Softball's Stretch Run Begins This Weekend in San Luis Obispo

May 3, 2006


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Cal State Fullerton gets back to Big West Conference action this weekend after a five-game non-conference homestand as the first-place Titans (31-21, 9-3) travel to California's Central Coast to take on Cal Poly in a three-game series at Bob Janssen Field in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The series opens with a doubleheader on Saturday (May 6) at 4 p.m. with a single game to follow on Sunday (May 7) at 12 p.m.

Cal State Fullerton's series against UC Riverside on May 13 and 14 at Anderson Field will begin on Friday with a doubleheader at 4 p.m. instead of 12 p.m. as previously reported in this release and on Sunday's single-game "Senior Day" finale will still begin at noon.

Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Cal Poly by a 27-12 margin, but are only 8-7 in San Luis Obispo since the series started in 1980... The Mustangs took two of three from the Titans last season in Fullerton, winning games 1 and 3 by the scores of 6-5 and 4-3 in nine innings... Cal State Fullerton posted a 3-0 win in the second game of the series behind a Marissa Marzan six-hitter... Cal Poly has won five of the last six meetings after a three-game sweep in 2004.

CAL POLY: The Mustangs enter the week with a 24-20 overall record and an 8-4 mark in Big West Conference play for third place. Cal Poly took two of three from UC Santa Barbara on the road last weekend, losing 9-5 in the series finale and snapping an eight-game winning streak that included sweeps over Cal State Northridge and UC Davis. Cal Poly is second in the league in hitting with a .274 average and has stolen a league-high 61 bases. The Mustang pitching staff ranks fifth in the league with a 3.34 ERA.

The Cal Poly offense is paced by junior Lisa Modglin, who is hitting .346 with six home runs and 35 RBI. Her 53 hits and 35 runs scored both stand second in the conference. Jackie Gehrke-Jones is also hitting .319 and leads the team with 11 stolen bases.

Sophomore Robyn Kontra paces the pitching staff with a 13-9 overall record and 2.85 ERA. freshman Jenna Maiden has been the team's No. 2 in the circle this season, going 8-8 with a 3.67 ERA in 13 starts.

The Titans rank among those teams receiving votes for the third consecutive week, earning two votes in Tuesday's Softball Coaches Poll and six votes according to the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll... Fullerton appears in the USA Softball poll for the second straight week after a three week absence and has appeared in that poll for all but four weeks this season... The Titans are receiving votes for the third straight week by the NFCA after a seven-week absence.

Three teams are closely bunched atop the Big West standings as the Titans, 49ers, and Mustangs all have a legitimate shot at claiming the 2006 title. Cal State Fullerton leads the league by percentage points over Long Beach State (11-4), which has played three more games than the Titans, and by a single game over Cal Poly (8-4). A sweep by the Titans over the Mustangs would knock Cal Poly from contention and give Fullerton a one-game lead over the 49ers heading into the final weekend of play that will see the Titans take on UC Riverside and Long Beach State take on UC Santa Barbara.

Junior Candice Baker moved up a pair of spots on Cal State Fullerton's single-season strikeout list as her 224 whiffs this season places her in a tie for sixth with Jodie Cox, who struck out the same number during her All-American season in 2003. Her 418 strikeouts rank eighth on the career chart - just 40 back of Connie Clark's two-year total for seventh place.

The Titans will look to finish strong once again as Fullerton has seen a lot of success in the month of May as of late. In the last five seasons, Cal State Fullerton has gone 34-14 (.709) in the final month of the season, including posting winning records in four of those five years.

Cal State Fullerton has homered in each of its last 13 games posting a 10-3 record in those contests. The Titans have hit 25 home runs in that span, averaging just under two home runs per contest (1.92 per game).

Cal State Fullerton hit seven more home runs as a team in last weekend's non-conference homestand, running its Big West Conference-leading total to 53 - 24 home runs better than second place Cal Poly. This season's home run total ranks third on the school's all-time list - just one back of the 1999 total for second place - and the Titans are averaging 1.02 home runs per game this season which ranks No. 12 in the nation entering this week's play.

And just a little more on Baker's strikeout exploits... The right-hander reached double digits in strikeouts in two of her three starts this past week, as Baker struck out 12 in a 5-1 win over UNLV and 11 more in a victory over UC Davis. The performances were the seventh and eighth double-digit strikeout games of Baker's junior season and the second and third such games in her last five starts - averaging 10.2 strikeouts per seven innings in that span.

In her first start in the circle in a little over a month, junior right-hander Brooke Weekley dominated the UC Davis hitters, holding the Aggies to an unearned run on three hits, walking one and striking out eight in the complete-game victory. In her last three starts (19 innings), Weekley has gone 2-0, allowing just 11 hits while striking out 16.

