Feb. 1, 2011
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team was picked to finish sixth in the Big West Conference according to a preseason vote of the league coaches and released by the conference office on Tuesday morning.
The Titans collected 31 points and a first-place vote to finish ahead of UC Santa Barbara (22 points) and UC Riverside (16) in seventh and eighth place, respectively, and just behind Pacific (34) in fifth place.
It is the lowest predicted finish for Fullerton since Head Coach Michelle Gromacki took over as interim head coach in 2000, surpassing the fifth-place predicted finish in 2005 when the Titans eventually finished third in the conference and advanced to the final day of NCAA Regional play before falling to UCLA. Aside from that season, the Titans were selected no lower than third in any of the other 10 preseason polls, including five first-place finishes and a quartet of second-place finishes.
Cal Poly and 2010 co-champion UC Davis each received three first-place votes, but the Mustangs collected 54 points to the Aggies' 51 to finish atop the preseason poll. Cal State Northridge (41 points), the other half of last year's co-championship, was third followed closely by Long Beach State (39).
Fullerton is coming off of one of its most difficult seasons as the Titans finished just 14-39 (.264) overall and 9-12 in Big West play for sixth place. They return 13 letter winners overall and eight position starters off of last season's squad and three pitchers who saw time in the circle in 2010.
A talented class of five freshmen (three infielders and two outfielders) and a redshirt from a season ago (Latisha Dedeaux) completes the roster as all look to make an immediate impact.
A pair of All-Big West selections return led by the big bat of senior outfielder Torrie Anderson, who hit .287 with 11 home runs, 27 RBI, and 33 runs scored while starting all 53 games. Senior Ari Cervantes was an honorable mention utility selection a season ago after posting a 6-19 mark in the circle and a .303 average at the plate while the Titans will miss the services of sophomore Gabby Aragon, who is out for the year after off-season surgery. She finished her rookie season batting .288 in 44 games overall (.388 in conference play) to earn second-team honors.
Cal State Fullerton officially opens the 2011 season on Feb. 11 with a three-day trip to Tempe, AZ for the Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State. The Titans open against Cal State Bakersfield and Texas A&M before meeting Nebraska and Oklahoma State on Saturday (Feb. 12) and Oregon on Sunday (Feb. 13).
2011 BIG WEST SOFTBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Cal Poly (3) - 54 points
2. UC Davis (3) - 51
3. Cal State Northridge - 41
4. Long Beach State - 39
5. Pacific - 34
6. Cal State Fullerton (1) - 31
7. UC Santa Barbara - 22
8. UC Riverside (1) - 16