March 5, 2008
FULLERTON, CA - Coming off a second-place showing at its own Worth Invitational last weekend, the Cal State Fullerton softball team (11-7-1 overall) has yet another busy week ahead of them, hosting a pair of games and playing two more at a neutral site as part of the Long Beach Invitational. The Titans open on Thursday (March 6) at 6 p.m. with a single game against Loyola Chicago before welcoming No. 8/8 Northwestern to Anderson Family Field for a single game at 6 p.m. on Friday (March 7) as part of the tournament. Fullerton will then head to Mayfair Park in Lakewood, Calif., on Saturday (March 8) for a pair of games against Rutgers at 3:45 p.m. and a rematch with Notre Dame later that night at 8 p.m.
CAN'T MAKE IT?: Gametracker livestats will be available for Cal State Fullerton's games against Loyola Chicago and Northwestern as will live streaming Internet audio and video. Audio links are available at www.FullertonTitans.com while the video is on a subscription basis only at www.BigWest.org/TV.
MAPQUEST ME: For those fans following the Titans to Mayfair Park, the facility is located at 5720 Clark Ave., in Lakewood (ZIP code is 90712) at the corner of Clark Ave. and South St.
IN THE POLLS: Cal State Fullerton is listed as one of those receiving votes this week, gaining 21 votes in the USA Today/NFCA poll and 23 votes according to the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll... Northwestern is the unanimous No. 8 team in the nation. Neither Rutgers nor Notre Dame - Fullerton's two other opponents this weekend - are ranked.
A LOOK AT THE RAMBLERS: Loyola Chicago enters the weekend with a 3-8 overall record and will meet San Diego State on Wednesday before heading back to Orange County to take on Cal State Fullerton... The Ramblers finished 0-4 at the Worth Invitational and split a doubleheader with Loyola Marymount on Tuesday, winning 6-3, before being shutout 8-0 in the nightcap... Ellen Kresl, who led the Worth Invitational in hitting with a .714 average (10-for-14), is hitting .389 overall to lead a quartet of Ramblers hitting better than .300 on the year... Amy Solava (2-5, 4.03 ERA) and Krista Crosson (1-3, 3.58 ERA) have comprised the rotation for Loyola Chicago as four pitchers have seen some time in the circle.
A LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: No. 8 Northwestern enters the week with a 10-3 overall record, having won three of four at the Coach B Classic hosted by Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Ill., last weekend... The Wildcats have posted wins over such high-profile opponents as No. 2 Texas A&M (8-7), No. 1 Arizona (8-5), No. 6 LSU (6-4), and No. 25 Texas (5-4), while falling to No. 11 UCLA (6-2)... Tammy Williams leads things offensively, hitting .590 with three home runs and seven RBI to help Northwestern to a .281 average as a team... Lauren Delaney is the ace in the circle, posting an 8-2 record with a 2.67 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 63 innings while holding opponents to a .158 batting average.
A LOOK AT THE SCARLET KNIGHTS: Rutgers enters the week with a 6-3 overall record, having won four straight to close out the Miken Classic hosted by Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton last weekend... The Scarlet Knights will face stiff tests in Northwestern and Virginia Tech to open the Long Beach Invitational before meeting the Titans on Saturday... Amanda Heller, Mallory Miller, and Kate Valiante lead the team offensively, all hitting better than .400 to start the season... Rutgers is hitting .298 as a team... Three pitchers have seen action in the circle with Katye Hamlin leading the way with a 3-1 record to go with a 2.47 ERA... Nicole Lindley is 2-0 with a 1.87 ERA in three appearances while Chrissy Yard is 1-2 in four starts with a 7.24 ERA... Opponents are hitting .275 against the Rutgers pitching staff and have slugged 11 home runs.
A LOOK AT THE FIGHTING IRISH: Notre Dame enters the weekend with a 7-6 overall record after downing UC Riverside, 8-2, on Tuesday... The Fighting Irish will meet UCLA, Long Beach State, and Virginia Tech at this weekend's tournament before meeting Fullerton on Saturday night... Katie Laing, who set the program's career doubles mark against UCR, is hitting .372 to pace the squad to go with a home run, six doubles, and a team-high 13 RBI... Sadie Pitzenberger is hitting .333 with 11 runs scored... Brittany Bargar is 6-4 in the circle with a 1.11 ERA and 55 strikeouts in just under 57 innings... Opponents are hitting just .216 against the pitching staff this season.
"WORTH" IT: Cal State Fullerton posted a second-place finish at its own Worth Invitational this past weekend at Anderson Family Field, matching nationally-ranked Stanford with a 4-1 mark. Florida claimed the title with a perfect 5-0 mark, including a dramatic walk-off victory over the Cardinal in the Gators' final tournament game. With its successful showing, the Titans improved to 30-13 (.698) all-time in games at the Worth Invitational under its current moniker, posting its seventh winning record in the last eight events.
YARD WORK: Cal State Fullerton's string of seven consecutive games with a home run was snapped against No. 5 Florida last weekend, but that hasn't stopped the Titans from going long. Fullerton hit two home long balls against Oregon State less than 24 hours later and has now hit a home run in nine of its last 12 contests after slugging just one home run in the team's first seven games combined. This season, Fullerton is 7-2-1 overall when the team hits a home run.
OOPS: The Titans have done well to capitalize on their opponents' miscues in the field as the winning runs for the good gals have come home via an error in each of Fullerton's last three wins.
