Aztecs, Big West Opener Awaits Titans

March 30, 2010

FULLERTON, CA -

FIRST PITCH: After its lightest week of the season on the diamond, the Cal State Fullerton softball team (5-26 overall) will be plenty busy during its spring break this week as the Titans host a pair of opponents at Anderson Family Field. The Titans close out non-conference play on Wednesday (March 31) with a single game against San Diego State in an NCAA Tournament rematch at 4 p.m. before trying to turn over a new leaf with the start of Big West Conference play against visiting UC Santa Barbara. Due to the Easter holiday, the Titans and Gauchos will open with a doubleheader on Friday evening (April 2) at 4 p.m. before closing out the series with a single game on Saturday (April 3) at 12 p.m.

I NEED STATS, STAT!: Live in-game statistics via CBS College Sports' Gametracker will be available for all four contests this week from Anderson Family Field. Fans can access the links from the softball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.

"CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?": Live audio will also be available for every game this week as veteran Cal State Fullerton broadcaster Mike Martinez will provide the play-by-play from Fullerton. Links to the free audio are available by clicking on the headphones icon in the upper right-hand corner of FullertonTitans.com.

I SEE YOU!: Live streaming video, courtesy the Big West TV platform, will be available for three of this week's four contests. Wednesday night's contest with the Aztecs as well as Friday's doubleheader with the Gauchos will be featured on a subscription basis. For more information or to sign up to watch all the action live, please visit www.BigWest.org/TV.

IN THE POLLS: San Diego State is receiving 12 votes in this week's USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll while garnering 15 votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll entering this week's contests. Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara are unranked

ABOUT THE AZTECS: San Diego State enters Wednesday night's game with a 19-9 overall record with wins in 11 of its last 12 contests... the Aztecs face Long Beach State on the road on Tuesday (March 30) before heading to Orange County to meet the Titans... SDSU is coming off a week that saw the Aztecs post a 4-1 record at the San Diego Classic II, posting victories over Massachusetts, Kansas, Harvard, and Oregon State while falling to Texas A&M in extra innings... Brittany Knudsen leads the team offensively, batting .370 with 19 runs scored and 12 RBI... Justeen Maeva is batting .351 and provides most of the power with three home runs and 21 RBI... Samantha Beasley is the ace of the staff and has pitched the majority of innings (114 of 196) this season for San Diego State, posting a 14-6 overall record and a 0.92 ERA with 184 strikeouts thus far... Beasley has held opponents to a .164 average while the staff (which includes Bailey Micetich, Kamerin May, and Brooke Petty) has combined to hold opponents to a .219 average this season.

ABOUT THE GAUCHOS: UC Santa Barbara enters the week with a 9-20 overall record heading into a Tuesday doubleheader with Fresno State at home... the Gauchos have lost eight of their last 10 games heading into this week's Big West opener in Fullerton, posting wins against San Diego and Cal State Bakersfield in that stretch... UCSB was 1-3 last weekend at the Stanford Invitational, downing the Roadrunners while falling to BYU, Santa Clara, and Stanford... Jessica Ziegler leads the team offensively, batting .351 entering the week with 15 runs scored and a 13-of-16 mark on the basepaths... the Gauchos are batting just .239 on the season... Lindsey Correa (3-6, 4.03 ERA), MeLinda Matsumoto (4-6, 4.43 ERA), and Krista Cobb (2-7, 7.35) have split the majority of action in the circle this season... opponents are hitting .307 against the UCSB staff.

SERIES RECORDS: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with San Diego State by a 46-14 count... last season, the Aztecs swept a home-and-home with the Titans by the scores of 6-0 in San Diego and 3-0 in Fullerton... Cal State Fullerton, however, won the biggest of the three meetings with SDSU, posting an 8-2 victory in an NCAA Tournament elimination game behind a school-record five home runs in Tempe, Ariz... Fullerton is 23-5 all-time against San Diego State at home... the Titans lead the series with UC Santa Barbara, 97-9, after sweeping the Gauchos in a relocated three-game series last season due to wildfires... Fullerton posted wins of 4-2, 2-1 (9 inn.), and 6-5 at a neutral site in San Luis Obispo to close out the 2009 regular season with seven straight victories... the Titans have a 44-4 all-time record against the Gauchos on their home field, but lost two of three to UCSB in the Gauchos' last trip to Orange County in 2008.

