A LOOK AT THE WEEK: One of the nation's premier mid-season tournaments gets underway this week as the Cal State Fullerton softball team (11-13 overall) welcomes 12 other teams for the 2013 Judi Garman Classic at Anderson Family Field. The tournament begins on Wednesday night (March 13) and runs through Sunday (March 17) with games beginning on Wednesday at 5 p.m. on both diamonds.
IN THE POLLS: The Titans will face off against the top two ranked teams in the nation, Oklahoma and Arizona State. Oklahoma enters the week ranked No. 1 in both the ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches poll and USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll. The Sun Devils move up to the No. 2 ranked spot this week after Alabama dropped in the polls. Virginia Tech comes to the Garman Classic tied as the 21st ranked team in the nation in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches poll. Neither the Fighting Irish, Blue Demons, or Titans are ranked this week.
NEW LOOK BIG WEST: The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced on Dec. 10, 2010 that Hawai'i will re-join the Big West as of July 2012. The Warriors, women's programs were previously part of the Big West from 1984-96.
BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titan athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF Athletics), Twitter (@FullertonTitans) and Youtube (www.youtube.com/CSFAthletics). Also follow the softball Twitter (@CSUFsoftball).
I NEED STATS, STAT!: Live stats will be provided for both games this week. To access live stats for the games, go to www.FullertonTitans.com and go to the softball schedule then click live stats.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: 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 audio link on the schedule page.
NEXT UP, CONFERENCE PLAY: After this weekend's tournament, Cal State Fullerton will start Big West conference play. The Titans will head to Santa Barbara to play the Gauchos in a three-game series starting on Friday March 22nd.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME: The Fighting Irish come to Southern California to play two games in the Judi Garman tournament before heading off for Riverside, Calif. to compete in the Highlander Classic. Notre Dame has won 10 of their last 11 games and will also face Arizona. Emilee Koerner leads the team with a .492 batting average and 20 RBI's. Lauren Stuhr, Laura Winterm, and Cassidy Whidden have added four home runs each. Notre Dame is led by ace Brittany O'Donnell (6-2, 1.78). The Fighting Irish pitching staff has a 155 strikeouts in 20 games.
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils enter the weekend ranked as the No. 2 team in the nation. The Sun Devils will play Texas, Michigan, Virginia Tech, and Pacific in Fullerton, Calif, before starting conference play next week against UCLA. Junior Cheyenne Coyle leads the team with 10 home runs, 29 RBI's, and a .478 batting average. Arizona State has four different players with more than 20 RBI's. Elizabeth Caporuscio has nine doubles this season. The Sun Devils have the third highest batting average (.370) in Division 1 softball. First Team Pac-12 All Conference pitcher Dallas Escobedo (13-1, 1.63) and Mackenzie Popescue (11-0, 0.94) lead the Sun Devils in the circle. The Arizona State pitching staff has thrown nine complete games and six shutouts this season.
ABOUT DEPAUL: After starting the season 4-6, the Blue Demons have gone 8-2 since the Houston Tournament on Feb. 17 and head to Southern California to face Washington, North Carolina State, Penn State, and Texas in addition to facing the Titans. DePaul is led by head coach Eugene Lenti who is in his 32nd season as the head coach. Kirsten Verdun leads the team with 14 RBI's and Mary Connolly leads the team with three home runs. The Blue Demons have stolen 25 of 31 bases this season. In addition to leading the team in RBI's, Verdun is the ace in the circle tossing 75 innings going 8-4 with a 1.87 ERA. She has also thrown 10 complete games and is allowing opponents to bat only .211.
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies come to the Judi Garman Classic ranked in the top 25 after starting the season 15-2. Virginia Tech defeated Fullerton on March. 7 3-2 at Mayfield Park in Lakewood, Calif. and will play 6 more games in California before returning to the east coast. Lauren Gaskill leads the Hokies with a .426 average and 12 stolen bases. Courtney Liddle leads the team with 13 RBI's. However, the Hokies are led by their starting pitchers. Kelly Heinz (7-0, 1.06) and Jasmin Harrell (6-1, 1.49) have combined for 111 strikeouts in 100 innings.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA: The Sooners come to Southern California as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation according to both polls after beginning the season 22-1. Oklahoma will face Pacific, North Carolina State, Arizona, Penn State, and Fullerton this weekend. Lauren Chamberlain is tied with UCLA's B.B Bates for the NCAA lead with 13 home runs. Jessica Shults has 28 RBI's and Shelby Pendley has 25 RBI's for the Sooners. The Sooners are batting .325 as a team compared to opponents who are batting a measley .142. All-American Keilani Ricketts (11-0, 0.87) and Michelle Gascoigne (9-1, 0.70) lead an OU pitchinng staff that has a combined 0.80 ERA, which is best in the Division 1. Oklahoma has also recorded 239 strikeouts this season.
