Titans Host Aztecs Before 49ers Visit for Three

May 1, 2012

FULLERTON, CA -

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THIS WEEK...
San Diego State at Cal State Fullerton
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | 6 p.m.
Fullerton, Calif. | Anderson Family Field
GAME COVERAGE: Gametracker | Audio | Video

Long Beach State at Cal State Fullerton
Saturday-Sunday, May 5-6, 2012
Fullerton, Calif. | Anderson Family Field
GAME COVERAGE:
GAME 1: Saturday, May 5, 2:30 p.m. - Gametracker | TV: ESPNU/ESPN3.com
GAME 2: Saturday May 5, 5 p.m. - Gametracker | TV: ESPNU/ESPN3.com
GAME 3: Sunday, May 6, 12 p.m. - Gametracker | Audio | Video

BATTER UP!: "Home, Sweet Home" will, hopefully, be the mantra for the Cal State Fullerton softball team in the month of May as the Titans (19-25 overall, 7-8 in Big West Conference play) will play their final seven games of the regular season within the friendly confines of Anderson Family Field. The home stretch kicks-off on Wednesday night (May 2) at 6 p.m. as Fullerton hosts San Diego State in a single non-conference game before welcoming long-time rival Long Beach State, and an ESPN national telelvision audience, for a three-game series this weekend (May 5-6). Saturday's telelvised doubleheader will begin at approximately 2:30 and 5 p.m., with Sunday's non-telelvised single-game beginning at noon.

IN THE POLLS: Neither Cal State Fullerton, San Diego State, nor Long Beach State 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. Wednesday and Sunday's games will be broadcast but, because of television, Saturday's doubleheader with Long Beach State will not.

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.

HI, MOM!!!: Saturday's broadcast on ESPNU will mark the sixth consecutive year (and the second time this season after an appearance on the Longhorn Network on Feb. 9 against Texas) that the Titans will appear on national television after the ESPN family of networks carried Fullerton's super regional contests at Arizona in 2007, the Titans' NCAA regional games at UCLA and Arizona State in 2008 and 2009, respectively, and doubleheaders with Long Beach State in 2010 (at home) and 2011 (at Long Beach). The spotlight of national TV has been harsh, however, as the Titans are just 3-8 in those five previous appearances, including a split of their regular-season doubleheader with the 49ers the last two seasons. Mark Neely will handle play-by-play duties on Saturday's broadcast with former Northwestern standout Garland Cooper providing color commentary.

ABOUT SAN DIEGO STATE: The Aztecs enter the week with a 26-19 overall record, having not played since shutting out Cal State Fullerton, 10-0, in five innings last week on April 25 in San Diego... San Diego State has won its last eight consecutive games... Hayley Miles, who was named the National Player of the Week prior to last week's clash with the Titans, leads the team offensively, batting .437 with 16 doubles, 15 home runs, 51 runs scored, and 37 RBI... the Aztecs are batting .287 as a team and have slugged 46 home runs on the year... Rebecca Arbino (12-8, 2.16 ERA) and Bailey Micetich (12-6, 2.30 ERA) have pitched all but 39.2 innings this season for SDSU, holding opponents to a .259 average... Micetich held Fullerton to just two hits while striking out 11 in the complete-game win last week, facing just two over the minimum.

ABOUT LONG BEACH STATE: The 49ers enter the week at 23-22 overall and 11-4 in the Big West Conference for a share of first place with Pacific... Long Beach State has won four straight overall and have claimed victory in each of their last four league series this season, including a sweep of UC Riverside last weekend... Cya Neal leads the offense with a .343 average and 17 runs scored while Hannah De Gaetano and Ashlynn Booker have slugged five home runs apiece... Erin Jones-Wesley (17-12, 2.04 ERA) has pitched 188.1 of the team's 301.2 innings this season while Taylor Petty (6-1, 1.20) has returned from illness to provide another arm.

