Titans Hit the Road at No. 9 UCLA and UC Riverside

Titans Hit the Road at No. 9 UCLA and UC Riverside

Weekly Release Adobe PDF icon

Cal State Fullerton (25-15, 3-3 Big West) at No. 9/8 UCLA (31-8, 6-3 Pac-12)   
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 | 2:00 PM 
Los Angeles, Calif. • Easton Stadium 
Game Coverage: Live Stats | UCLA Release | CSF Release Adobe PDF icon     

Cal State Fullerton (25-15, 3-3 Big West) at UC Riverside (31-10, 3-3 Big West) - (DH) 
Saturday, April 11, 2015 | 12:00 PM/2:00 PM 
Riverside, Calif. • Amy S. Harrison Field 
Game 1 Coverage: Live Stats | UCR Release Adobe PDF icon  | CSF Release Adobe PDF icon     
Game 2 Coverage: Live Stats | UCR Release Adobe PDF icon  | CSF Release Adobe PDF icon     

Cal State Fullerton at UC Riverside 
Sunday, April 12, 2015 | 12:00 PM 
Riverside, Calif. • Amy S. Harrison Field 
Game Coverage: Live Stats | UCR Release Adobe PDF icon  | CSF Release Adobe PDF icon     

The Cal State Fullerton softball team begins the week with a non-conference tilt at No. 9 UCLA on Wednesday at Easton Stadium in Los Angeles. The Titans then continue Big West play traveling to UC Riverside for a three-game set this weekend at Amy S. Harrison Field. The Titans and Highlanders will open up competition with a doubleheader on Saturday, followed by a single-game on Sunday to conclude the series.  

Cal State Fullerton softball tickets are on sale for the 2015 campaign. Three types of items are available, single game tickets, tournament packages or, the best deal, the season ticket that includes all regular-season tournaments along with individual games. For details about all three ticket types, fans may click here. Always keep in mind that there are special opportunities for groups and promotional activities at Anderson Family Field (softball) and at Goodwin Field (baseball).

Cal State Fullerton students receive free admission to Titan home games with their Titan I.D. card. 

Fans can keep up with the latest in Cal State Fullerton athletics by following us on Facebook (Facebook.com/FullertonTitans), Twitter (@FullertonTitans), Instagram (FullertonTitans) and YouTube.com (Youtube.com/CSFAthletics). In addition, the softball team has established its own official Facebook (Facebook.com/csufsoftball), Twitter (@CSUFSoftball), and Instagram (csufsoftball) accounts.

Live stats will be provided for all games this weekend. To access live stats for the games, log ontowww.FullertonTitans.com and go to the softball schedule then click live stats. Links are also provided above.

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 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.

Sitting at 25-15 overall and heading into the third weekend of conference play at UCR, the Titans are the Big West's third highest ranked team in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) at No. 56. RPI measures a team's wins and losses and its strength of schedule. Fullerton has competed with four teams currently ranked in the top 10 including No. 1 LSU and against six squads in the top 25.  

The No. 9/8 Bruins post a 31-8 record after garnering back-to-back Pac-12 series victories against Utah (W, 1-0, W, 4-2, W, 6-0) and Washington (W, 10-3, W, 8-4, L, 6-2) before dropping two of three at home against No. 1 Oregon (W, 8-1, L, 6-4, L, 10-0) this past weekend. UCLA also notched seven victories in the last 10 games to compliment a 15-4 home record at Easton Stadium. The UCLA offense has been headlined by Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native Delaney Spaulding, who is batting at a clip of .387 with six long balls, 38 RBIs, 14 doubles and 39 runs scored. The sophomore infielder also boasts a .712 slugging percentage. Junior outfielder Allexis Bennett adds a lot of speed to the base paths as the Corona, Calif. native has swiped 13-of-15 steal attempts to add to her team-highs of average (.500), hits (55) and on-base percentage (.525). In the circle, UCLA posts an impressive 2.13 ERA as a pitching staff, while 2014 NFCA First Team All-American Ally Carda has done the bulk of the pitching, tallying a 17-4 record paired with a 1.80 ERA, and 10 complete games over 132 and 1/3 frames. The right-hander has limited opponents to a nearly unhittable .148 average while fanning 192 batters thus far into the 2015 campaign. Carda is joined by right-handed freshmen Johanna Grauer (6-1, 2.55 ERA, 57 and 2/3 innings, two complete games), and Selina Ta'amilo (5-2, 2.94 ERA, 50 innings, 49 strikeouts). The Bruins have a 40-33-1 edge on the Titans in the all-time series with a 18-13-1 mark in Los Angeles. The two squads have an extensive history in the postseason, with UCLA chalking up a 9-2 record in the NCAA Regionals and 3-2 in the Women's College World Series. The Bruins have won eight of the last 10 including a 5-2 decision last season in Fullerton on April 10. The last time CSF tasted victory at Easton Stadium was in 2013 with an 11-3 win on Feb. 26. 

