Cathedral City Awaits Slumping Titans

Feb. 25, 2010

FULLERTON, CA -

FIRST PITCH: The Cal State Fullerton softball team hopes to rebound from a rough start to its 2010 campaign this weekend against some stiff competition at the Cathedral City Classic hosted by Oregon State in Cathedral City, Calif. The Titans will take on a five-game slate that features teams from the Big 12, Mountain West, Big Ten, and Big East Conferences as they look to recover from a 2-9 start.

CATHEDRAL CITY CLASSIC SCHEDULE: The Titans' five-game schedule breaks down as follows. All games will be played at the Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City located at 33700 Date Palm Dr. A complete schedule, directions to the complex, and map is available on the Oregon State softball page at www.OSUBeavers.com or at BigLeagueDreams.com.

Friday, Feb. 26 vs. Oklahoma State - 8 p.m. (Des Moines Field)
Saturday, Feb. 27 vs. Baylor - 12:30 p.m. (Wrigley Field)
Saturday, Feb. 27 vs. Colorado State - 5:30 p.m. (Des Moines Field)
Sunday, Feb. 28 vs. \#17 Ohio State - 8:30 a.m. (Wrigley Field)
Sunday, Feb. 28 vs. Syracuse - 12:30 p.m. (Wrigley Field)

IN THE POLLS: Despite a slow start, Cal State Fullerton is receiving seven votes in this week's USA Today/NFCA Top 25... Oklahoma State (13 votes) and Baylor (29 votes) are also listed in this week's NFCA poll while Ohio State stands at No. 17 this week... the Buckeyes are ranked No. 16 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball coaches poll while Baylor (22 votes) and Oklahoma State (4 votes) are also listed.

I NEED STATS, STAT!: For those unable to make the trip to the desert, selected tournament games from Cathedral City will be available via CBS College Sports' Gametracker interface (or other livestat program) depending on reliable internet connections. Check the schedule page at FullertonTitans.com for the links.

ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE: The Cowgirls enter this week's tournament with a 6-4 overall mark following a 1-4 showing at the LSU Tiger Classic last weekend... Oklahoma State posted a win over Virginia while falling to Michigan and LSU twice apiece... the Cowgirls will also meet Hawaii, BYU, California, and Washington this weekend in Cathedral City... Mariah Gearhart leads the team offensively, batting .438 with 10 runs scored, 14 hits, and six RBI... in the circle, Anna Whiddon (4-2, 3.46 ERA) and Kat Espinosa (2-1, 1.96 ERA) have combined for nine starts... OSU's staff has combined to hold opponents to a .226 average, including a .179 mark by Whiddon.

ABOUT BAYLOR: The Bears enter the weekend with a 6-4 overall mark, posting a 4-1 record at their own QTI Getterman Classic last weekend before a doubleheader against local rival Houston was postponed due to weather... Baylor will also meet Utah, San Diego State, UCLA, and Arizona this weekend in Cathedral City... Nicole Wesley leads the offense, batting .421 with five runs scored, while Jordan Vannatta is hitting .407 with three home runs and 11 RBI... the Bears are hitting .297 as a team while the pitching staff has held opponents to a .211 average... Courtney Repka (5-2, 1.04 ERA) and Whitney Canion (1-2, 1.59 ERA) have combined to start all 10 games, with Repka gaining seven of those starts.

ABOUT COLORADO STATE: The Rams enter the weekend with a 4-5 overall record following a 3-1 weekend at the North Texas Sleep Inn Classic in Denton last week... Colorado State posted wins over Sam Houston State, Missouri State, and host North Texas with its only loss coming against Drake... the Rams' finale against Buffalo was cancelled due to weather... Colorado State will also face Pacific, UCLA, Long Beach State, and California this weekend in Cathedral City... Rebecca Penland paces the offense, batting .538 with five runs, a home run and 11 RBI... Jenna Krogh has scored 10 runs and is hitting .387 with four doubles... Kellie Eubanks (3-2, 3.67 ERA) leads the pitching staff which sports a 5.07 ERA and has been roughed up by the opposition to the tune of a .349 average against.