SERIES HISTORIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with San Diego State, 46-16, but the Aztecs have won six of the last seven 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... Fullerton is 24-7 all-time against San Diego State on its home field, but has lost its last four at Anderson Family Field dating to 2005 when the Titans and Aztecs split a doubleheader with a 4-2 win and a 2-0 loss... Fullerton is 70-50 all-time against Long Beach State, but has lost each of the last three series between the two schools (3-6 overall) since 2009... the Titans are 32-27 against the 49ers at home, with Long Beach State taking 2-of-3 from Fullerton in 2010.

THE LONGEST OF LONG-TIME RIVALS: The longest-running series in the history of Cal State Fullerton softball renews this weekend as Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State, campuses seperated by just 23 miles, do battle on the diamond once again. The Titans and 49ers have met a total of 120 times dating back to the 1981 season - the longest series in terms of games played in Fullerton's history, edging out the Titans' series with UC Santa Barbara (114 games since 1980). The Titans' 70 wins over Long Beach State rank second against any one opponent, trailing only Fullerton's 103 victories over the Gauchos.

CLASH OF THE (FORMER) TITANS... TAKE TWO: Former Titans-turned-head coaches Michelle Gromacki and Kathy Van Wyk will clash from the dugouts for the second time this year on Wednesday night, with Van Wyk holding an 9-6 advantage in the all-time head-to-head battle as head coaches. Van Wyk, in her 16th season at the helm at San Diego State, 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.

LEMOND LOVES THE BRIGHT LIGHTS: When the camera catches Morgan LeMond at the plate, be prepared for fireworks as the Titans' senior has shined when ESPN comes to town. In six career televised games, LeMond is batting .375 (6-for-16) with four home runs, four runs scored, and nine RBI, with three of those four home runs coming in televised doubleheaders against Long Beach State over the last two seasons.

SNYDER ON THE BOARD: After driving in her first career run with a groundout against Cal Poly on April 1, junior catcher Courtney Snyder came through in her first career start in Sunday's series finale at Cal State Northridge, finishing 1-for-3 with her first career hit (a single to left) and first career run scored after being hit by a pitch in a big fourth inning against the Matadors.

THE GIFT OF GAB(BY): It took a couple weeks, but redshirt sophomore Gabby Aragon seems to have found her stroke at the plate, running her hitting streak to five games with her performance at Cal State Northridge. Aragon, whose streak is just one off her career high, is batting .500 (8-for-16) over the stretch, scoring five times, slugging three home runs, and driving in seven runs. In the process, Aragon, who was batting just .111 (2-for-18) at the start of the streak, has raised her average 183 points to .294 on the year.

Ashley Carter... PROFESSIONAL HITTER: With her seventh-inning single against the Matadors in game two on Saturday, junior Ashley Carter logged her 50th hit of the year - becoming the first Titan to accumulate that many hits since Katie Gollhardt (54) and Kiki Munoz (64) in 2008.

YBARRA BULLS THROUGH MATADORS: After a less-than-memorable start against San Diego State in a midweek non-conference clash on April 25, freshman left-hander Desiree Ybarra took out her frustrations against Cal State Northridge over the weekend, going 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA while holding the Matadors scoreless over 11 consecutive innings after giving up two runs in the first inning of her game two start. She scattered just seven hits and held Northridge to a .171 average on the weekend.

SUNDAY BLITZ: Fullerton went on the offensive in the series finale against Cal State Northridge, scoring 11 runs on 17 hits to dispatch of the Matadors, 11-0, in five innings to win the series. The 11 runs for the Titans were the most since they scored 13 times against Utah State on March 11 while the 17 hits (all singles) were a season high and the most since they had 17 hits against Pacific on May 1, 2011. Sunday's hit total marked only the 10th time in 44 games this season that Fullerton has reached double figures in that category while the opposition has reached double-digit hits in six of the last 10 contests and 24 times in 44 games overall.