UC Riverside (31-10) enters the weekend being victors of seven of its last 10 including a series win over Big West opponent Long Beach State, 2-1, after notching decisions of 3-2 (10 innings), and 3-2. The Highlanders dropped the final game of the series to LBSU, 4-1, but are tied with the Titans in third place at 3-3 in conference play. In the circle, the UCR pitching staff is led by three-time Big West Pitcher of the Week Chelsea Ponce. The right-hander posts a 23-6 record to go along with a 1.14 ERA over 177 and 1/3 innings of work. The native of Norwalk, Calif. has registered 13 complete games, while fanning 134 batters to compliment opposing batters hitting at a dismal .181 clip. UCR's offense has been led by sophomore infielder Haley Harris who tallies team-highs in runs (31), triples (5), total bases (66), stolen bases (10) and on-base percentage (.429). Harris also earned Big West Field Player of the Week honors on March 23. Freshman pitcher Rebecca Faulkner is also a strong contributor to the UCR offense, logging team-highs in doubles (6), home runs (6), RBIs (32) and slugging percentage (.559). The Titans own a 33-10 all-time record against the Highlanders, posting a dominating mark of 18-2 in Riverside. In conference meetings, Fullerton hoists a 27-8 overall record and a 15-2 road tally. The Titans have captured the last six of 10 including a three-game sweep at UCR, 11-0, 3-1, and 4-1 in 2013. 

Since being inserted into the starting lineup on Feb. 26, freshman Sammie Vandiver has torched opposing pitching by logging at least one hit in every contest with her hitting-streak sitting at 24 games. Vandiver's remarkable streak is the longest for any Titan since at least the 1989 season when complete box scores became available. Batting from the left-side, Vandiver passed Marci White who logged a hit in 18 straight games from April 3-May 3, 1993. The left fielder has 13 multi-hit games and three multi-RBI outings on the season. In 34 games played (24 starts), the Huntington Beach, Calif. native turns in a .532 average, 23 runs scored, 41 hits, slugging percentage of .584, while adding four stolen bases in four attempts.  

Reigning Big West Player of the Year and 2014 Third Team All-American Missy Taukeiaho launched her team-high ninth home run of the season in a 7-2 victory over Hawai'i in game one of a doubleheader on April 4. Transferring from the University of Washington following her freshman campaign, the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native now has 28 career round-trippers at Fullerton, placing herself in a tie with Torrie Anderson for fifth place in the program record books. Next up on the list is Monica Lucatero (1999-2002) with 29 long-balls and Ashley Van Boxmeer (2005-07) with 32 in fourth and third place, respectively. 

Cal State Fullerton senior Eliza Crawford led the Titans to a 2-1 series victory at UC Santa Barbara to open Big West play. The native of Lakewood, Calif. posted a .462 average (6-for-13), drove in 10 runs and slugged 1.154 over the weekend. After dropping the first game to the Gauchos, Crawford responded with a 2-for-3 effort in game two, logging one triple and three RBIs in an 8-4 win. The first baseman's best performance came in the rubber match, going 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs and a career-high five RBIs in a 15-5 rout of UCSB to clinch the series.

CSF juniors Courtney Rodriguez and Missy Taukeiaho are first and third in the conference standings in highest batting average with clips of .418 and .406, respectively. Rodriguez is also the current Big West frontrunner in hits (59), while her six triples is tied for fifth in the national rankings trailing LSU's A.J. Andrews (8) and a host of student-athletes with seven. Taukeiaho posts impressive marks in the offensive categories of on-base percentage (.512), slugging percentage (.760), runs (28), and walks (22). 

Oregon State transfer Kylie Padilla has transitioned nicely as the everyday catcher, leading the Big West Conference in runners thrown out with eight on the season. Opposing runners have tested the arm of Padilla making an attempt on 25 occasions, but the Chino, Calif. native has limited the thieves to a 68% succession rate with accurate throws and good decisions. 

Following a 3-0 decision over Nebraska on March 15, Cal State Fullerton captured three consecutive shutout victories for the first time since the 2002 campaign when the Titans swept a three-game set against Big West foe UC Riverside by a combined score of 31-0 from April 27-28. CSF pitching had posted 26 straight scoreless innings before surrendering a run to Charleston Southern in the sixth inning of a 5-1 victory also on March 15. 

