Cathedral City Classic On Deck for Softball

Feb. 22, 2012

FULLERTON, CA -

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BATTER UP: Cal State Fullerton's final road tournament of the season kicks off on Thursday as the Titans (5-6 overall) join the 34-team field at the 2012 Cathedral City Classic hosted by Oregon State at the Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City, Calif. Fullerton will have a full slate of five games with two on Thursday (Feb. 23), one on Friday (Feb. 24), and two on Saturday (Feb. 25).

CATHEDRAL CITY CLASSIC TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
2.23 - Cal State Fullerton (H) vs. Georgia, 6 p.m. - Wrigley Field
2.23 - Cal State Fullerton (H) vs. Boise State, 8:30 p.m. - Wrigley Field
2.24 - Cal State Fullerton (V) vs. New Mexico, 8:30 p.m. - Des Moines Field
2.25 - Cal State Fullerton (V) vs. Ohio State, 6 p.m. - Fenway Field
2.25 - Cal State Fullerton (V) vs. Fordham, 8:30 p.m. - Fenway Field

A complete tournament schedule is available on Oregon State's athletic website at http://www.osubeavers.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/cathedral-classic.html.

IN THE POLLS: Georgia enters the tournament as the unanimous No. 13 team in the nation in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball coaches polls... New Mexico is receiving votes in the NFCA poll... Cal State Fullerton, Ohio State, and Fordham are unranked.

NEW LOOK BIG WEST: The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced on Dec. 12, 2011, that San Diego State will return as the conference's 11th member effective July 1, 2013. The Aztecs, whose women's teams were members of the league from 1985-90, were an original member of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association from 1969-78, and will join Hawaii as the league's "newest" members. The Warriors, whose women's programs were part of the Big West from 1984-96, were introduced as the 10th member of the league on Dec. 10, 2010, and will officially compete as a member of the Big West in July of 2012.

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF.Athletics), Twitter (@FullertonTitans) and Vimeo.com (vimeo.com/fullertontitans).

I NEED STATS, STAT!: For those unable to make the trip to Cathedral City, live stats will be available for select games at the 2012 Cathedral City Classic. Links will be available on the softball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com as soon as they become available.

GROMACKI PREVIEWS 2012: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Michelle Gromacki sat down with the sports information staff to discuss the upcoming 2012 campaign. Filmed by team videographer Matt Brown in stunning high definition, fans can view the entire interview via Vimeo.com at the following link: http://vimeo.com/35553144.

ABOUT GEORGIA: The Bulldogs enter the tournament with a sterling 8-1 overall record, but this weekend will mark their first game outside of Athens, Ga., this season... Georgia's only loss came on Feb. 12 in a 3-2 defeat to NC State... the Bulldogs will also face Arizona, Washington, UCLA, and Oklahoma in Cathedral City... Kristyn Sandberg is hitting .526 with three home runs and 11 RBI to pace an offense that is batting .345 as a team and has outscored opponents, 58-7, this season... Erin Arevalo (4-0, 0.56), Tess Sito (2-0, 0.00), and Morgan Montemayor (2-1, 1.11) make up a pitching staff that has held opposing hitters to a .144 average on the season.

ABOUT BOISE STATE: The Broncos enter the weekend at 7-3 overall and will take on Cal State Northridge, Oklahoma, Cal Poly, and Florida in addition to the Titans in Cathedral City... Boise State finished 3-2 at the Campbell Cartier Classic in San Diego last week, posting wins over UC Santa Barbara, San Dieo, and Notre Dame while falling to UCLA and Washington... Tara Glover leads the offense, batting .500 with 11 runs scored and six RBI while Christin Capobianco is hitting .294 with a team-best 10 RBI... Aubrey Zell (5-1, 0.54) is the ace of the staff, striking out 26 to only two walks and holding batters to a .164 average... Allie Crump (2-2, 3.13), Lela Work (0-0, 3.82), and Kenzie Cole (0-0, 10.50) have also seen time in the circle.

ABOUT NEW MEXICO: The Lobos enter the weekend at 9-1 overall, falling for the first time to Purdue on Sunday after opening the year with nine consecutive wins... New Mexico was 4-1 at its own Lobo Classic last weekend and 5-0 at the Kajikawa Classic to open the year in Arizona, including wins over Oregon and Northwestern... the Lobos will also take on Texas A&M, Oregon State, UC Davis, and Cal Poly in Cathedral City... Jessica Garcia leads the offense, batting .500 with 10 runs, four home runs, and 14 RBI this season... Shenise Cox (7) and Stefanie Carramusa (6) have also left the yard numerous times as UNM has slugged 25 home runs this season and outscored opponents, 86-51...Kaela DeBroeck (5-0, 6.36) and Carrie Sheehan (4-1, 4.83) have split time in the circle for the Lobos in 2012.

