Titans Head to the Desert for Palm Springs Classic

Feb. 21, 2008

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FULLERTON, CA - The No. 23/24 Cal State Fullerton softball team (4-3-1 overall) hopes both the weather and the clock cooperate back in the Titans' home state as they travel east to Cathedral City for the Palm Springs Classic hosted by Oregon State at the Big League Dreams Sports Park. A challenging slate awaits them as the Titans will meet three teams ranked in the top 25 in Ohio State, LSU, and Baylor along with contests against Michigan State and Long Island University.

CAN'T MAKE IT?: Gametracker livestats will be available for select games this weekend barring technical difficulties with the Internet connection at Big League Dreams Sports Park. Links are available at www.FullertonTitans.com.

IN THE POLLS: A difficult weekend deep in the heart of Texas dropped Cal State Fullerton in both top 25 polls this week as the Titans fell to No. 23 according to the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 24 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball coaches poll... The Buckeyes are ranked No. 18 and 21, respectively, in the above polls... LSU is the highest-ranked team Fullerton will meet this weekend, ranked No. 6 and tied at No. 7... Baylor is ranked No. 10 and 13... Michigan State and LIU are unranked.

SERIES RECORDS: Cal State Fullerton is 17-5 all-time against Ohio State, winning two straight and five of the last six... The Titans are 2-1 against Michigan State, winning the last two - including a 4-1 win in Palm Springs last season... Fullerton is 1-1 all-time against LSU, but the two schools haven't met since 2003 when they split a pair of games: a 4-3 Tigers win in Las Vegas and a 7-6 Titans' victory at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga... Fullerton is 3-1 against Baylor, but the two teams' haven't met since 2004 - a 2-1 loss to the Bears in Palm Springs... The Titans are 1-1 against LIU and will be looking to avenge a 5-4 loss in nine innings to the Blackbirds at last year's Palm Springs Classic.

A LOOK AT OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes have started the year 8-2 overall, posting a perfect 5-0 record at the Stetson Lead-Off Classic and going 3-2 at the Florida International Schutt Sports Invitational last weekend... OSU is hitting .333 as a team, paced by the hot bat of Sam Marder, who is hitting .593 (16-for-27) with four home runs and 19 RBI... Brittany Vanderink is hitting .543 with 13 runs scored and 10 runs driven in... Kim Reeder (3-1, 0.81 ERA), Lindsay Bodeker (3-1, 1.31 ERA), and Megan Miller (2-0, 1.47 ERA) have all seen time in the circle... Opponents are hitting just .191 against the staff.

A LOOK AT MICHIGAN STATE: The Spartans are 4-0 to start the year, winning all of their contests at the Seminole Classic in Tallahassee, Fla... senior Caitlin Mahoney leads the team offensively, hitting .462 with six RBI while four other players are batting better than .400 to help MSU to a .349 team average thus far... Freshman Shae Bass is 3-0 overall with a 0.82 ERA in the circle, holding opponents to a .195 average, while senior Lesley Noel is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA and a .178 average against.

A LOOK AT LSU: The Tigers are a perfect 7-0 to start the season, winning their first six at their own Easton Tiger Classic and shutting out Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday... LSU has outscored its opponents 62-8 thus far this season... The Tigers are hitting .388 as a team led by the big bat of senior Shannon Stein, who is hitting .588 with a home run and five RBI... Nine players are hitting better than .350 on the year... the duo of Dani Hofer (4-0, 0.58 ERA, 38 K's) and Cody Trahan (2-0, 0.75 ERA) have stifled the opposition and the staff as a whole has held opponents to a .123 average this season.

