Titans Begin Crucial Stretch at UC Davis This Weekend

Titans Begin Crucial Stretch at UC Davis This Weekend

Weekly Release Adobe PDF icon

Cal St. Fullerton (30-20, 8-7 Big West) at UC Davis (17-26, 5-10 Big West) - (DH) 
Saturday, May 2, 2015 | 12:00 PM/2:00 PM 
Davis, Calif. • La Rue Field   
Game 1 Coverage: Live Stats | UCD Audio | UCD Release Adobe PDF icon CSF Release Adobe PDF icon    
Game 2 Coverage: Live Stats | UCD Audio | UCD Release Adobe PDF icon CSF Release Adobe PDF icon       

Cal St. Fullerton at UC Davis
Sunday, May 3, 2015 | 12:00 PM 
Davis, Calif. • La Rue Field  
Game Coverage: Live Stats | UCD Audio | UCD Release Adobe PDF icon CSF Release Adobe PDF icon        

With six conference games left and one game behind second place, the Cal State Fullerton softball team begins a three-game series this weekend at Big West foe UC Davis at La Rue Stadium. The Titans and Aggies will play a doubleheader at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, while concluding with the series finale at 12 p.m. on Sunday.

For details about softball tickets, fans may click here. Always keep in mind that there are special opportunities for groups and promotional activities at Anderson Family Field.

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 onto www.FullertonTitans.com and go to the softball schedule then click live stats.

In the USA Today/NFCA Coaches and ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches polls, neither the Titans or Aggies are in the top 25.

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 30-20 heading into the last few weekends of conference play, the Titans are the Big West's third highest ranked team in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) at No. 55. 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. 3 Michigan and against eight squads in the top 25.  

UC Davis (17-26, 5-10) enters the weekend with four consecutive losses including being swept at Big West opponent UC Riverside, 1-0, 5-2 and 5-3. Prior to that, the Aggies fell to Pacific in a single-game non-conference matchup, 8-2. The Titans (30-20, 8-7) sit in third in the conference standings and are three games up in the loss column over the sixth-place Aggies.

UCD's offense has been led by senior infielder Amy Nunez who tallies team highs in doubles (9), RBIs (24), and total bases (53) to compliment her .286 batting average. Junior Christa Castello leads the squad hitting at a .314 clip while her totals in at-bats (137), runs (24), and hits (43) are also team highs. Speed on the base paths in definitely a factor when competing against UCD as sophomore outfielder Brianna Warner has swiped an efficient 14-of-15 bags while her   junior teammate Christina Guidry has added another 10 stolen bases.

In the circle, the UCR pitching staff is dominantly led by junior left-hander Leah Munden who has tossed 136 and 1/3 innings to post a 2.82 ERA in 21 starts. The native of Bakersfield, Calif. has a dismal 9-12 record due to a lack of run support, but seven complete games have led to a solid 2.82 ERA. Opposing batters are hitting at a .266 clip while Munden has also tallied a team-high two saves and 62 strikeouts on the season. Fellow Bakersfield native Justine Vela (1-5) is the second option out of the bullpen, registering 50 and 1/3 innings to go along with a 4.73 ERA in seven starts for the Aggies.  

The Titans own a 17-10 all-time record against the Aggies, posting an impressive mark of 12-3 on the road at La Rue Field. The conference meetings have been competitive with a tie between the two squads 9-9, but Fullerton continues to have an edge at UCD with a 6-3 record. The pair has also split the last 10 games 5-5 with last season's meeting at Fullerton ending in favor of the Titans who took two of three with victories of 5-4 and 10-5 before dropping the series finale, 9-6. The last time Fullerton captured an away series against UC Davis was in 2011  when CSF clinched another two of three with decisions of 11-4 and 1-0 from April 22-23.

A trio of Titans headlines the conference standings in highest batting average including frontrunner Sammie Vandiver with a clip of .460, while fellow CSF teammates and juniors Courtney Rodriguez (.412) and Missy Taukeiaho (.397) join the elite group in second and third, respectively. Rodriguez also leads the league with 73 hits, 177 at-bats and is 10th in the nation with six triples while utilizing her speed to swipe an efficient 13-of-15 bases.  Taukeiaho posts impressive marks in the offensive categories of on-base percentage (.507), slugging percentage (.750), runs (31), and walks (26).

Reigning Big West Player of the Year and 2014 third-team All-American Missy Taukeiaho launched her team-high 11th home run of the season to steal a 3-2 victory over UC Riverside in a 12-inning marathon on April 12. Transferring from the University of Washington following her freshman campaign, the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native now has 30 career round-trippers at Fullerton, placing herself alone in fourth place in the program record books. Next up on the list is Ashley Van Boxmeer (2005-07) with 32 home runs in third place all-time.  

Cal State Fullerton hoists Big West Conference's best fielding percentage at .975, which is also the 11th best mark in the nation. The Titans have surrendered only surrendered a league-low 36 errors. The Fullerton pitching and defense has forced opponents to hit into a conference best 20 double plays through 50 games, while freshman Shianne Brannan and junior Missy Taukeiaho are also first and fourth in the league with the most assists, notching 122 and 96, respectively.