ABOUT OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes enter the tournament with a 6-4 overall record, having won four straight to finish 4-1 at the Louisville Slugger Classic in Las Vegas last week... Ohio State will also face Fresno State, Oregon State, and Colorado State in Cathedral City... Vanessa Spears leads the offense with a .483 average, helping the Buckeyes bat .305 as a squad, while Alicia Herron has provided the power, slugging a team-high four home runs and diving in 12 this season... Mikayla Endicott (3-3, 2.37, 41.1 IP) leads the pitching staff, holding opponents to a .222 average this season, while Melanie Nichols (3-1, 5.01, 22.1 IP), Kasie Kelly (0-0, 15.00, 2.1 IP), and Olivia O'Reilly (0-0, 0.00, 1.0 IP) have also seen time.

ABOUT FORDHAM: The Rams opened their season last weekend at East Carolina's Pirate Clash with a 2-2 record, posting wins over Virginia and host ECU while falling to UNC Greensboro and the Cavaliers before weather cancelled their finale against Louisville... Fordham will also take on UC Davis, Long Beach State, California, and Arizona in Cathedral City... Nicole Callahan leads all regulars with a .375 average (6-for-16) while Brianna Turgeon leads all Rams with five RBI... Jen Mineau (2-1, 2.00, 21.0 IP) is the ace of the pitching staff, striking out 28 to just three walks and holding batters to a .167 average... Taylor Pirone (0-1, 6.18, 5.2 IP) and Michelle Daubman (0-0, 5.25, 1.1 IP) have also seen time.

SERIES HISTORIES: Cal State Fullerton is 3-2 all-time against Georgia, but the two teams haven't met since a 3-2 extra-inning win in Fullerton in 2006... Thursday's contest between the Titans and Boise State will be the first between the school's after last year's scheduled inaugural meeting at the Judi Garman Classic was cancelled due to weather... Fullerton leads the all-time series with New Mexico, 17-3, having won the last two straight, but the two teams haven't clashed since a 4-3 win in Fullerton in 2008... the Titans lead the series with Ohio State, 17-7, but the Buckeyes have won the last two meetings (both in Cathedral City) in 2008 and 2010 after Fullerton defeated OSU twice to win the 2007 NCAA Regional in Columbus... Fordham has won the only meeting with Cal State Fullerton, 1-0, at last year's Cathedral City Classic.

AT THE "TRIPLE C": Cal State Fullerton has played in every Cathedral City Classic since its inception in 2004, but has struggled a bit in the desert with a 16-23 (.410) record in the eight previous events. The Titans were 1-4 at last year's event, with losses to Washington, Fordham, Indiana and Syracuse before defeating Long Island in their final game of the tournament. Fullerton has not posted a winning record at the Cathedral City Classic since 2007, when it finished 4-1, and has finished above .500 only twice in eight previous trips to the event (3-2 in 2006), which features some of the nation's top softball teams.

SHOULDERING THE LOAD: A banged-up Fullerton pitching staff got a big lift from junior right-hander Aly Fascetti, who started the middle four of the Titans' six games in the circle last weekend, posting a 2-2 mark with a 2.45 ERA in just under 26 innings of work. Over her last three starts, Fascetti allowed two runs, two runs, and one run, posting a 1.84 ERA and held opponents to a .260 average.

BLAZING BATS: After coming out of the gates strong to start the year in Texas, the Cal State Fullerton offense kept up the pace last weekend in the Central Valley, batting .299 as a team while scoring 29 runs, slugging .369, and posting a .388 on base percentage - all above its numbers from Texas a week earlier (.292, 24, .365, .378, respectively. The performance helped keep the Titans atop the Big West Conference after two weeks in numerous categories including average (.296), on base percentage (.383), runs scored (53), hits (87), RBI (43), and total bases (108).

PAGING TED WILLIAMS...: Although early in the season, the Titans boast four of the Big West Conference's top hitters after two weeks of play in redshirt freshman Eliza Crawford (2nd, .412), junior Ashley Carter (4th, .400), freshman Emily Vizcarra (t5th, .387), and senior Morgan LeMond (9th, .357).

"SPEED... I AM SPEED": With a steal last weekend, senior Adri Martinez improved to 25-for-32 on the basepaths for her career, moving her into a tie for 10th on the all-time list alongside Rachel Olvera (1997-01) and Sue Lewis (1981-84) and needing just two more swipes to match Tobi Perkins (1980-83) for eighth. A perfect 6-for-6 in the category overall on the season, Martinez has safely swiped nine of her last 10 attempts and is already only four steals shy of matching her career high of 10 set as a sophomore in 2010.

THE KILLER "C's": Ashley Carter and Eliza Crawford have been killing opposing pitching at the top of the order to start the season. Aside from both ranking among the league's top five in hitting, the duo also stands 1-2 in runs scored and hits while ranking among the top 10 in on-base percentage, RBI, and total bases.

SOMEONE TURNED UP THE A.C.: And that has had a cooling effect on opposing pitchers. Ashley Carter has picked up right where she left off as a sophomore in 2011, leading the Big West Conference with 16 hits and collecting at least one hit in five of the six contests for the Titans over the weekend in Central California. Carter, who led the team with 16 multi-hit games last season en route to a career-best .312 average, shares the team lead in that category once again in 2012 with three, two-hit games and a pair of career-high three-hit performances against Colorado State (Feb. 10) and Bakersfield (Feb. 17). Last weekend, the Big West Player of the Week nominee batted a robust .429 with six runs scored and a .478 on base percentage to set the table for Fullerton's offense.

