Feb. 12, 2009
FULLERTON, CA - With rain scheduled to fall in Southern California this weekend once again, the Cal State Fullerton softball team (1-0 overall) hopes that the desert climes of Las Vegas will be a little more conducive to softball this weekend as the Titans take part in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic hosted by UNLV. Fullerton, which had four of its scheduled contests cancelled by Mother Nature during opening weekend, will take on a pair of Pac-10 opponents in Oregon State and Oregon on Friday to kick-off tournament play before taking on Virginia, Utah, and nationally ranked Northwestern over the weekend.
IN THE POLLS: The Wildcats are the only ranked team that the Titans will battle this weekend as Northwestern enters the week ranked No. 13 according to the USA Today/NFCA coaches poll and No. 11 according to the ESPN.com/USA Softball coaches poll... Oregon State and Oregon are both receiving votes from both polls while the Cavaliers and Utes enter the week unranked.
I NEED STATS, STAT!: Selected games from Las Vegas will be available thanks to CBS College Sports' Gametracker. Links to each game's live scoring session will be available on the Cal State Fullerton softball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.
SCOUTING THE BEAVERS: Oregon State enters the weekend with a 2-2 record having posted wins over Georgia (3-2) and Wisconsin (4-3) while falling to Houston (12-4) and Southern Illinois (3-1) to open the season... Stefanie Ewing had five hits to go with a .385 average on the weekend, slugging a home run and driving in a team-high four runs... Audrey Roderfeld (.400) also had a big weekend while two other Beavers hit better than .300... Kelly Dyer (1-2, 3.32 ERA, 18 strikeouts) and Paige Hall (1-0, 8.00) both saw action in the circle.
THE SERIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Oregon State by a 9-6 tally, having won the last two meetings... the Titans downed the Beavers, 6-3, in Fullerton last season in the last meeting between the two schools... seven of the nine wins have come in Orange County as the Titans are just 2-3 against OSU on neutral fields.
SCOUTING THE DUCKS: Oregon enters the weekend with a 3-2 overall record, posting three straight wins after season-opening losses to UC Santa Barbara (4-2) and Wichita State (15-12) at the Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix last weekend... Kelsey Chambers leads a powerful Oregon lineup, batting .545 through the first five games to help the Ducks to a .346 average as a team... she has also driven in a team-best six runs... seven Ducks are batting better than .300 on the season... Sam Skillingstad (3-1, 1.91 ERA, 22 strikeouts) leads the pitching staff.
THE SERIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Oregon, 12-5, but has lost the last three straight to the Ducks, including a 2-0 decision in this tournament in 2007... The Titans are 7-2 against the Ducks on neutral fields.
SCOUTING THE CAVALIERS: Virginia enters the weekend with a 3-1 record, splitting with East Carolina (L, 1-9 and W, 12-1) and sweeping Middle Tennessee (6-3 and 7-2) at the Pirate Invitational hosted by ECU to open the weekend... Nicole Koren leads Virginia offensively, batting .545 with four runs scored, a home run, and seven RBI to start the year... Karla Wilburn (2-0, 1.29 ERA, 12 strikeouts) and Stephanie Coates (1-0, 2.13 ERA) lead the pitching staff.
THE SERIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Virginia, 4-0, including a 10-0 win in five innings at the Palm Springs Classic in 2007... Fullerton is 3-0 against the Cavaliers at home to go along with that neutral site victory... The Titans have not allowed a run to Virginia in the four all-time meetings, outscoring the Cavaliers, 18-0, in those games.
SCOUTING THE UTES: Utah enters the weekend with a 3-2 overall record after competing at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah... The Utes posted wins over Utah Valley (10-2), Utah State (10-0) and San Jose State (6-5) while falling to nationally ranked Washington (4-0) and Loyola Marymount (11-5)... With eight hits over the weekend, Kara Foster leads Utah offensively, batting .500 with three home runs, six runs scored, and seven RBI... Whitney Holm, who hit .357 for the weekend, also slugged three home runs... Ashley Smuda won all three of her starts, posting a 4.50 ERA and striking out 14 to pace the staff.
THE SERIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Utah, 12-9, falling by a 7-2 score at the San Diego Classic last season... The Titans are 3-5 against the Utes on neutral fields in a series that dates back to 1980.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS: Nationally ranked Northwestern enters the weekend with a 2-2 record following wins over Arizona and Cal State Bakersfield and losses to Nevada and Kansas at the Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix last week... shortstop Tammy Williams leads the team in hitting with her .385 averaged while Kelly and Erin Dyer combined to slug four home runs and drive in seven on the weekend... Lauren Delaney (2-2, 0.82 ERA, 27 strikeouts) leads the pitching staff, holding the opposition to a .146 average on the young season.