A LOOK AT BAYLOR: The Bears are 5-1 overall to start the season, winning their last four straight after a doubleheader sweep of Prairie View A&M by the scores of 17-0 (5) and 6-0... Jordan Daniels leads the regulars offensively, hitting .611 with five home runs and 12 RBI while also scoring eight times... Baylor is hitting .387 as a team with six players hitting better than .450 on the year and is outscoring its opponents, 46-9... Jenny Isham (2-0, 0.00 ERA), Kirsten Shortridge (2-0, 1.29), and Brittany Turner (1-1, 0.00 ERA) have all seen action early on, holding opponents to a .190 average this season.

A LOOK AT LONG ISLAND: The Blackbirds are 3-2 overall to start the season after opening at the Florida Atlantic Strike Out Cancer Tournament last weekend... LIU defeated Missouri State, Miami (Ohio), and Kent State while falling to NC State and Missouri State... Celina Castillo leads all hitters with a .375 average while Chelsea Martinson and Renae Beauchman have driven in a pair apiece... Jenny Giles (1-2, 0.86 ERA) and Blaire Porter (2-0, 1.06 ERA) make up the pitching staff with Porter leading the way with 23 strikeouts and a .057 average against.

THERE'S NO TYING IN SOFTBALL: Well, apparently, there is. Cal State Fullerton and Texas battled to a 4-4 tie in the second game of an inpromptu doubleheader with the Longhorns at the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational as the Titans had to leave early in order to catch their flight. It was only the fifth tie in the history of the program and the first since 1991 - a 3-3, 16-inning battle at UNLV on April 8.

TORRIE, TORRIE, TORRIE: A breakout weekend for Fullerton freshman Torrie Anderson was had in Austin last weekend as she hit .400 overall with a pair of big games against Penn State and Texas. Anderson finished 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and a bases-loaded, three-run double against the Nittany Lions and followed that up two days later with a 2-for-2 outing at the plate with two runs scored and her first career home run against the Longhorns in a 4-4 tie.

HIGH ON HINER: Freshman right-hander Christine Hiner continued a solid start to her Division I career, posting a 1-0 record in three appearances last weekend in Austin. Hiner (3-0 in the circle) extended her streak to 16 2/3 scoreless innings before Texas struck for three runs in the first inning of the second game between the two schools on Sunday and she struck out nine in 15 2/3 innings of work with a 1.34 ERA overall on the weekend.

WE MEET AGAIN: Cal State Fullerton will meet Ohio State in its opener in Palm Springs - the school the Titans eliminated from last year's NCAA Regionals on the Buckeyes' home field.

DABBS ON THE BOARD: Freshman Sammie Dabbs logged her first career hit and RBI in last weekend's win over Penn State, slapping a shot off the pitcher's glove and past the shortstop in the fifth inning to drive home teammate Torrie Anderson with the game-ending run.

EXTRA! EXTRA! RUN ALL AROUND IT: Of Fullerton's 61 hits thus far this season, 25 of those have gone for extra bases - including a Big West Conference best 21 doubles. Jessica Doucette is second in the league with five doubles while teammates Katie Gollhardt and Torrie Anderson are tied for third with four two-baggers each. Kiki Munoz and Lauren Lupinetti are among six more players tied for sixth in the league with three doubles this season.

STILL NO HITS FOR YOU: The Titans lead the Big West in opposing batting average with a .219 mark entering the weekend as Christine Hiner and Jessica Doucette both rank among the top five individually. Hiner is fourth in the league, holding opponents to a .214 average, while Doucette ranks fifth with a .227 average against.

BALANCED: Cal State Fullerton's offense has shown it can hurt you no matter who's at the plate as nine of the 10 batters with plate appearances this season have driven in runs, led by six RBI apiece from Torrie Anderson and Kiki Munoz. Not to be outdone, seven of those 10 players have also scored three or more runs this season, including a team-high seven runs by Jenna Wheeler.

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: Kiki Munoz leads the team with a pair of game-winning RBI this season while four different players have come around to score the winning run in the Titans' four wins this season.