BUCKING THE BRONCOS: Cal State Fullerton's offense had quite a weekend against Santa Clara pitching, outscoring the Broncos, 18-3, while banging out 28 hits, including a season-high 15 hits in the first meeting between the two in Fresno. The 15 hits were the most for the Titans since they had 17 in a win over Pacific on May 1, 2011, while Fullerton has reached double-digit hits three times this season with three more games of nine hits.

PRODUCTIVE: Junior Tiffany Sheffler has two hits on the year, both going for triples, and both driving in multiple runs. Sheffler's first Division I hit was a two-run triple in a loss to Colorado State on Feb. 11 and she followed that up with a bases-clearing, three-run triple against Santa Clara last weekend. Add to that a run-scoring ground ball against the Broncos on Feb. 19 and the junior is third on the team in RBI with six just two weeks into the season.

YOUNG GOES YARD: Senior Anissa Young slugged only the second home run of the season for the Titans last weekend against Santa Clara, but it was a big one as her grand slam keyed a six-run first inning after the Broncos had scored an early run to take the lead. Young, who shares the team and Big West Conference lead with seven RBI along with teammate Eliza Crawford, slugged the first grand slam by a Titan since Trina Harrison accomplished the feat against UC Santa Barbara on April 2, 2010.

PRESEASON POLL: The Cal State Fullerton softball team was picked to finish third in the race for the 2012 Big West Conference title according to a vote of the league's head coaches released on Jan. 31, 2012, by the conference office. The Titans received 42 points to finish behind defending champion Pacific and Long Beach State, which received four first-place votes and 59 points apiece to stand tied atop the poll. UC Santa Barbara (37 points) was picked a close fourth followed by Cal State Northridge (34), Cal Poly (26), UC Davis (20), and UC Riverside (12).

A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Fullerton finished third in the Big West race a season ago with a 12-9 mark in conference play to go along with a 23-24 overall record. The Titans return seven position starters and a pair of pitchers while welcoming seven newcomers to the fold for 2012. Leading the way for the returners is senior infielder Nicole Johnson, an all-conference honorable mention selection who hit a team-high .331 to go with five home runs, and 17 RBI a season ago, as well as junior all-conference outfielder Ashley Carter, who hit .312 with a trio of triples, 14 walks, and eight RBI. In the circle, junior Katey Laban returns after earning all-conference honorable mention honors a season ago, finishing 5-7 overall with a 3.40 ERA and a .270 average against. In conference play, Laban was 5-3 with a 2.66 ERA and a .268 average against in 12 appearances.

JOHNSON WITH A TARGET ON HER BACK...: And her knee, and her thigh, and her arm... you get the picture. Senior Nicole Johnson is within striking distance of a rather dubious school record, entering the 2012 season with 37 career hit by pitches across her first three Division I seasons. Johnson, who was bruised a team-high 15 times last season as a junior (tied for the fourth-highest total in the school's single-season record books), ranks third all-time in school history, needing just 19 more HBPs to match Crystal Vieyra's school record of 56 accumulated from 2005-08.

GOING, GOING... BACK, BACK... TO CALI CALI: Perhaps one of the biggest offensive additions to the Titans' lineup this year is senior infielder Anissa Young, who returns to her native Southern California after playing for the last three seasons at LSU. The Fontana native (Bloomington HS) completed her best offensive season as a junior 2011, batting .272 in the ultra-competitive SEC with team high's in home runs (10) and RBI (42) while helping the Tigers to an NCAA Regional berth. During her career at LSU, she started every game but one (171 of 172), batting .252 for her career with 20 doubles, 26 home runs, 117 RBI, and 67 walks. One of those games during the 2009 season came against Cal State Fullerton at the NCAA Regional in Tempe as the then-freshman finished 1-for-3 with an RBI in a 3-2 victory over the Titans.

OFFENSIVE RECOVERY: The Titans combined to hit .275 as a team in 47 games last season, the program's best average in eight years since Fullerton batted .279 in 56 games during the 2003 campaign. Returning to better that mark in 2012 are six of the team's top nine hitters from a season ago, a group that will be bolstered by the return of redshirt sophomore Gabby Aragon, who missed all of last season after hitting .288 as a freshman in 2010 en route to all-conference second-team honors, and redshirt freshman Eliza Crawford, who hit .286 in just nine games before missing the rest of 2011 due to injury.

THREE SIGN WITH CAL STATE FULLERTON FOR 2013: Cal State Fullerton softball Head Coach Michelle Gromacki announced that high school standouts Jasmine Antunez, Samantha Galarza, and Melissa Sechrest have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers with the Titans beginning with the 2013 season.

"We are very excited about this incoming class of student-athletes," Gromacki said. "We couldn't be more confident that this recruiting class is one of the best we've had."

California natives Antunez, a 5-4 pitcher/outfielder from Garden Grove, and Galarza, a 5-5 utility player from Moreno Valley, join Arizona native Sechrest, a 5-foot-8, left-handed infielder/outfielder from Peoria, for the 2013 campaign as true freshmen.

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