Titans, 49ers Renew Rivalry in Final 2010 Homestand
May 5, 2010
FULLERTON, CA -
FIRST PITCH: All eyes... well, at least those of the fans in attendance and ESPN-U subscribers... will be on Anderson Family Field this weekend as Cal State Fullerton welcomes the ESPN family to Orange County for a nationally televisied broadcast of the first two games of its series with archrival Long Beach State. Saturday's doubleheader will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the second game to follow at 2 p.m. Sunday's single-game finale, while not broadcast, will be no less special as the Titans kick-off "Senior Day" against the 49ers at 12 p.m.
I NEED STATS, STAT!: Live in-game statistics via CBS College Sports' Gametracker will be available for all three contests this weekend from Fullerton. Fans can access the links from the softball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.
"CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?": Live streaming audio for all three of this weekend's contests from Anderson Family Field will be broadcast live thanks to Stretch Internet (www.stretchinternet.com). Veteran Cal State Fullerton play-by-play man, Mike Martinez, will have the call from Fullerton. Links to the broadcasts can be accessed by clicking on the headphones icon in the upper right-hand corner of FullertonTitans.com.
I SEE YOU!: For the fifth consecutive season, fans can watch the Titans live over the Internet thanks to a partnership between the Big West Conference and CBS College Sports. Live video streaming of selected Cal State Fullerton softball home and road contests will be available on a subscription basis and can be accessed by visiting www.BigWest.org/TV. A monthly subscription of \$9.95 or an annual subscription of \$79.95 delivers exclusive coverage of every home and conference women's volleyball and men's and women's basketball contests along with selected men's and women's soccer, baseball, softball, and Big West Conference championships.
"HI, MOM!!!": Saturday's broadcast on ESPN-U will mark the fourth consecutive year that the Titans will appear on national television after the ESPN family of networks carried Fullerton's super regional contests against Arizona in 2007 and the Titans' regional games at UCLA and Arizona State in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The spotlight of national television has been harsh, however, as Fullerton is just 1-6 in those three previous appearances.
IN THE POLLS: Neither Cal State Fullerton nor Long Beach State are listed in either the USA Today/NFCA or the ESPN.com/USA Softball coaches polls entering this weekend's games.
ABOUT THE 49ERS: Long Beach State enters the weekend with a 21-25 overall record and a 5-10 mark in Big West Conference play for seventh place - two games back of the Titans in the standings... the 49ers have lost four straight after being swept last weekend by UC Santa Barbara and has come out on the wrong end of eight of their last 10 contests - five of those decided by two runs or fewer... Bree Stephan leads the team in hitting with a .313 average while Nalani St. Germain provides the power, batting .264 with eight home runs and 25 RBI... Long Beach State is hitting .244 as a team... Taylor Petty (9-13, 2.55 ERA) and Brooke Turner (9-10, 3.18 ERA) have split the majority of the time in the circle... Petty leads the Big West Conference in strikeouts and ranks third in ERA while holding opponents to a .241 average (3rd in the Big West).
SERIES RECORDS: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Long Beach State by a 68-46 count, but dropped two of three to the 49ers last season in Long Beach with all three games decided by two runs or fewer... the Titans are just 31-25 against the 49ers on their home field (compared to 34-20 in Long Beach) last taking two of three from the 49ers at home in 2008 and winning eight of the last 12 meetings in Fullerton... the 68 wins against Long Beach State are the second-most against any one opponent in school history, standing behind only the 100 all-time wins against UC Santa Barbara... Head Coach Michelle Gromacki is 15-15 all-time against Long Beach State in her 10-plus seasons at the helm of the Titans' program.
HOMER HAPPY TITANS: Five games and counting for the Cal State Fullerton power hitters as the Titans have slugged at least one home run in each of their last five contests, helping them to a 3-2 mark in those contests and snapping a seven-game homerless streak. In fact, the home run was the modus operandi for Fullerton last weekend at Pacific as nine of the Titans' 12 runs scored in the series came via the long ball as four different players went deep: junior Torrie Anderson (twice), sophomore Nicole Johnson, sophomore Morgan LeMond, and junior Natalie DeLeese.