THE SERIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Northwestern, 16-7, but lost last year's meeting, 3-0, in Fullerton as part of the Long Beach Invitational... the two teams last met in Las Vegas back in 2006 with the Wildcats pulling out a 5-4 win - the only loss in four chances on neutral fields against the Wildcats.
VEGAS, BABY, VEGAS!: "Lady Luck" has surely shined on the Titans in their tournament trips to Las Vegas, as Cal State Fullerton has gone 20-9 (.690) in five regular-season tournament appearances in "Sin City," but will look to buck a trend that has seen it go just 3-2 in its last two trips to the desert in 2006 and 2007 after posting a 6-2 mark in 1986, a 4-2 record in 1992, and a 4-1 finish in 2003. Adding to the Titans' success, they are also 15-11-1 against former Big West Conference rival UNLV on the Rebels' home field, giving Cal State Fullerton a .634 winning percent in Las Vegas.
GOING... GOING... GONZALES: Two-time California JC All-American Francesca Gonzales made her Division I debut one to remember in the Titans' only game last weekend, finishing 3-for-3 with two home runs and three runs scored against Indiana. Gonzales, who played for former Cal State Fullerton assistant coach Kelly Ford at Mt. San Antonio College, added a single in her first career at-bat and a walk in the fifth inning against the Hoosiers to slug 3.000 for the weekend.
NOT TO BE OUTDONE: Senior shortstop Courtney Martinez also had a season opener to remember, finishing 2-for-2 with two home runs, two runs scored, and a team-best four RBI in the win over the Hoosiers to slug 4.000 for the weekend. Martinez, who hit a career-high eight home runs as a sophomore in 2007, accounted for two-thirds of her entire long-ball total from last season against Indiana after slugging just three round-trippers as a junior.
THAT'S A RECORD: Thanks to the bats of Francesca Gonzales and Courtney Martinez, the Titans tied a school record with their four home runs in a game, matching an effort accomplished four other times - the last in a win over Pacific on April 23, 2006, in Stockton, Calif.
FINALLY!: After waiting two years to step into the circle at the Division I level, Fullerton redshirt freshman Krystal Heinle finally got the chance to show what she was made of in he first career start against Indiana. Heinle, who missed all of last season due to injury, carried a no-hitter through 3 2/3 innings and finished giving up just one run on one hit in four innings while shaking off five walks to earn her first career win.
IN OTHER FIRSTS...: Freshman Sarah Hahn tallied her first career hit in the fifth inning against the Hoosiers with a pinch-hit single back up the middle... freshman Nicole Johnson drove in her first career run with a HBP with the bases loaded and later scored her first career run against Indiana... junior transfer Kadie Baldwin tallied her first career RBI with another bases-loaded HBP during a four-run first inning... freshman right-hander Katey Laban made her first career appearance in the circle in relief, allowing a run on a hit in one inning of work.
TITANS PICKED SECOND IN THE BIG WEST: Cal State Fullerton was picked to finish second in the race for the 2009 Big West Conference title according to a vote of the league's head coaches released on Jan. 21. The Titans received 49 points behind defending champion Long Beach State, which garnered seven of the eight first-place votes and 63 points overall. UC Santa Barbara, which gained the remaining first-place vote, and Cal Poly were picked in a tie for third with 45 points followed by Pacific (28), UC Davis (26), Cal State Northridge (21), and UC Riverside (11).
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Cal State Fullerton returns seven letter winners, four position starters and one pitcher from last season's squad which finished 27-28-1 overall and 11-10 in conference play, but earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the 24th time in 27 seasons. The Titans also welcome 10 newcomers to the fold - seven freshmen and a pair of transfers from nearby Mt. San Antonio College. Senior catcher Lauren Lupinetti is the team's top returning bat a season after hitting .282 with seven home runs and 33 RBI - the latter two statistics leading the team in 2008. Sophomore right-hander Ari Cervantes is the only returning pitcher for the Titans after she threw 26.2 innings and posted an 0-1 record in 11 appearances.
YOU'RE THE BEST... AROUND: Cal State Fullerton's young roster will be thrown directly into the fire during the 2009 season as the Titans' schedule features 10 teams ranked in the USA Today/NFCA preseason top 25 and seven more teams listed among those receiving votes.
HELLO, MY NAME IS...: You can't tell the players without a scorecard and some fans may be asking them to wear name tags until they can get everyone straight. Fullerton's 10 newcomers are the most since the team listed 12 new faces on the roster prior to the 2005 campaign.