UC Davis Visits to Close Out Regular Season

May 10, 2012

FULLERTON, CA -

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THIS WEEK...
UC Davis at Cal State Fullerton
Friday-Saturday, May 11-12, 2012
Fullerton, Calif. | Anderson Family Field
GAME COVERAGE:
GAME 1: Friday, May 11, 4 p.m. - Gametracker | Audio | Video
GAME 2: Friday, May 11, 6 p.m. - Gametracker | Audio | Video
GAME 3: Saturday, May 12, 12 p.m. - Gametracker | Audio | Video

BATTER UP!: Eliminated from postseason possibility following a sweep last weekend, the Cal State Fullerton softball team (19-29 overall, 7-11 in the Big West Conference) will now look to play spoiler as the Titans host UC Davis in a season-ending three-game series at Anderson Family Field. The series kicks-off with a doubleheader on Friday evening (May 11) at 4 p.m. and concludes with a single game on Saturday (May 12) at 12 p.m. Fullerton's senior class of Nicole Johnson, Morgan LeMond, Adriana Martinez, and Anissa Young will be honored prior to Saturday's first pitch as part of "Senior Day" ceremonies at approximately 11:45 a.m.

IN THE POLLS: Neither Cal State Fullerton nor UC Davis 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. All three of this weekend's games will be broadcast live.

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.

SENIOR DAY: Cal State Fullerton has sent its seniors off on a high note on a regular basis over the years, posting a 23-9 all-time record in regular season home finales, including a 9-3 record under Head Coach Michelle Gromacki. The Titans will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak (and reverse a trend of three losses in their last four home finales) on "Senior Day," however, after falling to Long Beach State (2010) and Cal State Northridge (2011) the last two seasons.

ABOUT UC DAVIS: The Aggies enter the weekend with a 22-27 overall record and a 12-6 mark in Big West Conference play... UC Davis is in a three-way tie for second place, two games behind league-leading Long Beach State with three to play... the Aggies took two-of-three from Pacific last weekend to put themselves in a position for the conference title and have won their last three Big West series since dropping two-of-three to the 49ers on April 14-15... Rachel Miller leads the UC Davis offense, batting .276 with 10 doubles, four home runs and 25 RBI... the Aggies are hitting just .230 (sixth in the Big West) as a team, but boast one of the league's top hurlers in freshman Justine Vela, who is 18-12 with a 2.16 ERA and 248 strikeouts in 184.1 innings... opponents are hitting just .199 against Vela and .247 against UC Davis overall.

SERIES NOTES: Cal State Fullerton is 15-6 overall against UC Davis in the all-time series, having won three of the last four, including taking two-of-three in Davis last season... the two programs have split their four Big West series against one another with each team taking two series on the other's home field... the two teams last met in Fullerton in 2010 with UC Davis taking the first two games by the scores of 5-2 and 7-4 before the Titans rebounded with a 6-3 win in the finale... the Titans are 4-5 against the Aggies at home, but are 11-1 against UC Davis in Northern California... Fullerton leads the series, 7-5, since both have been members of the Big West Conference.

CRAWFORD DIALS LONG DISTANCE: Redshirt freshman Eliza Crawford finished last week with just two hits, but they were milestones for the Titans' designated player as Crawford slugged the first two home runs of her brief Cal State Fullerton career against San Diego State and Cal State Fullerton. Her first long ball came in the fourth inning against the Aztecs, a three-run shot to centerfield that keyed a four-run inning for the Titans after San Diego State had opened with a six-run second inning. Crawford's second long ball was a solo shot against the 49ers on national television in game two of a doubleheader.

CAN'T NOBODY HOLD HER DOWN: Senior Anissa Young gave opposing pitchers fits last week, leading the Titans' offense with a .571 average while reaching base in nine of her 12 plate appearances on the weekend. Young posted a 1.000 slugging percentage thanks to her team-best ninth home run of the season in the opener against Long Beach State and registered a .750 on base percentage after she walked four times and was hit by a pitch -- three of those walks coming in game two against the 49ers when she was also beaned.