ABOUT OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes are 6-4 heading into the weekend following a 2-3 showing at the Hatter Invitational in DeLand, Fla., last week... Ohio State posted wins over Stetson and Rhode Island while all three losses came against nationally ranked Alabama - the first two decided by a total of three runs... OSU will also face Fresno State, Tennessee, Oregon State, and UCLA this weekend in Cathedral City... Sam Marder leads the Buckeyes offensively, batting .462 with eight home runs and 13 RBI, slugging 1.385 on the season and walking 11 times... the Buckeyes are hitting .281 as a team thus far... Megan Miller (3-1, 2.86 ERA), Melanie Nichols (2-0, 1.25 ERA), and Lindsay Bodeker (1-3, 3.63 ERA) have all seen significant time in the circle this season, holding opponents to a .197 average through 10 games.

ABOUT SYRACUSE: The Orange enter this weekend's tournament with a 2-3 overall record after opening the season at the Mardi Gras Tournament hosted by Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend... Syracuse posted a pair of wins over Bryant while dropping a pair to the host Ragin' Cajuns' and a single game to Bradley... in a very "orange" dominated schedule, the Orange will also face Tennessee, Texas, Oregon State, and Stanford (along with the navy blue and orange Titans) this weekend in Cathedral City... Veronica Grant leads the offense, entering the tournament batting .389 with three RBI... Stephanie Watts (.375) has the team's only home run and leads the squad with five RBI... Brittany Gardner (1-0, 0.00 ERA), Stacy Kuwik (1-1, 4.22 ERA), and Jenna Caira (0-2, 7.43 ERA) have all seen time in the circle this season and have held opponents to a .214 average thus far, including a .171 average by Kuwik.

SERIES RECORDS: Fullerton leads the all-time series with Oklahom State, 12-3, including a 5-2 mark on neutral fields... the two teams haven't faced one another since 2007 - a 6-2 Cowgirls victory at the Titans' Worth Invitational... Fullerton leads the all-time series with Baylor, 3-2, but the Titans have lost the last two straight to the Bears - an 8-4 loss at this tournament in 2008 and a 2-1 loss to the Bears at this tournament in 2004... all five meetings with Baylor have come on neutral fields as Fullerton's last win in the series came in 1999 by a 6-2 score in Hawaii... the Titans have never lost to Colorado State, leading the series by a 6-0 count... the two schools haven't met since a pair of wins (14-1 and 7-0) at the UNM Diamond Invitational in 2001... Fullerton leads Ohio State, 17-6, in the all-time series, but the Buckeyes handed the Titans a 4-0 defeat in 2008 at this tournament in 2008... the Titans are 7-3 against Ohio State on neutral fields... the Titans lead the series with Syracuse, 3-1, winning the last meeting between the two schools by a 4-2 score during last season's Long Beach Invitational.

TITANS AT THE CATHEDRAL CITY CLASSIC: Cal State Fullerton has played in every single Cathedral City Classic since its inception in 2004, posting a 14-15 overall record in the six previous events. The Titans' best record in the tournament came in 2007 when they defeated Virginia, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Illinois-Chicago en route to a 4-1 mark. Fullerton was 2-3 at last season's tournament, posting wins over NC State and Nebraska while falling to North Carolina, Long Island, and Mississippi.

PREVIOUSLY... ON THE DIAMOND: The Titans' week got off to a rough start on Wednesday afternoon as Fullerton's late rally came up just short in the final innings of a 9-6 loss to No. 3 UCLA at Easton Stadium in Los Angeles. Powered by a solo home run by sophomore Trina Harrison in the sixth and a grand slam by junior Torrie Anderson in the seventh, Cal State Fullerton scored five times in the final two innings to cut deep into a 8-1 deficit before the Bruins wriggled out of a jam in the seventh. Anderson finished 2-for-3 while five other teammates had hits against the Bruins.

