Feb. 18, 2009
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team (3-3 overall) goes in search for more victories this weekend in the desert as one of 32 teams participating in the 2009 Cathedral City Classic hosted by Oregon State. The Titans open their tournament schedule at the Big League Dreams Sports Park on Thursday evening (Feb. 19) at 5:30 p.m. as they take on NC State. Fullerton then meets nationally ranked North Carolina and Nebraska on Friday night (Feb. 20) before taking on Long Island and Mississippi on Saturday (Feb. 21). The complete tournament runs through Sunday.
IN THE POLLS: North Carolina enters the week ranked No. 20 according to the ESPN.com/USA Softball coaches poll and No. 21 according to the USA Today/NFCA Top 25... NC State, Nebraska and Ole Miss are among those receiving votes in one or both polls... Long Island and Cal State Fullerton are not listed this week.
I NEED STATS, STAT!: Barring technical difficulties (insert sound of knocking on wood here), Gametracker will be available for all five of Cal State Fullerton's games this weekend in Cathedral City. Links will be available on the softball schedule page of FullertonTitans.com.
CATCH US IN CATHEDRAL CITY: This year will mark the sixth-straight season that Cal State Fullerton will participate in the Cathedral City Classic (nee Palm Springs Classic) since the tournament's inception in 2004. The Titans have posted a 12-12 record all-time in the event, including a best mark of 4-1 at the 2007 tournament. Last season, Fullerton posted wins over Michigan State and Long Island while falling to \#18 Ohio State, \#6 LSU, and \#10 Baylor.
SCOUTING THE WOLFPACK: NC State enters the weekend with a 2-1 record, posting wins over Indiana and No. 7 Oklahoma while falling to Houston last weekend... Stephanie Call leads the team in the early-going with a .429 average while Alyssa Allbritten is batting .375 with a home run and three RBI... Call is also 1-0 in the circle with a 2.00 ERA while Lindsay Campana is 1-1 wth a 0.78 ERA.
THE SERIES: Thursday night's meeting will be the first between the Titans and the Wolfpack on the softball diamond.
SCOUTING THE TAR HEELS: North Carolina enters the week with an 8-2 overall record, having won their last seven straight and sweeping the field at the Carolina Classic last weekend... Christine Knauer leads the team with a .364 average while Danielle Spaulding and Breanna Brown have each driven in seven runs... Spaulding is also a perfect 4-0 in the circle, having thrown 31 scoreless innings thus far this season, scattering just 12 hits, and striking out 67... Constance Orr (3-0, 1.59) and Lisa Norris (1-2, 3.18) have also seen time in the circle.
THE SERIES: UNC leads the all-time series, 2-1, but the Titans won the last meeting between the two schools, 5-0, in Fullerton in 2005.
SCOUTING THE CORNHUSKERS: Nebraska enters the week with a perfect 4-0 record, having outscored its opposition 34-4 over the first weekend of the season... Heidi Foland leads the Huskers offensively, batting .545 on the year with a pair of home runs and seven RBI, helping the team to a .426 average... Molly Hill (2-0, 1.00 ERA, 23 strikeouts) and Ashley Hagemann (2-0, 1.27 ERA, 24 strikeouts) have combined to hold opponents to a .200 average this season.
THE SERIES: The series between the Titans and Huskers is tied, 7-7, with Nebraska having won each of the last four meetings... the two teams haven't met since 2005 when the No. 18-ranked Huskers handed Fullerton an 8-0 loss in Fullerton... The Titans' last defeated Nebraska in 2000, posting a five-inning, 8-0 shutout in Tempe, Ariz., in a tournament hosted by Arizona State.
SCOUTING LONG ISLAND: The Blackbirds enter the weekend with a 2-3 overall record after competing at the Strike Out Cancer Tournament hosted by Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Fla... Mariesha Marker leads the team with a .467 average while Bianca Mejia is batting .333 with a pair of doubles... LIU has been outscored 18-4 thus far this season... Jenny Giles (1-2, 3.00 ERA) and Blaire Porter (1-2, 3.75 ERA, 26 strikeouts) lead the way in the circle.
THE SERIES: In what is becoming an annual rite in Cathedral City, Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Long Island, 2-1, with all three meetings happening at this tournament... The Titans won 14-0 in the 2005 meeting, the Blackbirds claimed a 5-4 win in nine innings in 2007, and Fullerton defeated LIU, 7-2, in last season's clash.
SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI: The Rebels enter the week with a 5-3 overall mark after taking two-of-three in a series against Louisiana-Lafayette and posting a 3-2 record at the Getterman Classic hosted by Baylor last week... Lisa Conchos leads all regulars with a .280 average while Lauren Grill is batting .259 with two home runs and seven RBI... Becky Nye leads the way in the circle with a 4-2 record and a 1.21 ERA, striking out 13 and holding opponents to a .183 average... Lindsey Perry (1-1, 3.50) has also seen significant time.