Courtney Rodriguez has used her speed on the base paths to disrupt opposing pitchers in swiping a team-high eight bags thus far into the 2015 campaign. In an 8-4 victory over Buffalo on March 17, Rodriguez tied a program record by stealing three bases, joining Torrie Anderson (at UC Riverside, April 4, 2009) as the only Titans to accomplish such a feat in any single game since complete box scores were available in 1989.

Cal State Fullerton leads the Big West Conference with a .975 fielding percentage which is also the 18th best mark in the nation. The Titans have surrendered only 29 errors, which is a league low. The Fullerton pitching and defense has forced opponents to hit into a conference best 18 double plays through 40 games, while freshman Shianne Brannan and junior Missy Taukeiaho are also first and fourth in the league with the most assists, notching 98 and 83, respectively. 

A trio of Titans have reached base in eight or more consecutive games as Sammie Vandiver leads the group at 24 games, followed by Missy Taukeiaho (16) and Sarah Moore (8). 

The Fullerton offense is hitting at all cylinders so to speak, being in the top three in conference ranks for team batting average (.316), slugging percentage (.436), on-base percentage (.401), hits (332), RBIs (192), doubles (51), total bases (458) and triples (9).

After the first few weekends of Big West competition, the Titans' batters have posted a conference low 117 strikeouts to opposing pitchers.  Currently, Hawai'i (211), CSUN (169) and Long Beach State (154) have fanned on the most occasions. Fullerton also boasts league second bests in walks (122)  and runs scored with 212 on the season.  

The Titans have dominated on both sides of the field in the fifth inning limiting opponents to a combined 20 runs while the Fullerton bats have managed to bring across 40 runs in the same frame. In contrast, the Titans have been outscored in the seventh frame 30-16, worst of any inning. 

Head coach Kelly Ford has inked 26 different batting line-ups in 40 games thus far into the season. The order of Vandiver, Rippy, Rodriguez, Moore, Crawford, Ybarra, Padilla, Galarza and Brannan has proved to be the most consistent, appearing in five occasions. 

In a back and forth game versus No. 21 Notre Dame an unlikely hero emerged in Fullerton, Calif., native Gabby Rodas. While the heated contest was littered with five home runs, in the bottom of the seventh with the bases-loaded and the game tied 7-7, Rodas fouled off multiple pitches until  she earned a walk to drive in the game-winning RBI in stunning fashion.  

As if a bases-loaded walk was an unorthodox scenario to walk-off an opponent, the Titans once again manufactured a way to win in epic proportions against Oklahoma State on Feb. 22. With Missy Taukeiaho standing on second base and in scoring position, Sarah Moore stayed patient on a 3-1 count in the bottom of the seventh to draw a walk. The unique aspect of this is that the ball four was airmailed over the catcher for a wild pitch, and Taukeiaho rounded third to slide home safely and shock the Cowgirls and seal the 6-5 walk-off victory. 

FEB. 7 - No. 21 Notre Dame - Fullerton, Calif. - W, 8-7
FEB. 8 - No. 21 Notre Dame - Fullerton, Calif. - L, 2-7
FEB. 19 - No. 18 Missouri - Palm Springs, Calif. - L, 2-10
FEB. 19 - No. 14 LSU - Palm Springs, Calif. - L, 0-8
FEB. 21 - No. 23 Texas A&M - Palm Springs, Calif. - L, 1-2
MAR. 4 - No. 3 Michigan - Fullerton, Calif. - L, 0-9
MAR. 5 - No. 22 Arizona State - Fullerton, Calif. - L, 3-10
MAR. 6 - No. 14 Auburn - Fullerton, Calif. - W, 3-2

*Ranking when game occurred

Over the prestigious Judi Garman Classic weekend, the Titans set a single-tournament record for attendance at Anderson Family Field with 2,286 fans attending day three's action on March 7 breaking the previous mark of 2,096 vs. Fresno State on March 21, 2008 also at the Judi Garman Classic. 

Following a sweep in day one of the SoCal Collegiate Challenge over No. 21 Notre Dame, 8-7, and Northwestern State, 6-4, Cal State Fullerton eclipsed the 1,400-win mark in program history with a record of 1,400-727-6 (.656). Over the 36-plus year history of the program,  the Titans have captured one national championship (1986), eight conference championships (1986-87, 1993, 2000-03, 2006), 25 NCAA tournament appearances (1982-96, 1999-03, 2005-09), made six Women's College World Series appearances (1982-83, 1985-87, 1995), while producing 29 All-Americans for 38 selections.

