May 12, 2010
FULLERTON, CA -
FIRST PITCH: The 2010 regular season will come to an end this weekend as the Cal State Fullerton softball team (13-37 overall, 8-10 in the Big West Conference) hits the road for its final three-game series in league play, looking to play spoiler. The Titans head to second-place Cal State Northridge for a Friday afternoon (May 14) doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. at Matador Diamond with a single-game season finale on Saturday (May 15) also scheduled for 1 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 Northridge. Fans can access the links from the softball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.
"CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?": There will be no Fullerton-originated audio stream of this weekend's contests from Matador Diamond.
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 MATADORS: Cal State Northridge enters the final weekend of the regular season with a 29-21 overall record and a 13-5 mark in Big West Conference play, trailing first-place UC Davis by a single game in the standings... the Matadors are the only team in the league entering the final weekend with a winning record (UC Davis is at .500 with a 25-25 overall record)... Cal State Northridge is coming off a series sweep of UC Riverside last weekend (11-1 in 5 inn., 8-0 in 6 inn., and 7-5) and have won 12 of its last 13... Jennifer Mosier leads the team with a .379 average to go with seven doubles, five home runs, 35 runs sscored, and 20 RBI... Tracy Allen leads the team with seven home runs on the season to lead a Matador lineup that ranks second in the league behind Cal State Fullerton with 30 home runs on the season... Northridge is hitting .274 as a team and has scored a league-high 225 runs... Hannah Fraijo leads the pitching staff with a 17-7 overall record and a 2.82 ERA while Amanda Pitzenberger (8-5, 3.40), Mia Pagano (1-4, 5.09) and Debbie Duran (3-5, 5.70) have all seen innings.
SERIES RECORDS: The Titans lead the all-time series with the Matadors by a 58-30-1 count (.657) and have won five straight in the series... Fullerton swept the three-game series from Northridge last season at Anderson Family Field by the scores of 8-2, 4-3, and 3-1... the Titans took two-of-three from the Matadors in Northridge in 2008, falling in the opener, 4-0, before winning the last two games by the scores of 4-3 and 7-0... Fullerton is 21-14-1 (.597) on the road against Cal State Northridge, winning nine of the last 12 in Northridge under Head Coach Michelle Gromacki.
SOMEBODY ATE HER WHEATIES: Sophomore Morgan LeMond has put on a power display over the last two weekends, giving the Titans some pop out of the designated player spot in the lineup. All three of LeMond's home runs on the year have come in the last five games, including a pair of home runs against Long Beach State last weekend. After hitting the game-tying home run as a pinch-hitter in a 4-3 extra-inning win at Pacific on May 1, she almost brought the Titans' all the way back from a 4-0 deficit with a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh of a 4-3 loss against the 49ers. She then continued her hot hitting with a two-run shot in the first inning of game two of the nationally televised doubleheader on ESPN-U to finish with five RBI on the day - matching her entire season output to that point.
MORE WITH MORGAN: Since joining the lineup on a most-of-the-time basis on April 17 against Cal Poly, LeMond has been on a tear offensively, collecting nine of her 15 hits on the year over the last nine contests and hitting .346 (9-for-26) in that span with four runs scored and seven RBI to go along with a .692 slugging percentage. She tied her career high with three hits on April 17 at Cal Poly in the series opener and set a new career standard with three runs driven in against Long Beach State on May 8 in the first game of that series.
GABBY LETS HER BAT DO THE TALKING...: And she has had a lot to say. Since the start of Big West Conference play, freshman Gabby Aragon has found her stroke at the plate, batting a robust .395 (15-for-38) in 17 games (tops on the team), slugging .605 in league games and posting an on base percentage of .410 in that span. After playing the flex position and logging just five at bats in the Titans' first seven conference games of the year, Aragon has blossomed as a hitter, logging at least one hit in eight of her last 10 games and posting mulitple hits in six of those contests - including a career-best 3-for-3 day with three RBI in the series finale against UC Davis on April 25. In the process, Aragon has raised her average 170 points to .275 on the season, which ranks third on the team.
WALK THIS WAY: Aside from providing power from the leadoff spot in the lineup, junior Torrie Anderson has also been very patient as of late, drawing one-third of her 27 walks on the season over the course of the last seven games. Anderson, who ranks third in the league in bases on balls, has drawn at least one walk in six of those seven contests - including a career-high three free passes in game two of last weekend's series with Long Beach State - and has drawn multiple walks in a game six times this season. That has helped the junior outfielder amass a .395 on base percentage that ranks tops on the team and stands just outside the top 10 in the Big West entering the weekend.