"K.C." AND THE SUNSHINE BAND: That's the way (uh huh, uh huh) she likes it (uh huh, uh huh). Freshman K.C. Craddick logged her first career hit as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning on Sunday against Oregon State, lacing a single through the left side. Craddick had walked in her first two plate appearances of the season and had a ground out in her first career at bat against Texas Tech on Feb. 29.
IN THE KIKI, KIKI, KIKI, KIKI, KIKI ROOM: Senior Kiki Munoz has continued her torrid start to the 2008 season, hitting .533 to pace the Titans at last weekend's Worth Invitational - including a trio of multi-hit games to bring her team-leading total to seven on the year. Munoz, who is hitting a team-high .426 on the season (fourth in the Big West), had the game-winning hit against Purdue and she scored the game-winner in Fullerton's victory over Oregon State to cap a big weekend.
STREA"KIKI"ING: Yeah, there's a few extra letters in there, but Munoz also has a few extra hits over the last two weekends, as the senior extended her season-best hitting streak to eight straight games at the Worth Invitational - just one shy of teammate Jessica Doucette's team-best nine-game streak earlier this year. Over that stretch, Munoz is hitting .522 (12-for-23), with four doubles, a home run, four runs scored, and four RBI.
THAT WAS A HUMDINGER: Freshman Christine Hiner continued to build on a strong rookie season, going 2-1 against last weekend's competition with the lone loss coming on a pair of unearned runs against No. 5 Florida. Hiner struck out 22 in 21 innings pitched for the weekend while walking just four, holding opponents to a .195 average. Against Texas Tech, the freshman struck out a career-high 11 batters and pitched her third shutout of the young season against Notre Dame to improve to 6-3 overall on the year.
UNDER PRESSURE: Hiner has been thrown into the fire against some of the nation's best teams this season as five of the freshman's 11 starts have come against teams ranked in the top 25 (with another appearance against then-No. 12 Michigan).
NOT TO BE OUTDONE: Senior Jessica Doucette also did a bang-up job in the circle at the Worth Invitational, posting a 2-0 record and tossing 13 shutout innings in her two starts while holding opponents to a .184 average against. She opened the tournament with her first shutout of the year in a 5-0 victory over Purdue, striking out five while scattering only four hits. Against Oregon State, Doucette allowed only three hits through six innings to the Beavers before they struck for three harmless runs in the seventh in the Titans' 6-3 victory.
YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD... YES!: Fullerton's offense has broken through on the scoreboard first in 13 of the team's first 19 games this season, including scoring in the first inning eight times. The Titans have outscored the opposition 29-6 in the first two innings and 92-59 overall this season.
HIGH ON HOLGUIN: Fullerton's Sheila Holguin looks like she's not ready to fall into the dreaded "sophomore slump" as she has really picked things up at the plate. After hitting just .207 in 58 at bats in all of 2007, Holguin is batting .316 through her first 57 at bats this season, setting single-season career highs in runs scored (10) and RBI (7). She has hits in five of her last seven contests (including four multiple-hit games), hitting .450 (9-for-20) in that span with four runs scored, three RBI and a pair of walks.
WE'LL SCORE `EM... YOU DRIVE `EM IN: Senior Katie Gollhardt (16) and junior Courtney Martinez (14) stand 1-2 in the Big West Conference in runs scored to lead a very diverse offense for the Titans thus far in 2008. Four Fullerton players have scored 10-or-more runs thus far this season while four players have also driven home 10-or-more runs this season. Of those, only one player overlaps in both categories as freshman Torrie Anderson has scored 11 times and driven home 10 runs.
WELCOME BACK "C": Senior infielder Crystal Vieya made her return to the field this past weekend at the Worth Invitational, pinch-hitting on two occasions against Florida and Notre Dame. Vieyra missed 15 consecutive games since suffering a leg injury in the first inning (second batter) of the Titans' season opener against Santa Clara on Feb. 8.
WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: Kiki Munoz leads the team with four game-winning RBI this season while six different players have come around to score the winning run in the Titans' 11 wins this season led by Courtney Martinez's four runs scored.
SHOPPING AT THE GAP: Cal State Fullerton's 37 doubles this season paces the Big West Conference and lead second place Long Beach State by eight two-baggers this season. Almost one-quarter of the Titans' 145 hits this season have been doubles while almost 40 percent of Fullerton's hit total have gone for extra bases.
MORE DOUBLES TROUBLE: Individually, five of the top 10 doubles hitters in the Big West entering this week's games are Cal State Fullerton players: Kiki Munoz (t2nd), Jessica Doucette (4th), Katie Gollhardt (t5th), Torrie Anderson (t5th), and Lauren Lupinetti (10th).
I GLOVE YOU MAN: Cal State Fullerton's defense stands atop the Big West Conference with a .974 fielding percentage, committing only 15 errors in 580 chances thus far this season and also turning a league-high nine double plays.
HOW `BOUT SOME OFFENSE?: Cal State Fullerton set season-high's for runs scored (14) and hits (16) in a game against Michigan State last weekend in Palm Springs. The run total was the highest since the Titans scored 15 runs on 17 hits on the road against UC Riverside on May 11, 2007.
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 April 8, 1991 - a 3-3, 16-inning battle at UNLV.
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 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 (one first-place vote), UC Davis with 28 points, UC Santa Barbara with 20, and UC Riverside with 12.
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.