"BOOM" GOES THE DYNAMITE: Thanks to their home run prowess last weekend in Stockton, the Titans continue to lead the league with 33 long balls on the season - besting second-place Cal State Northridge by eight. Individually, junior Torrie Anderson leads the league with 10 home runs on the season while sophomore Trina Harrison, who has missed the last nine games due to injury save for a pinch-hit appearance against UC Davis on Apr. 25, stands tied for second in the league with nine.
A LITTLE EXTRA "BOOM" FOR YOUR BUCK: Fullerton's 33 home runs this season have resulted in 59 runs, accounting for almost 40 percent of the team's 154 total runs scored in 2010. While the balls were leaving the year to start the season, the damage was light as 12 of the team's first 16 home runs were solo shots, but 13 of the team's last 17 round-trippers have come with runners on base. In addition, of the 33 home runs, 14 of those have come with no outs and nine have led-off an inning.
WHY SO "SERIES"-OUS?: Cal State Fullerton's success in Stockton this past weekend gave the Titans only their second Big West Conference series victory this season and their first since opening the league schedule with a three-game sweep of UC Santa Barbara back in April. This comes one season after the Titans won six of seven league series in 2009 en route to a 17-4 conference mark and a second-place finish.
HOW DO YOU SPELL CLUTCH?: Stay in your seats, the Titans aren't done until someone says "three outs." Fullerton twice snatched victory from the jaws of defeat last weekend in Stockton, coming up with game-tying and game-winning home runs in the seventh innings of games two and three. Sophomore Morgan LeMond's first home run of the season, a two-run shot, erased a 3-1 deficit and eventually helped the Titans to a 4-3 win in the 10th inning. Junior Natalie DeLeese then did her best "LeMond" on Sunday with a little help from Mother Nature, as strong winds helped her fly ball over the wall with one out and her team trailing by one, ironically scoring LeMond ahead of her, in Fullerton's 2-1 game three victory. This all came after Pacific had rallied back from down 6-1 in the series opener, scoring seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings to pull out an 8-6 win.
HEINLE REMAINS SHARP: Aside from swinging the bat well as of late (hitting .316 with four RBI and hits in five of her last seven contests), sophomore right-hander Krystal Heinle has also been solid in the circle, allowing just 15 earned runs over her last 52 2/3 innings (1.99 ERA) dating back to the middle of March, scattering just 48 hits and dropping her overall ERA by almost three runs during that stretch to a team-low 4.55 this season. Last weekend against Pacific, Heinle allowed just one run on three hits in the complete-game victory in the series finale - her first win since she four-hit the Highlanders in game two of the UC Riverside series on April 10, which also marked her last start in the circle.
ANDERSON MOVES UP RECORD BOOKS: Fullerton junior Torrie Anderson may have only had two hits this past weekend against Pacific, but both of them left the yard, giving her a Big West Conference-best 10 home runs on the season - the only player in the league in double digits. The two home runs gave her 24 for her career, moving her into a three-way tie with Gina Oaks (2000-03) and Stephenie Little (1998-99) for seventh place, and standing just one round-tripper shy of Sue Lewis (1981-84) for sixth.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: Despite trailing in the hit column, 23-20, last weekend in Stockton, the Titans had numerous players come through for the offense as 11 different batters recorded hits, but none had more than three hits in the series (Ariel Tsuchiyama and Adriana Martinez) as Fullerton claimed its second Big West series of the season.