The Titans were picked to finish second in the Big West Conference in 2015 as selected by the eight head coaches in the annual preseason poll. Cal State Fullerton received three first-place votes and 56 points overall. Long Beach State is the favorite to repeat as Big West Softball champions as the 49ers secured four first-place votes and 59 points for the top nod this season. Cal Poly garnered the remaining first-place vote and collected 50 points for third place.

1. Long Beach State (4) - 59       
2. Cal State Fullerton (3) - 56   
3. Cal Poly (1) - 50      
4. UC Santa Barbara - 40  
5. Hawai'i - 31
6. CSUN - 24
7. UC Davis - 24
8. UC Riverside - 9

() First-place votes

For the first time in recent memory, head coach Kelly Ford has designated juniors Missy Taukeiaho, Samantha Galarza and the lone senior on the squad, Eliza Crawford, as team captains. 

Decorated with national recogniton, Taukeiaho was a menace to opposing pitchers from the leadoff spot as she hammered a conference-leading 19 home runs. The performance placed her at No. 2 in Big West single-season history, trailing only former CSF slugger Stephenie Little, who owns the record with 23 round trippers in 1999. The third baseman also set a Big West single-season record with 62 runs scored, and landed at No. 6 in RBI (51) and No. 9 in average (.429). The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native produced 21 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI games. 

In 2014, Galarza was one of two players to start all 55 games totaling 54 hits, five home runs, 24 runs scored and 29 RBIs. Recognized as a member of the All-Big West Second Team, she batted a clip of .329, collecting 75 total bases, six doubles, three stolen bags and a slugging percentage of (.457). The Moreno Valley, Calif., native also shows a strong showing in the classroom being tabbed on the 2013-14 CoSIDA Academic All-District squad with a 3.95 GPA as a communications major. 

Coming in the clutch with five game-winning RBIs last season, Crawford launched a career-high 12 home runs en route to 36 RBIs, 82 total bases and 23 walks. The Lakewood, Calif., native concluded the year in the conference's top-five in home runs, sacrifice flies (3), and slugging percentage (.607). The first baseman also became the first Titan since 1996 to post a perfect fielding percentage of 1.000 (minimum of 100 chances), refusing to surrender an error in 176 chances.   

Cal State Fullerton consists of nine freshman, six of which are position players and the remaining three on the pitching staff. Rookie Shianne Brannan is looking to have a promising season at the shortstop position, filling the void of the graduated Gabby Aragon. A quartet of Titans have transferred to the 2015 team, with all four in contention to crack the starting lineup or make an immediate impact. 

University of Arizona junior transfer Courtney Rodriguez looks to make a big splash in the outfield, while Oregon St. sophomore transfer Kylie Padilla will be leaned on for catcher duties as she also looks to fill another void in graduated Ariel Tsuchiyama. 

Missouri junior transfer Sarah Moore will support the outfield, while Padilla's OSU teammate, sophomore Lexi Gonzalez, is expected to aid the Titans in multiple facets. 

Cal State Fullerton head softball coach Kelly Ford announced the promotion of Jorge Araujo to the role of first assistant coach and Claire Sua-Amundson as an assistant coach in mid-August. Araujo enters his third season as an assistant on the softball staff where he will continue to be the recruiting coordinator and defensive specialist for the team. 

Sua-Amundson joins the Fullerton softball staff after completing her third season with the Stanford softball program, and her second as the associate head coach. Last season, Sua-Amundson helped lead Stanford to a 39-21 overall record and a fourth-place finish in the Pac-12 Conference (13-11). The Cardinal finished the season with a No. 21/22 final national ranking. Under her guidance, the Cardinal made their 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

Six Titans garnered 2014 conference honors including Missy Taukeiaho who became the 11th Titan in program history to capture Big West Player of the Year.  To cap off the season, Taukeiaho garnered third team NFCA All-American status, while recently being named on the USA Softball Top 50 "Watch List" for national player of the year consideration.

CSF's Ariel Tsuchiyama joined Taukeiaho on the All-Big West First Team followed by Leesa Harris and Samantha Galarza on the second team, Eliza Crawford as an honorable mention, and Christina Washington on the conference's inaugural All-Freshman Team. A quartet of all-conference honorees return for the 2015 campaign in Crawford, Galarza, Taukeiaho, and Washington.

Head softball coach Kelly Ford announced that three area prep athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to play softball for the Cal State Fullerton Titans. Sydney Golden, Raeanne Martinez and Ariana Williams all hail from California and will begin their careers with the Titans at the beginning of the 2015-16 academic school year. 

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