FULLERTON, Calif.--The Titans begin play this week hosting the University of North Carolina on Tuesday at Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, Calif. After the match up against the Tar Heels, Cal State Fullerton travels to Palm Springs to compete in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The Titans will have a full slate of four games with two on Friday, against Baylor and LSU, and two on Saturday, competing with Notre Dame and Boise State.
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 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.
FORD PREVIEWS 2014
Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Kelly Ford at down with the sports information staff to discuss the upcoming 2014 campaign. Filmed by department videographer Matt Brown, fans can view the entire video via Youtube.com/CSFAthletics.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA
The Tar Heels have began the season with a 2-5 record including two straight losses at Jacksonville. UNC is led by Jenna Kelly who is batting with a .261 avg., six hits, two home runs, three RBI, and a slugging percentage of (.565). Aquilla Mateen has also chipped in a team-high five runs and one double on the season.
The Bears are off to a hot start to the season, starting 8-2 with a record of 4-1 at home. Heather Stearns leads the pitching staff with a 4-0 record, 18.2 innings pitched while surrendering 13 hits, two earned runs and an ERA of (0.75) on the season. Fullerton owns an all-time record of 4-2 against the Bears, most recently with a 8-4 triumph in Cathedral City, Calif., in 2010.
Sophomore Sandra Simmons leads the charge for the Tigers, batting with a .379 avg., 13 runs scored, two doubles, and two home runs on the year. LSU has most recently split a series with Penn St., winning 11-3 in the first game and dropping the final game 6-5 in Baton Rouge, La.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME
The Fighting Irish is led by Allie Rhodes in the circle posting a team-low (0.50) ERA, marking three wins, 16 strikeouts over 14 innings of work. CSF owns an overall record of 8-4 against the Irish all time, though the last meeting ending in favor of Notre Dame, 16-0 in 2012 at Fullerton.
ABOUT BOISE STATE
The Broncos have posted a record of 4-6 on the season, most recently competing in the Easton Classic in Las Vegas, alternating wins and loss for a 3-2 record to finish the tournament. Boise State is led by typical leadoff batter Tara Glover who has manufactured 13 total bases, nine hits, four runs scored and one home run for the Broncos.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS
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 Ariel 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 Jasmine 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.
Missy Taukeiaho, Gabby Aragon, Desiree Ybarra and Ariel Tsuchiyama have all eclipsed 10 or more hits on the season for the Titans. Taukeiaho leads the bunch with 14 hits, followed by Ybarra (12), Aragon (11) and Tsuchiyama (10). Taukeiaho is the only Titan of the bunch to also have double-digits in runs scored with 11 on the season.
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 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.
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 Missy Taukeiaho. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native is looking to make an immediate impact to the offensive potency of the 2014 Titans.
OUT OF THE GATES EARLY
Cal State Fullerton is making a living scoring early with a season-high 12 runs scored in the first inning of the game over the season. This is followed by the third inning (11 runs) and fourth inning (10 runs). The Titans have an overall 54-25 scoring advantage combined against opponents thus far in the season.
Junior Desiree Ybarra has swung a hot bat of late, batting 7-for-13 over the past four games for the Titans, producing one double, one home run, and two RBI over that span. Ybarra led CSF to two wins in the Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego, 3-1 victory against Saint Mary's and 4-2 win triumph versus Texas State on Feb. 14.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
In 2013, Cal State Fullerton led all of the Big West in the best fielding percentage at .970 with a league low 48 errors. During the season, the Titans were able to turn 18 double plays over the 56 game season.