THE SERIES: Cal State Fullerton has won both meetings with Ole Miss in its history, but the two teams haven't met since the 2001 season... the Titans handed the Rebels a 5-0 loss in a tournament hosted by Oklahoma in 2000 and defeated Mississippi, 9-0, at a tournament in Hawaii in 2001.
CONFERENCE CALL: Cal State Fullerton is 14-7 all-time against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, 2-1 against the Northeast Conference, 22-9 against the Southeastern Conference, and 76-41-1 against the Big 12 Conference.
"COURT" IS IN SESSION: Senior shortstop Courtney Martinez has begun her final season in a Titans uniform with a bang, leading the team with four home runs and seven RBI through Fullerton's first six games while also batting .471 (second on the team) and slugging 1.353 on the year. This all comes one season after slugging just three home runs and driving in 13 runs in 52 games as a junior in 2008.
SOMEONE GOT THE HINT: After going 3-for-3 with a pair of home runs in her Division I debut against Indiana in the season opener and notching at least one hit in each of the team's first five games of the year, someone finally figured the best way to pitch to junior Francesca Gonzales, was not to pitch to her at all. Gonzales was walked in three of her four plate appearances (the other was an HBP in the seventh) against No. 13 Northwestern in Las Vegas, giving her a team-high five bases-on-balls this season.
WHEN SHE WASN'T WALKING...: Gonzales was taking it to opposing pitchers, batting a team-best .429 at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic, including a home run in a 6-4 loss to Utah. She finished with a team-high six hits on the weekend (tied with Courtney Martinez for tops on the team), including a pair of two-hit performances against Oregon State and Oregon on the opening day of tournament play.
HEINLE CONTINUES STRONG START: Redshirt freshman Krystal Heinle continued rolling to start the season, going 2-0 in Las Vegas this past weekend with nine strikeouts and a 2.58 ERA in 19 innings or work. Included in that run, Heinle tossed her first career shutout, holding Virginia to just four hits and striking out a career-high six batters in Fullerton's 1-0 victory. She also pitched well in relief against nationally ranked Northwestern, holding the Wildcats to just two runs in five innings and held opponents to a .257 average overall on the weekend.
BALDWIN LIKES THE BIG TEN: Junior outfielder Kadie Baldwin became the third Titan newcomer (Francesca Gonzales and Sarah Hahn) to get in the hit column, finishing 2-for-2 with a walk and a run scored against No. 13 Northwestern in the finale in Las Vegas. Earlier this season against Indiana, she drove home her first career run at the Division I level after being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded against the Hoosiers.
THE TRAINING ROOM IS GONNA BE BUSY: Ice bags are starting to become standard equipment for the Titans as they have been plunked by a pitch 10 times though six games thus far this season - a total that leads the Big West. Fullerton, which led the conference with 53 HBP's last year, is led by freshman Nicole Johnson, who has been hit four times in six games to pace the league while senior Lauren Lupinetti's two HBP's stands tied for second. In all, six Titans have been hit by a pitch this season - just three shy of last season's group that contributed to Fullerton's league-leading total.
TORRIE, TORRIE, TORRIE: Despite hitting just .211 on the season, sophomore outfielder Torrie Anderson has developed into a major run producer for the Titans to start the 2009 season. Anderson has driven in six runs this season (second on the team to Courtney Martinez and seventh in the Big West Conference entering the week), including two each against Oregon State and No. 13 Northwestern.
THREE-BAGGER: Junior utility player Sheila Holguin slugged her seventh career triple as part of a 2-for-4 night against Oregon on Feb. 13, moving her into a tied for seventh place with Candice Baker (2004-07) and Missy Coombes (1987-90) on the school's all-time list. Jodie Cox (2000-03) and Rina Foster (1984, 1986-87) are next on the list with eight career triples while Carey Hess (1987-90) ranks fourth all-time with nine career three-baggers. Holgun ranked 25th nationally last season with 0.09 triples per game and No. 39 overall with her five triples - a total that ranks tied for fifth in a single season in Cal State Fullerton history.
WHERE'S THE GLOVE, MAN?: Cal State Fullerton's defense has been a little shaky to start the 2009 season, just one year removed from standing tied for third in the Big West with a .963 fielding percentage in 2008. The Titans have been charged with eight errors thus far this season (Fullerton didn't commit its eighth error until game nine last season) and they rank fifth in the league with a .956 fielding percentage entering the weekend.
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.