WELL, IT'S A START: Despite the loss to UCLA, the Titans' offense, which entered the game against the Bruins hitting just .183 through its first 10 games, finally showed signs of life, posting its second-highest offensive output on the season in terms of both runs (6) and hits (7). Fullerton set season high's with 14 runs and 15 hits in game three of the season against Southern Utah on Feb. 13.

NO BRINGING THAT BACK: Thanks to Torrie Anderson and Trina Harrison, the Titans are back to their home run-hitting ways in 2010, as the duo has combined to slug seven of the team's eight home runs thus far this season. Fullerton, which led the Big West Conference with 46 long balls last season, are second in the league thus far this season, trailing only Long Beach State, which has slammed nine home runs in nine games. Harrison enters the weekend ranked second in the league in home runs while Anderson is a close third.

EYE ON THE RECORD BOOK: Anderson's home run against UCLA gave her 16 for her career - just five shy of breaking into the school's all-time top 10. Jodie Cox (2000-03) currently stands 10th on the list with 21 career home runs during her stellar All-American career.

SPECIAL K: Redshirt sophomore Krystal Heinle enters the weekend as one of the top strikeout pitchers in the Big West Conference, leading the league through her first seven appearances with 34 strikeouts - including a league-high 10 strikeouts looking. Heinle also leads the league in innings pitched (32.1) and starts (6) while standing second in appearances (7).

CATCHING ON FAST: Freshman Ariel Tsuchiyama has done a bang-up job behind the plate defensively 10 games into her rookie season, posting a perfect fielding percentage in 65 chances as the Titans' starting catcher while throwing out a league-best six baserunners attempting to steal in 14 chances.

MILESTONES ON THE HORIZON: With 18 more wins this season, Cal State Fullerton will be the first school in league history to compile 1,000 victories as a member of the league. The Titans are also 18 wins short of 1,300 all-time in school history, entering this weekend with a 1,282-593-5 (.683) all-time record in the history of the program.

ONE OF THE BEST, EVAH!!!: Fullerton's 1,280 wins entering the season positioned the Titans as one of the winningest programs in the history of the NCAA, ranking fourth behind only UCLA (1,471), Texas A&M (1,329), and Florida State (1,308). Fullerton enters the year as one of only 15 programs in the country with more than 1,000 victories. Our thanks to Bonnie Senappe at the NCAA national office for doing the research to compile the list and Big West softball SID Chris Hargraves for passing it along.

GROMACKI CLOSING IN ON ANOTHER: Last season, head coach Michelle Gromacki became just the fourth coach in Big West Conference history to win 350 games and 150 conference contests during a career. In 2010, the Titans' 11th-year head coach has her eyes set on yet another milestone, needing just 31 more victories to log her 400th career coaching victory. Gromacki currently carries a 369-217-1 (.629) all-time record in over 10 years at the helm of the Fullerton program.

CAN WE START OVER?: Cal State Fullerton's current 2-9 start to its 2010 season broke the school record for the worst start in the history of the program, surpassing the 1994 squad that began with just four wins in its first 11 contests, but rebounded to finish 35-29 overall and 21-11 in Big West play for third place. To add insult to injury, the Titans' current seven-game losing streak is tied for the longest in the history of the program, matching a similar streak set last season when they lost seven in a row from Feb. 21-March 1.

GIMME SOME GLOVE: The Titans' defense has been rock solid thus far in 2010, committing only nine errors in the field through the team's first 11 games - well ahead of last year's pace that saw Fullerton commit 18 miscues in the field in the same span. The Titans' .970 fielding percentage thus far this season is second in the Big West Conference entering the weekend, trailing only Pacific's league-leading .983 percentage in six games to start the year.

TITANS-49ERS PICKED UP BY ESPNU: The Big West Conference announced earlier this week that the doubleheader between Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State from Anderson Family Field on May 8 will be broadcast live on ESPNU beginning at 11:30 a.m. The matchup pits two programs which have combined to win 10 of the last 12 Big West Conference softball titles and will mark the fourth consecutive season that the Titans have appeared on national television after the ESPN family of networks carried Fullerton's super regional contests against Arizona in 2007 and the Titans' regional games at UCLA and Arizona in 2008 and 2009, respectively.