FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton will host arguably the biggest series of the season this weekend as Long Beach State comes to Anderson Family Field for a three-game set.
While the rivalry between these two teams goes back years and years across all of the different sports, it has been more prominent in softball as opposed to anything other than baseball. The two teams finished first and second last year with Fullerton being crowned the Big West champions and were picked as the two favorites in this year's preseason poll.
In the all-time series, Fullerton has the edge with a 77-61 win-loss record and are currently on a three-game win streak against Long Beach after sweeping them last season. However, the 49ers have been red hot this season going 32-7 on the year and climbing the rankings as they sit at number 18 in both softball polls.
The LBSU offense is led by Nichole Fry who is currently hitting .422 which leads the conference. She also ranks third in slugging (.711), fourth in on-base percentage (.487), tied for second in runs (37), first in hits (57), fourth in RBI (30), second in doubles (15), tied for first in triples (3), sixth in home runs (6), and second in total bases (96). The 49ers also have one of the best pitchers in the conference in Cielo Meza. Meza is currently leading the conference in almost every pitching category repping a 17-2 record with a 1.26 ERA, .139 opponent's batting average, and 167 strikeouts. Overall, the team is hitting .318 at the plate and sporting a 2.29 ERA in the circle.
For Fullerton, they got a major boost in their lineup as Deshea Hill made her return and immediately her presence felt again. Hitting .625 with five RBI against CSUN, the freshman third baseman was awarded her second Big West Field Player of the Week award. She is currently second in the conference with a .416 batting average. Since conference play started, the other standout in the Titan offense has been Ari Williams. After a fairly quiet non-conference, she has exploded in Big West play, ranking in the top ten in majority of the offensive categories including a .563 average in the six conference games which is second highest. Brooke Clemetson continues to be a menace at the top of the lineup hitting .333 with a .466 OBP. She also just tied the single-season stolen base record with her 27th of the year; one more to become the sole leader.
In the circle, it continues to be the Sophie Frost show. With two more wins against CSUN, the sophomore is now 9-4 on the season with a 1.79 season ERA. In conference, she is 3-0 with a phenomenal 1.11 ERA and continues her streak of 11 complete games in her last 11 starts. Freshman Taylor Dockins was forced to miss the series against the Matadors due to recovering from a procedure on April 4, but Trish Parks did a fantastic job filling in as the other starter. Parks threw six innings of shutout ball before allowing a run in the seventh, but still finished the job getting the complete game victory.
Game one between the Titans and 49ers will be Friday at 6:00 p.m. Games two and three will be a Saturday double-header starting at 2:00 p.m. at Anderson Family Field.
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