FULLERTON, Calif. - The Cal State Fullerton softball team continues its home stand hosting a Big West three-game series against UC Riverside this weekend. The teams will meet in a doubleheader on Saturday, Apr. 12 at 4 and 6 p.m. and will conclude the series on Sunday, Apr. 13 at 12 p.m. at Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, Calif.
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I NEED STATS, STAT: Live stats will be provided for all games this week. To access live stats for the games, go to www.FullertonTitans.com and go to the softball schedule page then click live stats.
AT THE BREAK WITH HEAD COACH KELLY FORD: FullertonTitans.com sat down with Titans softball Head Coach Kelly Ford to look back on the first 38 games into the season and aspirations on upcoming Big West play heading into a possible postseason run.
TV SCHEDULE CHANGES VS LBSU: In order to accommodate tv broadcasts on ESPNU/ESPN3, the Titans upcoming three-game series with the Long Beach State has been revised to the following dates and times: Wednesday, April 16 first pitch 4 p.m. (ESPNU); Thursday, April 17 doubleheader 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (ESPN3). All games will be contested at Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, Calif.
ARE YOU LISTENING? WATCH ME NOW: Cal State Fullerton home softball contests will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. The Titans also offer live streaming video for home softball contests over the Internet courtesy of the Big West TV. Fans can catch all the exclusive action from the comfort of their home computers. To access the links, click on the audio or live video link on the schedule page.
IN THE POLLS: In the ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches and USA Today/NFCA Coaches polls, neither the Titans or Highlanders are currently ranked.
SIZING UP IN THE RPI: The Titans currently rank 45th in the nation in Rating Percentage Index (RPI). RPI measures a team's wins and losses and its strength of schedule. Fullerton has played against three teams currently ranked in the top-10 and against eight teams in the top-25.
TITANS VERSUS RANKED TEAMS*
DATE OPPONENT LOCATION RESULT
FEB. 7 No. 2 Oklahoma Fullerton, Calif. W, 3-1
FEB. 15 No. 23 California San Diego, Calif. L, 4-5
FEB. 21 No. 15 Baylor Palm Springs, Calif. W, 6-1
FEB. 21 No. 23 LSU Palm Springs, Calif. L, 1-8
FEB. 22 No. 24 Notre Dame Palm Springs, Calif. L, 0-8
FEB. 25 No. 2 Tennessee Fullerton, Calif. L, 4-8
MAR. 8 No. 14 Nebraska Fullerton, Calif. L, 2-9
MAR. 8 No. 7 Arizona Fullerton, Calif. L, 0-15
APR. 10 No. 2 UCLA Fullerton, Calif. L, 2-5
*Ranking when game occurred
ABOUT UC RIVERSIDE: Last week, the Highlanders lost consecutive series with Big West opponents Hawai'i and Long Beach State. Translating into a current six-game losing streak, UC Riverside was outscored 49-15 over that span. Marking an overall record of 19-20, the Highlanders enter Anderson Family Field with a road record of 1-5 and are still looking for their first Big West win of the season (0-6).
IN THE CIRCLE WITH UC RIVERSIDE: Junior Alyssa Razo leads the pitching staff, starting 26 games in 31 appearances while tossing 129 innings over that span. The right-hander has chalked up seven complete games on the season while producing 90 strikeouts. Posting an ERA of (3.36), the native from Salinas, Calif., marks a 10-11 record heading into the weekend. Sophomore Sophie Slagle has chipped in another nine starts for the Highlanders, posting a (4.89) ERA over 67 and 1/3 innings. The right-hander has surrendered a total of 87 hits and 47 earned runs on the season, to go along with 21 strikeouts.
AT THE PLATE WITH UC RIVERSIDE: Sophomore Ashley Ercolano heads the offensive attack for the Highlanders, posting a (.358) batting avg. while chipping in 39 hits and seven home runs. The native from Poway, Calif., has drove in 17 RBI, scored 14 runs and manufactured five doubles. Senior Dionne Anderson makes a living on the base paths, stealing 34 bases on 37 attempts on the year. Anderson also leads the team in triples (3), hits (44), batting avg. (.389), runs scored (28) and base on balls (22).
MILESTONES: After capturing a total of 500 wins as a Head Coach between Mt. SAC JC and Cal State Fullerton earlier this year, Kelly Ford chalked up another milestone this past week. The Portland, Ore., native captured her 50th win at the Division I level when Cal State Fullerton defeated Hawai'i, 5-3, on Apr. 4 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
WE'VE GOT OUR HANDS TIED: Due to darkness and the lack of lights at Bakersfield on Mar. 26, the Titans and the Roadrunners finished the game in a 10-10 tie. This was the first decision of this type since Feb. 17 of 2008 when Cal State Fullerton and the Texas Longhorns ended in a 4-4 tie.