SERIES HISTORIES: Fullerton leads the all-time series against Notre Dame 8-4, but has lost the last two of three including a 16-0 loss in last year's Judi Garman Classic. The Titans lead the series versus Arizona State 24-20, but have lost the last four including a 7-0 loss in 2009 at the Tempe regional. DePaul leads the series 6-2 over Fullerton and has won the last four games including a 4-1 victory in Fullerton, Calif. in 2010. Fullerton and Virginia Tech have split the all-time series 1-1 after the Hokies defeated Fullerton 3-2 last Thursday (Mar. 7). The Titans lead the series verus Oklahoma 9-4 and have won the last two of three meetings. The Sooners won the last meeting 7-1 on Feb. 19, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nev.
CONFERENCE CALL: Cal State Fullerton is 16-10 (.615) all-time versus the Atlantic Coast Conference, 144-146-1 (.478) against members of the current Pac-12 Conference, 21-13 (.618) versus the Big East Conference, and 81-44-1 (.643) versus the Big-12 Conference.
JUDI GARMAN CLASSIC: Cal State Fullerton is a combined 111-58 (.657) all time in 32 seasons in its showcase event that has been held under numerous monikers since its inception in 1981... the Titans were 74-22 at the PONY Tournament, 5-5 at the unsponsored Cal State Fullerton Tournament, 20-16 at the KIA Klassic, and are 12-15 since the event was renamed to honor Fullerton's Hall of Fame Head Coach Judi Garman in 2006... the Titans were 0-2 at last year's event, losing to Notre Dame and Purdue. Due to rain, games versus Iowa and Penn State were cancelled.
2013 SEASON UPDATE WITH HEAD COACH KELLY FORD: Head Coach Kelly Ford updates Titan fans on how the 2013 season has gone after 19 games.
PLAYING SPOILER: The Titans have taken down two top ten ranked opponents this season. On Feb. 26th, Fullerton defeated No. 10 11-5 at Easton Stadium in Los Angeles and defeated No. 7 Missouri 5-4 on Feb. 23, 2013 at Anderson Family Field. The last time the Titans took down a top ten team was on March 15, 2009 when they defeated the University of Washington 3-2 at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif.
GETTIN' ON THE BOARD FIRST: When the Titans score first in a game they are 8-1 compared to 3-12 when the opposing team scores first. The Titans scored first against Virginia Tech, but eventually lost off a walk-off RBI single by the Hokies in the bottom of the seventh inning.
WE NEED HITS: The Titans are batting .243 this season, but when Cal State Fullerton out-hits the opponent they are 10-0 compared to 1-12 when the opponent out-hits them. The Titans produced 13 hits against UCLA to score 11 runs at Easton Stadium on February 26.
TAKE CARE OF THE SOFTBALL: Cal State Fullerton is 7-4 when they commit no errors in a game and 4-9 when they do commit an error. However, the Titans have not had an error in the past four of five games. Through 24 games the Titans have 23 errors.
CONTROLLING THE LEAD: The Titans have been perfect so far this season when leading after five innings. Fullerton is 8-0 in games they have led after five innings and a whopping 9-0 after six innings. However, they are 2-10 when trailing after four innings.
SHOULDERING THE LOAD: In 16 starts as a freshman, Antunez is tied for first in the Big West in appearances (20), tied for third in strikeouts (91), and fourth in innings pitched (79.0). Antunez is holding opponents to a .222 batting average this season, which ranks fourth in the Big West.
YBARRA DOES IT ALL: Sophomore Desiree Ybarra was the Titan's ace last season, but this season she has contributed not only in the circle, but at the plate as well. Ybarra in the circle is 3-4 with one save. Ybarra has closed out 11 games for the Titans this season, which is tied for the most in the Big West. Ybarra's bat has been a big addition for the Titans. The Riverside, Calif. native has a .304 average, two home runs, and 13 RBI's. Ybarra also leads the Big West in sacrifice flies with four on the season.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Eliza Crawford and Desiree Ybarra have combined for 11 doubles this season. Ybarra currently stands fifth in the Big West in doubles, while Crawford is tied for sixth with five.