ARE YOU BUSY?: Junior right-hander Ari Cervantes was busy in the circle this past weekend, but was solid in helping keep the Titans rolling in Stockton. Despite posting a 1-1 record, Cervantes finished the weekend with a 1.80 ERA, allowing just three earned in 11 2/3 innings pitched and holding opposing bats to a .237 average. After allowing just two unearned runs on one hit in the series opener, Cervantes tied a career-high by throwing all 10 innings in a game two victory, topping her previous season-best of nine innings (vs. Colorado State on Feb. 27). The performances helped drop her ERA under five for the first time since the end of February and she stands second on the team with a 4.86 ERA.
TITANS GO BACK-TO-BACK: Cal State Fullerton staked claim to victories in the final two games of its series with Pacific, posting back-to-back wins for only the third time this season and the first since winning a season-best three straight in a sweep of UC Santa Barbara on April 2-3. To find the only other time the Titans have won back-to-back games this season, one would have to go all the way back to February 13 when they posted wins over Southern Utah (14-1 in five innings) and 3-1 against Wisconsin on day two of the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, AZ.
TITANS REQUIRE PERFECTION: With only two regular season Big West Conference series remaining in 2010, Cal State Fullerton will need to be nearly perfect if it is to avoid finishing with the fewest wins in school history. The Titans will need to finish 6-0 in their final nine games to match the win total of the 2004 squad that finished 18-34 - the first losing season in school history.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME: Junior Torrie Anderson has been just that for the Titans this season, leading the team in both game-winning RBI (3) and game-winning runs (3). Anderson has driven home the game-winner in victories over Southern Utah, Baylor, and UC Santa Barbra while scoring the go-ahead runs against the Thunderbirds, Gauchos, and UC Riverside. In all, eight Titans have driven home the game-winning run this season - including newcomers Ariel Tsuchiyama and Natalie DeLeese last weekend in Stockton -while eight different players have come around to score the game-winning run.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE...: Or, at least, the extra 60 feet. Cal State Fullerton ranks third in the Big West Conference entering the weekend with 75 extra base hits, standing behind only Cal State Northridge (88) and UC Riverside (87) in that category. The Titans, who lead the league in home runs, also stand seventh in doubles (34) and lead the conference in triples (8).
TITANS PUT THEIR HITTING SHOES ON: Cal State Fullerton, which is hitting just .231 overall as a team this season, continues to lead the league in average since the start of conference as the Titans are tops with a .285 average. Fullerton also leads the league in slugging (.448), hits (119), and total bases (187), while also standing tied for third in on base percentage (.351), second in runs (67), and second in RBI (60).
STEADY AS SHE GOES: Senior Kadie Baldwin has been the Titans' most consistent hitter since the start of Big West Conference play, collecting hits in a team-best 11 of the team's 15 league contests and hitting .292 (14-for-48) overall against conference pitching. Almost half of her 32 hits on the season have come against Big West pitchers as she opened the league season with hits in her first four games while having a five-game streak snapped in the series finale against UC Davis on April 25.
SECOND-HALF HITTER: More than half of Torrie Anderson's team-high 40 hits have all come in the last 23 games as the junior is batting .352 (25-for-71) in that span with 18 runs scored, 16 walks, four home runs, and 10 RBI out of the lead-off spot in the lineup. Prior to that, Anderson was hitting just .217 (15-for-69) in her first 24 games of the year, despite scoring 10 runs, slugging six home runs, and driving in 15 more. Thanks to her second-half splurge, the Valencia native has raised her average 65 points during that span to .286 overall this season.
WHERE ARE WE RUNNIN'?: Apparently it's to home plate. Since the start of Big West play junior Torrie Anderson and sophomore Nicole Johnson have done that more than most players in the conference this season. Anderson leads the Big West with 14 runs scored (one of only five players entering this weekend in double digits) while Johnson is tied for third with 10 runs scored. Overall, Anderson ranks sixth in the league with 28 runs scored while Johnson's 18 runs are five shy of the top 10.
LET'S TURN TWO: The Fullerton defense has been on the ball as of late, turning a double play in four straight games and seven of its last 10. The Titans rank third in the league with 17 double plays turned this season and tied for No. 42 in the nation with 0.36 per game.