GRAND SLAM BREAKFAST: Fullerton opened up conference play with two victories against UC Santa Barbara including an 11-7 come-from-behind thriller in the Titans annual Pink Day game on Mar. 30. Taukeiaho blasted a grand slam in the third inning to erase a five-run lead while Samantha Galarza launched another four-bagger to break a 7-7 tie to stun the Gauchos and capture the series. The slugfest remarkably produced three total grand slams as UCSB accounted for another.
OUTBURST IN THE FIRST: The Titans offense manufactured seven hits en route to a season-high seven run opening frame against UC Santa Barbara on Mar. 29. The first inning barrage included two doubles and two sacrifice flys en route to a 10-0 shutout over the Gauchos.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL: Fullerton has played exceptional in the field marking a (.966) fielding percentage, good for second-best in the Big West. The Titans post the second-lowest errors total with 38 on the season, 15 less than the league leader UC Riverside with 53. Out of the nine individuals in all of the Big West who own a (1.000) fielding percentage, four wear a Titans uniform, Crawford, Harris, Mario and Jena Rubio.
STREAKIN' ALONG: Transfer Taukeiaho has raked a career-high nine game hitting streak while reaching base in a team-high 15 consecutive games. Batting from the lead off position in all 39 games, the sophomore is posting a (.517) on base percentage to go along with a (.803) slugging percentage. Senior outfielder Lauren Mario is also on a career-high nine game hitting streak. A trio of Titans mark six game hitting streaks heading into the weekend: Ariel Tsuchiyama, Leesa Harris and Carissa Turang.
THE BEST BALL IS THE LONG BALL: In 2014, Cal State Fullerton is second in the Big West in home runs with 43 for the season. Leading the way for the Titans is Taukeiaho with 13 round-trippers, followed closely by Crawford with nine long balls. Fullerton trails Hawai'i (44) and leads Long Beach State (33) for overall home run totals.
GOOD EYE, GOOD EYE: Cal State Fullerton leads the Big West in drawing base on balls with 119 as a team, 10 more than the nearest competitor Long Beach State with 109. Four Titans have eclipsed double-digits in walks, Taukeiaho with 23, Eliza Crawford with 17, Ariel Tsuchiyama registering 16 and Gabby Aragon has drawn 12 free passes.
ICE VEINS AT THE PLATE: Five different Titans have provided a game-winning RBI to help create a lead that was never surrendered by Fullerton. Taukeiaho and Aragon lead the team with seven game-winning RBI hits apiece, respectively. The pair is followed by Eliza Crawford (3), Samantha Galarza (2), Melissa Sechrest (2), Leesa Harris (1) and Lauren Mario (1). Amongst the 18 hits in total, 10 of those are of home run fashion.
BIG WEST OUTLOOK: The Titans were picked to finish third in the Big West Conference in 2014 as selected by the eight head coaches in the annual preseason poll. Defending conference champion Hawai'i, collected four first place votes and 59 points overall and are favored to repeat after making a big splash in 2013 by capturing the crown in their return to the Big West after a 16 season hiatus. Runner-up in the polls was Long Beach State who garnered three first place votes and 55 overall. UC Santa Barbara was fourth in the polls with 40 points, while UC Davis rounded out the top five at 30 points:
1. Hawai'i (4), 59
2. Long Beach State (3), 55
3. Cal State Fullerton (1), 46
4. UC Santa Barbara, 40
5. UC Davis, 30
6. Cal Poly, 25
7. Cal State Northridge, 24
8. UC Riverside, 9
TITANS REWIND: Fullerton finished third in the Big West race a season ago with a 13-11 mark in conference play to go along with a 28-28 overall record. The Titans return six position starters and three pitchers while welcoming 18 newcomers to the fold for the 2014 season. Leading the way for returners is senior catcher Tsuchiyama, an all-conference first-team selection who hit .323 to go along with 50 hits and 25 runs batted in. In the circle, sophomore Antunez returns after earning the Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors a season ago, finishing 18-14 with a 2.58 ERA, 174 strikeouts and even a no-hitter on her resume vs. UNLV.
NEWCOMERS: Although the 2014 Titans return dynamic seniors Jena Rubio, Leesa Harris, Gabby Aragon, Lauren Mario and Ariel Tsuchiyama, there are plenty of young talent on this seasons roster. Coach Kelly Ford's team consists of eight freshmen, six of which are position players and the remaining two on the pitching staff. Freshman Christina Washington is looking to have a promising season pitching in the circle, alongside now sophomore Jasmine Antunez who had similar expectations one year ago. Three Titans have transferred to the 2014 team, one being to watch is University of Washington transfer Taukeiaho. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native is looking to make an immediate impact to the offensive potency of the 2014 Titans.