"DOUCE" GOES FOR TWO: "Douce": nickname for Fullerton's Jessica Doucette, but also a fitting description for her performances at the plate thus far this season. Of her nine hits in 2008, five of those have gone for doubles as she co-leads the team with 14 total bases and ranks third in slugging percentage at .538 this season.

WELL THAT'S NEW: Senior infielder Katie Gollhardt began the year starting all 173 games she has appeared in as a Titan - and in 170 of those games, she has been a rock at first base. However, 2008 has brought a new look to the Fullerton infield - one that now has Gollhardt starting across the diamond at third base and Jessica Doucette moving across the diamond to first when she's not pitching. Gollhardt last played a different position as a sophomore in 2006, starting three games in right field near the end of the regular season.

TITANS DEBUT IN TOP 25: The Titans began the season ranked in the preseason coaches polls for the first time since 2004 following a season that saw them post a 41-15 overall record and a 20-1 mark in league play en route to their 22nd postseason appearance.

TITANS PICKED SECOND IN BIG WEST: The Cal State Fullerton softball team was picked to finish second in the Big West Conference according to a vote of the league's coaches. The Titans, who received 55 points overall, were edged out of the top spot by defending league champion Cal Poly (56 points) despite receiving three first place votes to the Mustangs' two. Long Beach State was picked third with 52 points in a tightly-contested race for the preseason No. 1 spot and matched Cal Poly with two first-place votes. Pacific was fourth with 33 points followed by Cal State Northridge with 32 points (and one first-place vote), UC Davis with 28 points, UC Santa Barbara with 20, and UC Riverside with 12.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Cal State Fullerton returns nine letter winners and seven position starters from last year's team that finished 38-23 overall and 13-5 in the Big West Conference for second place. The Titans travelled to Columbus, Ohio, for postseason play and worked their way out of the losers bracket to upset host Ohio State on its home field and clinch their first regional win since 1995. Fullerton then became the first Big West school to advance to the NCAA Super Regional round, where eventual national champion and No. 4-ranked Arizona ended the Titans' postseason run. Cal State Fullerton welcomes seven newcomers to the field in 2008 - all freshmen.

THE BEST AROUND: The Titans are scheduled to meet 12 teams ranked in the preseason top 25 polls in 2008 - including seven of the top 10 in the USA Softball poll and up to five more schools that are receiving votes.

FOR OPENERS: The Titans are 22-7 all-time in season-openers, including an 9-4 mark at home, following this year's 7-3 win over Santa Clara, snapping a three-game home opener losing streak dating back to 1994.

NUMBERS ARE FUN: Cal State Fullerton's group of returners hit just .255 a season ago, but the offense brings back 71 percent of the team's runs scored, 87 percent of the extra-base hit numbers (doubles and triples), 78 percent of the team's home runs, and 80 percent of the squad's RBI total.

UPSET: Cal State Fullerton's win over No. 5 Oklahoma marked the highest-ranked opponent that the Titans have defeated since they handed No. 3-ranked UCLA a 4-3 loss on Feb. 5, 2005.

OUT OF THE BLOCKS: Four games played and four early advantages for the Fullerton offense as the Titans have jumped out to early leads in each of their games thus far this season. Through the first four innings combined, Fullerton has outscored its opposition by a combined count of 24-0 and has outscored opponents 28-10 overall thus far this season.

OFFENSE OFF TO A GOOD START: The bats came alive in a big way for the Titans in their opening weekend of play, hitting a combined .380 in four games helped in part by seven regulars hitting better than .360 last weekend. Fullerton reached double digits in hits twice - including a season-best 13 against Santa Clara on Feb. 10 - and outhit opponents 41-14.

FROSH FIRSTS: Freshmen Ari Cervantes (vs. Santa Clara) and Torrie Anderson (vs. Nevada) each logged their first career hits on the weekend while each drove in a pair of runs against No. 5 Oklahoma during a huge 10-run second inning. Cervantes also made her first career start in the circle versus the Wolf Pack, allowing three runs on three hits in four innings while earning a no decision.