March 1, 2007
FULLERTON, CA - Coming off a stellar weekend at the Palm Springs Classic, the Cal State Fullerton softball team (9-7 overall) returns to Orange County to host the first of two softball tournaments this season at Anderson Family Field with the 2007 Worth Invitational. The three-day event begins on Friday morning (March 2) and runs throughout the weekend with games starting at 9 a.m. on all three days.
The Titans open tournament play on Friday at 3:45 p.m. against Minnesota and follow that with a 6 p.m. game against Stanford. Saturday's slate for Fullerton includes contests against Nevada and Oklahoma State beginning at 1:30 p.m. and ends on Sunday with a single game against Oregon State at 1:30 p.m.
Score updates and box scores will be posted as soon as possible following each game on the tournament home page... 2007 Worth Invitational
A LOOK AT THE FIELD: This weekend's tournament field features three teams that reached the NCAA Regionals in 2006 (Cal State Fullerton, Nevada, and San Diego State), one super regional round qualifier (Stanford), and two teams that qualified for the Women's College World Series (Oregon State and Northwestern).
IN THE POLLS: Fullerton continued to receive votes in this weeks ESPN.com/USA Softball poll (2) and USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll (5). Stanford is ranked as high as \#8 in the nation this week according to the USA Softball Coaches poll, Northwestern is ranked as high as \#8 in the NFCA Coaches poll, and Oregon State is ranked as high as \#11 according to the NFCA.
DEFINITELY "WORTH" IT: Cal State Fullerton has posted a 22-11 overall record in the currently named Worth Invitational dating back to the 2001 season, including a perfect 6-0 record at the 2002 event. The tournament also ran for three seasons under the "Easton Showcase" moniker from 1999-2000 with the Titans going 7-2 in those two seasons.
THE "K" CLUB: Another big week for senior Candice Baker boosted her into fifth place on the school's career strikeout list as her 32 strikeouts gave her 538 for her career - passing Ann Van Dortrecht, who had 516 during her Fullerton career from 1989-91. Next in Baker's sights: current Cal State Fullerton assistant coach and two-time All-American Gina Oaks, who amassed 685 strikeouts in her stellar career from 2000-03.
THE ART OF THE "0": Baker tossed a pair of complete-game shutouts last weekend at the Palm Springs Classic, bringing her season total to five through three weeks of play this season. It's worth pointing out after the senior had six shutouts in all of last season and has only eight in her career.
HOW'S THIS FOR STARTERS?: Junior Jessica Doucette has had an immediate impact at the top of the Titans lineup in 2007 as she leads the team with a .360 average and has scored a team-best 15 runs while also drawing six walks. The 2006 third-team All-American ranks tied for second in the Big West Conference in walks while her 18 hits this season rankes tied for fourth.
TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM: Seems we have a new Crystal Vieyra on the team. Sophomore Lauren Lupinetti has inherited the title of "target" thus far this season as she has been hit by a pitch a team and Big West-high eight times in 16 games in 2007 - including five times last weekend at the Palm Springs Classic. Vieyra, who has played in only five games this season due to injury, has ranked in the top five in the nation the last two seasons in the HBP category - including leading the NCAA with 17 HBP's as a freshman in 2005 - and stands 11 shy of the school record with 36 in her two-plus seasons.
GIVING ONE FOR THE TEAM: Sophomore Courtney Martinez, who leads the team and ranks seventh in the Big West in RBI with 12, has also been adept at giving her teammates chances to drive home runs as she also leads the team with nine sacrifice bunts (to go with one sac fly) and has advanced runners in 66 percent (23-of-35) of her at bats this season. Last season, Martinez had 13 sacrifice hits (and one sac fly) to lead the team as a freshman.
SHOW ME SOME GLOVE: The Titans' defense has been stellar to start the 2007 season as Fullerton has committed only six errors in 419 chances for a .986 fielding percentage - 19 points better than second place Cal Poly. This after a 2006 season that saw Cal State Fullerton post the best fielding percentage in school history (.972) and the fewest errors in a season (49).