The Cal State Fullerton offense is hitting at all cylinders in conference play, headlining the league in a whopping 12 categories including team batting average (.320), slugging percentage (.468), on-base percentage (.389), runs (82), hits (141), RBIs (76), doubles (23), home runs (12), total bases (206), plate appearances (512), at-bats (440) and hit by pitch (13). In addition, the Titans are second in walks (39) and stolen bases (14).  

Mizzou transfer Sarah Moore continues to transition nicely into the Titans' offensive attack, hitting at a .318 clip (41-for-129) with 11 doubles, one home run, and 25 RBIs in 45 games. The Chino Hills, Calif., native is the only Titan to collect a four-hit game, accomplishing the feat twice and most recently with a 4-for-4 effort in a 12-0 shutout at UC Riverside on April 11. Hitting from the right-side, Moore has crushed conference opposition leading the league in average (.435), on-base percentage (.509), and doubles (7).

Freshman Sammie Vandiver did wonders with her bat when being inserted into the starting lineup. Batting from the left-side, Vandiver torched opposing pitching from Feb. 26-April 8 with a base-hit in every contest to stretch her remarkable hitting-streak to 24 games which is the longest for any Titan since at least the 1989 season when complete box scores became available. Vandiver shattered Marci White's 18-game streak from April 3-May 3, 1993. At this juncture of the season, the left fielder has 16 multi-hit games and three multi-RBI outings on the season. In 41 games played (31starts), the Huntington Beach, Calif. native turns in the 19th highest average in the nation with a clip of .466, while being one of the hardest batters to strikeout, fanning only once in every 28.3 at-bats which is good for 18th in the country. Vandiver is on pace to challenge the highest average for a freshman at Cal State Fullerton, held by Sue Lewis and her .408 clip in the 1981 campaign, while Jenny Topping's .472 average in 2002 is also in contention for the highest by any Titan in program history.  

After appearing in just two games over the first few months of the season, right-hander Cerissa Rivera has provided a surprise boost to the pitching staff, notching the first two wins of her Titan career this past weekend. Rivera tossed two innings of relief to pick up the victory against Cal Poly, 5-4 on April 25, and followed that up with a complete game three-hitter in a 4-1 triumph over the Mustangs in game two of the series on April 26. The native of Westminister, Calif. wasn't finished as she recorded the final out in the series finale to preserve a 6-3 decision to complete the three-game sweep.   

Eleven different Titans have driven in the game-winning RBI among the 30 Fullerton victories thus far into the season. Eliza Crawford leads all contributors with six, followed by Courtney Rodriguez with five while Samantha Galarza and Missy Taukeiaho have three apiece, respectively.

Courtney Rodriguez has used her speed on the base paths to disrupt opposing pitchers in swiping a team-high 13 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.

The Titans have dominated on both sides of the field in the third inning limiting opponents to a combined 19 runs while the Fullerton bats have managed to bring across 49 runs in the same frame. In contrast, Fullerton has been outscored in the seventh frame 37-22, worst of any inning.

A host of Titans have used conference play to implement the use of the long ball as a trio of student-athletes in Courtney Rodriguez, Melissa Sechrest and Missy Taukeiaho have gone yard three times, respectively, while Eliza Crawford has muscled out another two home runs.

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 surprising 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 fourth ball of the at-bat was airmailed over the catcher for a wild pitch, and with heads up baserunning Taukeiaho rounded third to slide home safely and shock the Cowgirls and seal the 6-5 stunner.  

The Titans continued their magical ways against CSU Bakersfield on March 25, erasing a three-run deficit with another odd walk-off. With its back against the wall trailing 3-0 after five frames, Fullerton chalked up three runs in the sixth before Sarah Moore was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the seventh inning to capture a 4-3 victory and tie the biggest comeback of the season with the Feb. 22 contest versus Oklahoma State at the Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.  

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
APR. 8 - No. 9 UCLA - Los Angeles, Calif. - L, 1-9

*Ranking when game occurred

Oregon State transfer Kylie Padilla has transitioned nicely as the everyday catcher, being fourth in the conference in runners thrown out with eight on the season. Opposing runners have tested the arm of Padilla making an attempt on 27 occasions and stealing , but the Chino, Calif. native has limited the thieves to a 70% 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.

After finishing second in the Big West Conference for being hit with the most pitches (12) last season, opposing pitchers continue to tag senior Eliza Crawford as she's already matched that total with at least nine games left to go. The first baseman has also been superb defensively being one of six student-athletes (including field player and CSF teammate Delynn Rippy) across the league to post a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with 146 put outs and two assists in 148 chances.

Heading into the final stretch of Big West competition, the Titans' batters have posted a conference low 147 strikeouts to opposing pitchers.  Currently, Hawai'i (260), CSUN (202) and Long Beach State (185) have fanned on the most occasions.

Titan sophomore Gabrielle Rodas and junior Paige Kisling pinch hit their way to a combined 4-for-4 effort over this past weekend's three-game sweep of Cal Poly. In game one of the series, each logged a hit and one run while Rodas came across with the game-winning run in the sixth frame on a wild pitch. Kisling added another base-hit and run scored in game two of the series, while Rodas collected her second hit in the series finale with one RBI.

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.

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. 

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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