FOR OPENERS... BIG WEST STYLE: Cal State Fullerton is 16-8 all-time in Big West Conference openers, but is just 3-3 in its last six such contests... the Titans opened the 2009 Big West Conference season with a series victory over then-No. 24 Cal Poly in Fullerton with wins of 2-0 and 5-3 in the first two games, but narrowly missed the sweep with a 7-5 loss in the finale... Fullerton is 10-3 in conference-opening games at home compared to just 6-5 on the road... the Titans open conference play at home for the second-straight season... since switching to a three-game series format in 1999, Fullerton is 23-10 in 11 conference-opening series, opening against UCSB three times in that span and winning all three series (3-0 in 2005, 2-1 in 2006, and 3-0 in 2007)... the Titans have also opened against the Gauchos three other times in 1991 (2-0), 1992 (1-1), and 1996 (2-0).

WORTH EVERY PENNY: The Titans welcome back a familiar face to the roster beginning on Wednesday against San Diego State as sophomore Samantha Dollarhide rejoined the team after issues with her health threatened to end her career. Dollarhide hit .244 in 43 games (39 starts) with Fullerton as a freshman, slugging one home run and driving in nine while smacking four doubles and scoring eight runs. The Tustin, Calif., native finished with four multi-hit games on the year and drove in a career-high three runs against Bowling Green on March 13). She was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week on March 16 after a big weekend at the 2009 Judi Garman Classic, batting .538 (7-for-13) with a pair of doubles, a home run, and five RBI to help the Titans to a share of the tournament title. She also tallied the game-winning hit to beat No. 9 Oklahoma and scored the game-winning run to beat No. 2 Washington.

SO YOU'RE SAYING THERE'S A CHANCE...: Despite being mired in a 5-26 season, there remains a slim chance for the Titans to close out the 2010 with a winning regular season record and avoid its third sub-.500 finish in the last seven seasons; however, it would mean that Fullerton would have to close out its year with a perfect 22-0 record in its final 22 games to finish at 27-26 for the campaign. The winning streak would tie for the fifth-longest in school history, joining the 1982 squad that won 22 straight (and finished unbeaten in 29 overall with a tie against Cal State Northridge).

LET THE RECORD SHOW: After finally finishing its contest against Oregon State last week (after a delay of 390 hours), the Titans' official losing streak of 14 consecutive games was stopped with their 3-1 victory over Texas on March 19 at the Judi Garman Classic. The streak surpassed the previous long of eight games set earlier this season from Feb. 14-26. Prior to this season, no Fullerton squad had lost more than seven straight contests.

TRIPLE YOUR PLEASURE: Cal State Fullerton junior K.C. Craddick tallied her first career triple to drive home the Titans' run last week against DePaul - giving Cal State Fullerton a Big West Conference-leading five three-baggers this season. Sophomore Nicole Johnson leads the league with three triples this season while freshman Ariel Tsuchiyama has also sprinted the 180 feet this season. However, Johnson is the only one of the three to have "hit for the cycle" this season, adding two doubles and a home run to her name.

SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE: This weekend's Big West Conference opener at Anderson Family Field will feature the bottom two teams in the league in batting average in UC Santa Barbara (.239) and Cal State Fullerton (.203) as well as two struggling pitching staffs as the Gauchos are seventh with a 5.15 team ERA and the Titans are eighth with a 6.60 ERA. Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara are the only two teams remaining in the conference with fewer than 10 wins as the Gauchos enter the weekend with a 9-20 mark while the Titans stand at 5-26.