NOTHING BY HER: Junior first baseman K.C. Craddick has ranked among the league's best defensive players all season, committing just two errors in 399 chances and ranking eighth in the league with a .995 fielding percentage. Her total chances are the most among any player in the league (35 better than UC Santa Barbara's Jessica Ziegler) while her 385 putouts are also tops in the conference (46 better than Ziegler) and her part in 12 double plays this season have her second in the league (six behind Ziegler for the lead). In Big West Conference play, Craddick has been even better, going errorless in 192 chances over 18 games and leading the league in chances (192), putouts (186), and fielding double plays (7). If the season ended today, Craddick's 2010 fielding percentage would rank seventh for a single-season while her career percentage of .990 (10 errors in 1009 chances) would stand third all time in Fullerton history.
HOMER HAPPY TITANS: Cal State Fullerton extended its home run streak to seven straight games before having its run ended in the series finale with Long Beach State last weekend. It was the longest such streak of the season for the Titans, who continue to lead the Big West Conference with 35 home runs on the year - five better than this weekend's opponent, Cal State Northridge. In fact, the home run has been the "modus operandi" for Cal State Fullerton over the last two weekends as 14 of the team's last 22 home runs have scored as a result of a home run.
"BOOM" GOES THE DYNAMITE: Individually, junior Torrie Anderson continues to lead the league with 10 home runs on the season entering the final weekend of play while sophomore Trina Harrison, who has missed the last 12 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. In all, eight different Titans have slugged home runs on the season, a total that stands tied for fourth in the league along with Cal State Northridge and UC Davis. Both Long Beach State and UC Riverside league the league with 10 home run hitters on the year while Cal Poly stands in third place with nine.
A LITTLE EXTRA "BOOM" FOR YOUR BUCK: Fullerton's 35 home runs this season have resulted in 64 runs, accounting for almost 40 percent of the team's 164 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 15 of the team's last 19 round-trippers have come with runners on base. In addition, of the 35 home runs, 15 of those have come with no outs and nine have led-off an inning.
HOME RUN DERBY?: Pitchers beware. This weekend's match-up with Cal State Northridge features the top two home run-hitting clubs in the Big West and two pitching staffs most often victimized by the long ball in the league this season. The Titans have surrendered a league-high 43 long balls this season (tied with UC Davis) while the Matadors' pitchers rank third in the league, giving up 41 home runs on the year.
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 79 extra base hits, standing behind only Cal State Northridge (96) and UC Riverside (91) in that category. The Titans, who lead the league in home runs, also stand seventh in doubles (36) and lead the conference in triples (8).
GO THREE: Fullerton's eight three-baggers this season are the most in two seasons dating back to 2008 when the Titans legged-out 11 triples. Should they triple twice this weekend at spacious Matador Diamond (200'-220'-200'), it will mark the 19th time in 31 seasons that Fullerton will have reached double-digits in that category.
THAT'S QUITE A BRUISE YOU'VE GOT THERE: Sophomore Nicole Johnson was plunked by a pitch for the 12th time this season last weekend against Long Beach State, moving her into a three-way tie for second place on the Big West leaderboards. Johnson is averaging 0.32 HBP's per game this season, which has her ranked No. 20 in the nation, while her 12 HBP's are tied for ninth on the school's single-season list. In her two seasons in a Titans uniform, Johnson has been hit a total of 21 times in her career, which puts her in eighth place all-time - just six bruises away from moving into a four-way tie for fifth place.
LABAN SHOWS IMPROVEMENT: Despite suffering the loss in the series opener against Long Beach State last weekend, freshman right-hander Katey Laban continued to show improvement after sitting out all of 2009 following shoulder surgery. She worked into the seventh inning for only the second time this season against the 49ers, holding Long Beach State to just six hits and stranding seven runners on base before the 49ers rallied in the seventh, and accomplished the feat for the second time in her last three starts that included a complete-game effort in a victory over UC Davis on April 25. Dating back to mid-March, Laban has seen her ERA improve drastically on a week-to-week basis, falling more than four runs over a span of nine appearances from an 11.42 ERA on March 14 to a 7.05 ERA entering this weekend's action, while six of her nine starts this season have been decided by three runs or fewer.
SECOND-HALF HITTER: More than half of Torrie Anderson's team-high 40 hits have all come in the last 26 games as the junior is batting .321 (25-for-78) in that span with 20 runs scored, 20 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 55 points during that span to .272 overall this season.
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.
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 (4). 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, UC Riverside, and Long Beach State. In all, nine Titans have driven home the game-winning run this season - including newcomers Ariel Tsuchiyama, Natalie DeLeese, and Gabby Aragon - while eight different players have come around to score the game-winning run.
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 12 of the team's 18 league contests and hitting .281 (16-for-57) overall against conference pitching. Almost half of her 34 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.
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 ranks second in the Big West with 16 runs scored while Johnson is one of three players tied for ninth with 11 runs scored. Overall, Anderson ranks tied for fourth in the league with 30 runs scored while Johnson's 19 runs are seven shy of the top 10.