BACK-TO-BACK WINS: With wins in their last two games against Cal State Northridge, the Titans posted back-to-back victories for only the fifth time this season and the first since taking the series finale from Cal Poly on April 1 and the first game of the series from UC Santa Barbara on April 6. Fullerton has not won three-straight games this season.

JENA'S BAT IS JUMPIN': Sophomore Jena Rubio has been one of the Titans' hottest bats over the last three weeks, collecting hits in seven of her last eight games, batting .348 (8-for-23) with a home run, three runs scored, and a pair of RBI. Since the start of Big West Conference play, Rubio has collected 12 of her 16 hits this season over the last 16 contests and is batting .343 with five runs, two home runs and six RBI in league play this season.

ONE-LEGGED LEMOND LETTING LOOSE: After suffering a leg injury that put her on the shelf for more than a month, and still greatly limiting her ability to run, senior Morgan LeMond made her return to the lineup as a pinch hitter against UC Riverside on April 21 and has continued to provide some pop to the Titans' offense as a pinch hitter and designated player. LeMond, who was batting .345 prior to her injury against Michigan State on March 9, is 5-for-15 since her return, with a pair of two-hit games and a two-RBI day against the Matadors in the series finale.

GETTING INTO GEAR: After four consecutive games without a steal, the Fullerton running game has gotten back into the groove over the last two weekends, swiping seven bases to bring its total to 46 for the year -- the most since the Titans stole 48 bags in 2007. The 46 steals this season ranks ninth on the school's single season list, needing just one more to move into eighth place. Four 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).

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 .287 average as a team entering this week's contests, which would be good for No. 8 on the single-season charts and its best since 2002 when the Titans hit .292 -- which ranks sixth all time in school history.

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 44 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 three more bruises to tie Amanda Hockett (2000-03) for second place and 12 more HBPs to match Crystal Vieyra's school record of 56 accumulated from 2005-08.

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 .354 with 190 hits, a 2.57 ERA, and just 15 errors while outscoring opponents by a 141-57 count in their 19 victories this season. In its 25 defeats, however, Fullerton is batting just .228 with a 7.44 ERA, and 38 errors while being outscored, 200-58.

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

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. 6 in the NCAA) with 25 double plays entering this week's contests while also ranking No. 3 in the nation this week at 0.57 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 3-3 in game one of their doubleheaders this season, but have lost five of their six game two's this season, earning their first win last weekend at Cal State Northridge. Since the start of Big West play, Fullerton has brought its Sunday best, however, going 4-1 in series finales thus far.

IRON WOMEN: Outfielders Ashley Carter and Leesa Harris are the only two Titans to start all 44 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 44 contests.

"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 51 hits, 26 runs, and 17 RBI while batting a career-best .342 on the season. She ranks third in the Big West Conference in hits and tied for eighth in runs scored while standing sixth in average. Her two hits in game two against Cal State Northridge marked her team-high 14th multi-hit game of the season (one of only two Titans in double figures this season), accumulating 11 two-hit contests and a trio of three-hit performances against Colorado State (Feb. 10), Bakersfield (Feb. 17), and Utah State (March 11).

"FASTER THAN FAST, QUICKER THAN QUICK": She is speed. Senior Adriana Martinez snapped a string of 20-straight games without a steal with her swipe of second base in game two of the series with Cal State Northridge last weekend, moving into sole possession of seventh place on the school's single-season list at 16-for-18 and needing 11 more to match Jstone Vines' record of 27 set in 1994. The 16 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 35 for her career -- just two back of Chenita Rogers (1986-87) for third. The career record is held by Vines (1991-94) with 59 swipes.

SPEED THAT'S TWICE AS NICE: Sophomore Leesa Harris stole another base against Cal State Northridge last weekend, giving her 13 in 16 attempts on the year and joining teammate Adri Martinez (15-for-17) in double figures in that category this season. Fullerton hadn't had two players with double-digit steals in the same season 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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