CERVANTES SETTLING DOWN: Junior Ari Cervantes has struggled to just a 2-13 record this season, but has shown signs to hitting a groove as of late, posting a 2.42 ERA over her last 17 1/3 innings and lowering her overall ERA by almost a run over her last four starts (1-3). After entering the Judi Garman Classic with a 6.27 ERA, Cervantes now sports a 5.73 ERA entering this week's contests - tops on the staff.

HEINLE ALSO FINDS A GROOVE: In her last eight appearances (one start) redshirt sophomore Krystal Heinle has also found somewhat of a groove, posting a 3.85 ERA over her last 23 2/3 innings and lowering her season ERA by nearly two runs from a season-worst 7.93 on Feb. 26 to 6.21 entering this week's games.

PATIENCE, GRASSHOPPER: Three Titans have shown tremendous patience at this plate this season as freshman Ariel Tsuchiyama and junior Torrie Anderson rank among the most-walked batters in the Big West this season while junior K.C. Craddick stands just outside the top 10. Tsuchiyama has walked a team-high 15 times this season - which stands tied for fourth in the Big West - while Anderson's 14 walks put her in seventh place. Craddick has drawn 12 free passes this year - just one behind a trio of players for eighth place. Only sophomore Trina Harrison (eight walks) and freshman Gabby Aragon (seven walks) are close to the trio as no other Titan player has walked more than four times.

HARRISON'S HIT PARADE CONTINUES: With a 1-for-3 night against DePaul last week, sophomore Trina Harrison extended her hitting streak to three straight games, during which she is batting .600 (6-for-10) with three runs scored and nine RBI with two doubles and two home runs.

BELATED CONGRATS: After a little bit of a delay in receiving information from Fullerton's March 14 contest against Santa Clara, we can finally hand out kudos to freshman Gabby Aragon, who slugged her first career home run against the Broncos and finished with a career high-tying two hits. Aragon's only other hits this season came in a 2-for-3 day against Southern Utah on Feb. 13.

THERE'S NO DEFENSE FOR THAT: Powered largely by the power-hitting exploits of sophomore Trina Harrison and junior Torrie Anderson, Cal State Fullerton is back to its home-run hitting ways in 2010, entering this week leading the Big West Conference in that category with 18 on the season - two better than second-place Cal State Northridge and one of five conference teams in double digits this season. Harrison ranks second in the league individually with her seven long balls on the year, Anderson is third with her six home runs, and junior Ari Cervantes is among a group of 10 players tied for ninth with two round-trippers on the season.

THIS CHICK DIGS THE LONG BALL: Anderson enters Wednesday's contest with 20 career home runs to her credit - just one shy of breaking onto the school's all-time top 10 list, rapidly closing in on Jodie Cox (2000-03), who currently stands 10th on the list with 21 career home runs during her stellar All-American career.

CATCHING ON FAST: Freshman Ariel Tsuchiyama has done a bang-up job behind the plate defensively 28 games into her rookie season, posting a .992 fielding percentage (one error in 131 chances) as the Titans' starting catcher while throwing out a league-best 11 baserunners attempting to steal in 50 chances.

LUCKY SEVEN: Sophomore Trina Harrison became the first Titan to drive in seven runs in a single game in almost eight years, matching the performance of former Cal State Fullerton All-American Jodie Cox, who finished 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles, a triple, and seven RBI in a victory at Utah State on March 30, 2002. Harrison becomes the fifth Titan since 1997 to drive in as many runs, joining Cox, Yasmin Mossadeghi (vs. UNLV on 3.29.00) and Dara Marzolo (vs. Georgia State on 3.19.97) with seven RBI, while Gina Oaks drove in eight runs against Kansas on a pair of grand slams on Feb. 2, 2001. Oaks' eight RBI are the most in program history dating back to 1987 when complete season box scores are available.

PULLING RANK: Fullerton's win over then-No. 15 Texas (and, subsequently, its victory over then-No. 23 Louisiana-Lafayette) marked the Titans' first win over a ranked opponent this season in 10 tries and their first since they took two-of-three from then-No. 24 Cal Poly to kick off Big West Conference play on March 28, 2009. Fullerton is 2-10 against ranked opposition this season.

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