FULLERTON, Calif.--- Led by 2013 All-Big West Conference Freshman Pitcher of the Year Jasmine Antunez, the Cal State Fullerton softball team was picked to finish third in the Big West Conference in 2014 as selected by the eight head coaches in the annual preseason poll Monday.
Led in the dugout by second-year head coach Kelly Ford, Cal State Fullerton received one first-place vote, 46 points overall, as the program looks to improve on a 28-28 (13-11 Big West) overall record from a year ago and victories in 12 of their last 15 games on the diamond. Last season the Titans recorded their first .500 season since the 2009 season and will look to build on that in 2014.
In the circle, sophomore right-hander Antunez posted an 18-14 record with a 2.56 ERA, 174 strikeouts over 196 2/3 innings while spinning the program's first no-hitter since the 2007 season. The Titans also return Big West All-Conference second team players Gabby Aragon, Eliza Crawford and Ariel Tsuchiyama. In 2013, Aragon finished strong for the Titans posting a .441 average with 15 hits, 11 runs scored, and seven RBI's. Crawford started all 56 games at third base, leading the team with eight home runs along with ten multi-hit games and ten multi-RBI games. Catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama threw out 17 base runners in 2013, which ranked second in the Big West, while also recording nine doubles and 25 RBI's.
Defending conference champion Hawai'i, collected four first place votes and 76 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.
2014 BIG WEST CONFERENCE SOFTBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Hawaii (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
() First-place votes