN THE NATION: Cal State Fullerton's prowess with the glove has them among the top defensive teams in the nation entering this weekend's play as the Titans rank No. 14 in fielding percentage (and first in the Big West) with a .973 mark and No. 11 in the country in double plays per game (and first in the Big West) at 0.47 per game. Fullerton also ranks tied for No. 15 in the NCAA with 21 double plays this season.

SACRIFICES MADE: Sophomore Courtney Martinez, who ranks third in the Big West Conference this season with 17 sacrifice hits, is among the nation's best at moving runners this season, standing at No. 12 in the NCAA with 0.38 sacrifice hits per game. Martinez has successfully advanced runners at a 54 percent clip (41-for-80) in 2007.

"BOX" BOMBS HER WAY INTO THIRD: Cal State Fullerton senior Ashley Van Boxmeer slugged her 30th career (and seventh of the season) home run in the game one of the series against Cal State Northridge, moving her into sole possession of third place on the school's all-time list. She is just three back of tying All-American Jenny Topping, who hit 33 home runs as a Titan from 2001-03, for second place.

PROGRAM REACHES WIN MILESTONE: With its victory over \#24 Florida State on March 17, Cal State Fullerton clinched the 1,200th win in the history of the program dating back to 1980. The Titans are 1,206-527-4 in the program's 27-plus seasons for a .695 winning percentage.

TITANS PICKED TO REPEAT AS BIG WEST CHAMPS: The 2007 Cal State Fullerton softball team was picked to repeat as champions of the Big West Conference according to a vote of the league's coaches released on Jan. 24 by the conference office. The Titans received six of the seven possible first-place votes and 48 points overall to outdistance second-place Cal Poly, which received 35 points. The two were followed by last year's runner-up Long Beach State (33 points) in third and UC Santa Barbara and Pacific, which tied for fourth with 25 points apiece. Cal State Northridge (17 points) received the remaining first-place vote and was picked sixth followed by UC Riverside (13 points) in seventh.

BAKER SWEEPS NATIONAL HONORS: In addition to her second Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week award, Cal State Fullerton senior right-hander Candice Baker was named both the USA Softball and NFCA National Player of the Week on March 5 after helping the Titans to a 4-1 record at their own Worth Invitational. Baker allowed only an unearned run on four hits in 21 innings of work, including posting wins over No. 8 Stanford and No. 11 Oregon State. She also held opponents to an .060 average and struck out 20 batters on the weekend.

BAKER IS ONE TO WATCH FOR: Senior right-hander Candice Baker was one of 50 players named to the initial watch list for the sixth annual USA Softball National Player of the Year Award on Jan. 23. The list is comprised of players representing 33 schools and 11 different NCAA Division I conferences. Baker, a two-time All-West Region First-Team selection as a utility player, was 22-10 in the circle as a junior with a 2.16 ERA and a Big West best 259 strikeouts and a .194 batting average against. The list will be pared down to 25 names on April 4 and will shrink yet again to 10 players on May 9. The three finalists will be announced on May 23 with the winner named prior to the start of the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.

THE "TITAN FAMILY": Family ties reign supreme at Cal State Fullerton in 2007. Cousins Jenna Wheeler and Courtney Martinez will play together for the second straight season... Yvette Fernandez's cousin is former Fullerton All-American Monica Lucatero... Jessica Doucette's mother, the former Teri Young, was a member of the Titans' first-ever softball team in 1980.

"BOX" EARNS SPOT ON CANADIAN NATIONAL TEAMS: Fullerton senior Ashley Van Boxmeer was named to Canada's 17-member World University Games team that will compete on Aug. 8-18 in Bangkok, Thailand, and will also compete with the Senior Women's National Team at the 2007 Canada Cup.

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