Junior outfielder Ashley Van Boxmeer continued her assault on the Cal State Fullerton record books this past week, slugging two more home runs to bring her season total to 13 and move into a four-way tie for fifth on the school's single-season list. Her 23 home runs hit in a Titans' uniform ranks eighth all time, just one home run back of Gina Oaks (2000-03) and Stephenie Little (1998-99) for sixth.

With Cal State Fullerton picked to win the Big West according to the coaches, the Titans have been playing with a target on their back since conference play started. This weekend's match-up will be the third conference weekend that the Titans will either face the league's first-place team or defend their first-place standing. Fullerton defeated then first-place Long Beach State in a three-game series on April 15 and 19 to knock the 49ers from the top before facing the new top dog in the league in Pacific on May 22-23, sweeping the three-game series to take over first place.

The Titans are hitting a robust .309 as a team in Big West Conference play this season, outscoring the opposition 85-27 in 12 games while inflating opposing pitcher's ERAs with an average of 7.08 runs per contest. Individually, three Titans in particular have feasted on Big West pitching as Ashley Van Boxmeer (.444), Amanda Kamekona (.435), and Crystal Vieyra (.407) are all above the .400 mark.

Senior Marissa Marzan has had a spectacular season against Big West opposition, posting a 6-0 record with a 0.97 ERA and a pair of shutouts. Only four of her 23 hits allowed against Big West hitters have gone for extra bases while the opposition is hitting only .187 against Marzan in seven games.

Cal State Fullerton hurlers lead the conference with a .220 batting average against - 15 points better than second place UC Santa Barbara. Individually, junior Candice Baker leads all Big West pitchers with a .198 average against while senior Marissa Marzan is third in the league with a .210 average against. If she had enough innings to qualify, junior Brooke Weekley would also rank ninth in the league with her .246 average against.

The Titans' pitching staff continues to stay atop the Big West pile with a 2.35 ERA and leads the league in wins, complete games (34), shutouts (11), innings (358.0), strikeouts (346), and batting average against (.220).

Ashley Van Boxmeer leads the Big West with 43 runs scored this season - a total that puts her in a tie for eighth on the school's single-season list with Jodie Cox (2002). She is now just 12 shy of Jenny Topping's single-season record of 55 set back in 2001 with six regular season games and any postseason competition remaining. Career-wise, she is 19 shy of breaking into the top 10. The Titans are 25-5 when she touches home plate this season.

Sophomore Amanda Kamekona extended her hitting streak to seven games with her six hits last week, matching Katie Gollhardt for the longest such streak by a Titan hitter this season. Kamekona is hitting .348 (8-for-23) in her last seven games, with five runs scored, and four RBI. The seven-game hitting streak is a career-best for Kamekona, who had a hit in six consecutive games as a freshman last season.

Go ahead make her day. Senior catcher Ashlee Weatherford continues to be on target in 2006 behind the plate, throwing out 15-of-34 would be base stealers this season - compared to just one thrown out during her 2005 junior season. She ranks third in the league with those 15 caught stealing and leads all catchers with 44 percent of runners thrown out. Weatherford ranks seventh in the league fielding percentage (min. 100 chances) with a .990 mark and continues to lead the league with three runners picked off.

Sophomore Crystal Vieyra and junior Candice Baker are among the nation's most often hit batters, both ranking in the top 30 as of this week's NCAA statistics. Vieyra ranks tied No. 4 in the nation with 16 HBPs and fourth with 0.33 per game. Baker is No. 24 in the country with 0.21 per game thus far this season. The Titans have four of the most oft-hit players in the conference in Vieyra (1st), Baker (3rd), Courtney Martinez (t4th - 7), and Katie Gollhardt (t6th - 5).

The Titans rank No. 20 in the nation in fielding percentage at .971 - a total which also puts them third among their Big West Conference counterparts behind league-leading Pacific (.980) and UC Santa Barbara (.972). Should Fullerton's slick fielding continue, the Titans will break the previous school record for fielding percentage set back in 1985 (.971) mark.

Katie Gollhardt, Ashley Van Boxmeer, and Candice Baker have been fixtures in the Fullerton lineup all year as the only three Titans to have started in all 52 games this season. In fact, all three have quite a streak going as they have started every game dating back to the beginning of last season (103 games).

Cal State Fullerton's defense has been quite adept in turning two this season, leading in the Big West Conference with 21 twin killings and standing amongst the top 30 teams in the nation with 0.40 per game this season (No. 21 in the nation). Fullerton is one of four teams in the league with 10-or-more double plays in 2006, twice turning three double plays in a game this season (vs. Utah State on Feb. 18 and at San Diego State on March 10) and have turned two twice in a game on three other occassions.

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