LET'S TURN TWO: Fresh off a 2006 season that saw the Titans turn a Big West Conference best 25 double plays and average 0.41 per game to rank No. 16 in the nation, Fullerton is back at it as the Titans have turned seven double plays this season to lead the league.
TENNESSEE LOSS SNAPS STREAK: Fullerton's loss to top-ranked Tennessee last week snapped a four-game winning streak in home openers for the Titans dating back to 2003.
AMANDA "WOW'S" IN DEBUT: What a way to make your debut at the plate. After coming in as a pinch-runner in her first nine appearances of the season, junior transfer Amanda Fernandez (Cypress College) made quite an impression in her first start of the year, notching base hits in her first three Division I at-bats and finishing 3-for-4 with a run scored in the Titans' game against Long Island.
STILL NO HITS FOR YOU: Cal State Fullerton continues to hold the opposition's bats in check as the Titans are allowing the other team to hit .174 this season to stand atop the Big West. In addition, all three of Fullerton's starters are individually ranked among the top 10: Candice Baker leads the league with a .148 average, Brooke Weekley is fourth with a .188 average, and Jessica Doucette is seventh with a .223 average.
GET `EM ON, GET `EM HOME... FAST: The Titans have gotten into the swing of scoring early this season, outscoring their opponents, 31-10, in the first three innings and posting a 9-1 record this season when scoring first.
GOTTA WIN THE CLOSE ONES: Cal State Fullerton has been iin just about every game it has played this season as nine of its 16 contests have been decided by two runs or less. However, the Titans are just 3-6 in those contests, hitting just .247 as a team and .221 with runners in scoring position.
TITANS PICKED TO REPEAT AS BIG WEST CHAMPS: The 2007 Cal State Fullerton softball team was picked to repeat as champions of the Big West Conference according to a vote of the league's coaches released on Jan. 24 by the conference office. The Titans received six of the seven possible first-place votes and 48 points overall to outdistance second-place Cal Poly, which received 35 points. The two were followed by last year's runner-up Long Beach State (33 points) in third and UC Santa Barbara and Pacific, which tied for fourth with 25 points apiece. Cal State Northridge (17 points) received the remaining first-place vote and was picked sixth followed by UC Riverside (13 points) in seventh.
BAKER IS ONE TO WATCH FOR: Senior right-hander Candice Baker was one of 50 players named to the initial watch list for the sixth annual USA Softball National Player of the Year Award on Jan. 23. The list is comprised of players representing 33 schools and 11 different NCAA Division I conferences. Baker, a two-time All-West Region First-Team selection as a utility player, was 22-10 in the circle as a junior with a 2.16 ERA and a Big West best 259 strikeouts and a .194 batting average against. The list will be pared down to 25 names on April 4 and will shrink yet again to 10 players on May 9. The three finalists will be announced on May 23 with the winner named prior to the start of the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
THE "TITAN FAMILY": Family ties reign supreme at Cal State Fullerton in 2007. Cousins Jenna Wheeler and Courtney Martinez will play together for the second straight season... Yvette Fernandez's cousin is former Fullerton All-American Monica Lucatero... Jessica Doucette's mother, the former Teri Young, was a member of the Titans' first-ever softball team in 1980... Dana Crucil's father, Jeff, was an offensive lineman for the Titans' football team in the early 1970s.
GROMACKI APPROACHES MILESTONE: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Michelle Gromacki is approaching yet another coaching milestone as she stands just 19 wins away from notching her 300th career coaching win. Gromacki, a two-time Big West Coach of the Year and four times the head coach of the NFCA West Region Coaching Staff of the Year, could reach the 300-win mark as soon as April 1 at UC Santa Barbara.
VAN BOXMEER NAMED EARNS SPOT ON CANADIAN NATIONAL TEAMS: Cal State Fullerton senior Ashley Van Boxmeer was named to Canada's 17-member World University Games team that will compete on Aug. 8-18 in Bangkok, Thailand, and will also compete with the Senior Women's National Team at the 2007 Canada Cup.