HOMER HAPPY TITANS: Cal State Fullerton's offense has slugged at least one home run in seven of the last 10 contests, including long balls in three-straight contests last week before being shutout in the finale against Long Beach State. Fullerton's 25 home runs are tied for second in the conference heading into this weekend's contests against UC Davis, which has allowed a league-low 22 home runs this season.

HOW DO YOU SPELL RELIEF? G-A-R-C-I-A...: Freshman left-hander Vanessa Garcia has been vital out of the bullpen for the Titans this season and did her best to keep her side in the game last week. Garcia did not allow an earned run in five innings of relief, scattering just five hits while holding opposing batters to a .263 average in three appearances against San Diego State and Long Beach State. It hasn't been a "fly-by-night" occurance, either. Over her last five games, Garcia has surrendered a single earned run on nine hits on 8.2 innings (0.81 ERA), holding opponents to a .265 average and lowering her overall ERA nearly four runs to 6.23 on the year.

NUMBER NINE: Sophomore Leesa Harris has excelled as, essentially, the Titans' second lead-off hitter in the No. 9 spot in the lineup, posting hits in eight of the team's last 11 games, including a quintet of two-hit performances. Over that stretch, Harris is batting a robust .433 (13-for-30) with four runs scored, three RBI, and her only two doubles of the season while also swiping three bases to bring her season total to a career-high 13 stolen bases.

PERFECTION: Not that we're trying to jinx anybody here, but senior first baseman Anissa Young is on track for a perfect 2012 season defensively, having not made an error in 292 chances. Only two other Titans have finished with perfect seasons in the field (minimum 100 chances): Kim Powers, a catcher, in 1992 and Monica Bagalayos, a utility infielder, in 1996. This season, Young is the only player in the Big West Conference, entering this weekend, who is errorless with more than 200 chances under her belt.

HEY THERE, SLUGGER!: Senior Nicole Johnson enters the weekend slugging .664 on the season -- a percentage that would rank seventh on the school's single-season list if the 2012 campaign ended today. It would be the highest mark for a Titan hitter since All-American Jenny Topping slugged .722 as a senior in 2003. Johnson's slugging ranks second in the Big West Conference entering the weekend, helped out by her 12 doubles (second in the league) and eight home runs (third in the conference). Career wise, Johnson's .538 slugging percentage would rank fifth on the school's all-time list.

DON'T RUN ON THESE ARMS: Cal State Fullerton's outfield trio of Leesa Harris, Ashley Carter, and Jena Rubio have been on target in mowing down baserunners this season as Carter and Rubio have each tallied eight outfield assists this season with Harris close behind at 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 tied for fifth in the NCAA) with 26 double plays entering this week's contests while also ranking No. 4 in the nation this week at 0.54 double plays per game.

IRON WOMAN: After Leesa Harris was forced to sit out the series finale against Long Beach State last weekend, junior outfielder Ashley Carter was left as the only Titan to start all 48 games at the same position on defense this season and is also the only player to hold on to her same spot in the batting order, hitting leadoff in all 48 contests this season.

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 45 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 two more bruises to tie Amanda Hockett (2000-03) for second place and 11 more HBPs to match Crystal Vieyra's school record of 56 accumulated from 2005-08.

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

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.

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 29 defeats, however, Fullerton is batting just .221 with a 7.34 ERA, and 46 errors while being outscored, 233-65.

Ashley Carter... PROFESSIONAL HITTER: With her seventh-inning single against the Matadors in game two on April 28, 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.

"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 52 hits, 26 runs, and 17 RBI while batting a career-best .323 on the season. She ranks fourth in the Big West Conference in hits and tied for ninth in runs scored while standing just outside the top 10 in average. Her two hits in game two against 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 on April 28, moving into sole possession of seventh place on the school's single-season list at 17-for-19 and needing 10 more to match Jstone Vines' record of 27 set in 1994. The 17 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 36 for her career -- just one 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 her 13th base (in 16 attempts) in the series opener against Cal State Northridge on April 28, joining teammate Adri Martinez (17-for-19) in double figures in that category this season. Until 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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