SUPER MARIO: Cal State Fullerton second baseman Lauren Mario has added three home runs and eight RBI's in the past week, including a two home run game versus Charleston Southern on March 8, 2013.
SOMEONE TURNED UP THE A.C: After blasting a triple to the center field fence in game two versus McNeese State on Feb. 11, 2013, Ashley Carter moved up to fourth on the all-time list in career triples with nine tieing Carey Hess, who played for the Titans from 1987-90.
IRON WOMEN: Catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama has started all, but one game behind the backstop for the Titans this season, while leading the Titans with a .328 batting average as the starting catcher.
SAVES: Cal State Fullerton is tied with Long Beach State with the most saves in the Big West (3). Each Titan pitcher has recorded a save this season (Antunez, Ybarra, Laban).
GETTING ON BASE: The Titans are last in the Big West in on-base percentage (.312) compared to Hawai'i who has an on-base percentage of .369.
NEW ERA: Head Coach Kelly Ford began her first stint as the head coach of Cal State Fullerton softball program on Feb. 7, 2013. Ford recorded her first win in game two versus Southern Miss, 4-2. Fordspent 11 seasons at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif., recording a 455-102-1 record overall (.812 winning percentage). Prior to her time at Mt. SAC, Ford worked under former coach Michelle Gromacki as an assistant in 2000 and 2001.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Fullerton finished sixth in the Big West race a season ago with a 8-13 mark in conference play to go along with a 20-31 overall record. The Titans return six position starters and three pitchers while welcoming nine newcomers to the fold for the 2013 season. Leading the way for returners is senior outfielder Ashley Carter, an all-conference first-team selection who hit .325 to go along with 55 hits and 27 runs scored. In the circle, sophomore Desiree Ybarra returns after earning all-conference honorable mention accolades a season ago, finishing 13-17 with a 4.66 ERA.
FIVE SIGN WITH CAL STATE FULLERTON FOR 2014: Cal State Fullerton softball Head Coach Kelly Ford announced that high school standouts Sydney Colenzo, Megan Estacio, Olivia Martinez, Delynn Rippy, and Kayla Silverstein have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers with the Titans beginning with the 2014 season.
TAKING DOWN THE BRUINS: After defeating UCLA 11-5 on Feb. 26th the Titans not only took home a victory to add to the win column, but a new record. The Titans scored the most runs against UCLA since April 25, 1989 when they scored seven runs. The 11-run tally is the most in 73 meetings between the two schools.
PLAYING JAPAN TOYOTA: The Titans played against the Japan Toyota professional softball team on Wednesday February 20, 2013 at Anderson Family Field, losing 7-1. The Titans and Japan Toyota played seven-inning exhibition contest, as Japan Toyota gets ready for their upcoming season. Team Toyota comes over to the United States annually to play collegiate and professional teams to prepare for the Japan Softball League. Team Toyota features USA Softball Olympians Monica Abbott and Natasha Watley, who have won back-to-back Japan Softball League Championships (2011 & 2012).
PRESEASON POLL: The Cal State Fullerton softball team was picked to finish sixth in the race for the 2013 Big West Conference title according to a vote of the league's head coaches released on Jan. 30, 2013. The Titans received 33 points to finish behind newcomer Hawai'i, which received four first-place votes and 76 points to top defending champion Long Beach State (73 points).
WRATH OF THE TITANS: Among the league's top offensive teams in 2011, 2012 wasn't anything different as the Titans finished second in runs scored, second in stolen bases, and third in RBIs. The 2012 Titans finished with a .280 batting average topping 2011's .275 average. Cal State Fullerton also produced the most hits (365) in program history since 2007.
WE'RE HONORED: Cal State Fullerton placed seven players on the 2012 Big West Conference all-league honors: Ashley Carter, Leesa HarrisNicole Johnson, Morgan LeMond, Adriana Martinez, Desiree Ybarra, and Anissa Young). Three of those all-conference honorees return for 2013: Ashley Carter, Leesa Harris, and Desiree Ybarra.
FORD PREVIEWS 2013: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Kelly Ford and Associate Head Coach Dee Dee Kingsbury sat down with the sports information staff to discuss the upcoming 2013 campaign. Filmed by department videographer Matt Brown, fans can view the entire video via Youtube.com/CSFAthletics.