First Place Up For Grabs as Cal State Fullerton Hosts Rival Long Beach State
April 13, 2006
FULLERTON, CA -
Cal State Fullerton's Anderson Field will be the site for a clash between the top two teams in the Big West Conference as the Titans play host to archrival Long Beach State this weekend in a battle for a leg up in the conference title race. Due to the Easter holiday, the series will open with a doubleheader on Friday night (Apr. 14) at 4 p.m. and conclude with a single game on Saturday afternoon (Apr. 15) at noon.
IN THE POLLS
Long Beach State received four votes in this week's USA Today/NFCA coaches poll... Cal State Fullerton is unranked.
Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Long Beach State, 62-40, but the 49ers have held the better hand as of late, winning the last five straight... The Titans' last win in the series came in 2004, a 4-0 win to open a three-game series in Fullerton... Cal State Fullerton is only 27-23 against Long Beach State at home while posting a 32-16 record in Long Beach.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
LONG BEACH STATE: After completing a sweep of Cal State Northridge with a 2-1 make-up victory on Wednesday (April 12), the 49ers enter the weekend series with Cal State Fullerton with a 20-15 overall record and a 5-1 mark in Big West play - one game ahead of the Titans in the standings for first-place.
Long Beach State is coming off a series win over Cal Poly last week, sandwiching 3-1 and 1-0 victories around a 1-0 loss to the Mustangs in game two of a doubleheader on April 8.
The 49ers are led offensively by freshman outfielder Brianna Goad, who is hitting .312 with 20 runs scored, a pair of home runs and 10 RBI.
In the circle, UCLA transfer Michelle Turner is 17-7 overall with a league-leading 1.41 ERA. She has struck out 122 batters to only 10 walks in 143.2 innings while holding opposing batters to a .205 average.
SAME GREAT STADIUM, NEW IMPROVED NAME
The main diamond of the Titan softball complex has been named Anderson Field after a large capital gift was presented to Cal State Fullerton by a pair of Yorba Linda residents.
Brothers Jeff and Dennis Anderson, and their wives, Michelle and Vicki, respectively, have contributed to the university's softball and baseball programs for the past 10 years.
"We have enjoyed our association over the years and are proud to be recognized by the university," said Jeff Anderson, on behalf of his family, in a press release issued by the university's Public Affairs Office.
JUST HOW BIG IS THE WEEKEND?
This weekend's clash between the Titans and 49ers could very well determine the 2006 league champion as the two schools have combined to win each of the last seven Big West Conference titles (and 12 of 21 overall) dating back to the 1999 season. The 49ers claimed conference trophies in 1999, 2004, and 2005 with the Titans filling in the holes from 2000-03. In fact, in each of the last five years, the winner of the season series between the two has gone on to win the conference crown.
That run looks a lot like the rivalry between the two school's baseball programs, as Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State have won or shared a piece of 18 league titles in 27 years dating back to 1970.
VIEYRA AT IT AGAIN AMONG NCAA LEADERS
Sophomore Crystal Vieyra stands second in the country this season in being hit by a pitch with 15 total and 0.38 per game (39 games), trailing only Louisiana Tech's Christine Echols, who has been hit 16 times total and is averaging 0.52 per game (31 games). However, she is not the only Titan on the list as junior Candice Baker ranks No. 29 in the country at 0.22 per game.
"A.K." BETTER THAN O.K.
Cal State Fullerton sophomore infielder Amanda Kamekona had a huge impact at the plate this past weekend in Northridge - her first plate appearances in over a month. Kamekona, who pinch-ran three times against UC Santa Barbara two weeks ago, knocked the rust off with a pinch hit RBI single in game two against the Matadors and went 1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI in Sunday's finale.
Kamekona, who led the team with a .351 average before leaving with a hand injury back in March, is now hitting a team-high .364 - which would rank sixth in the Big West Conference if she had enough at-bats to qualify.
BACK IN THE SLUG OF THINGS
The Titans' offense went deep three more times on the weekend against the Matadors, bringing Fullerton's total to a league-leading 31 home runs on the season - a mark that surpasses last season's total of 28 and is the most since the Titans hit 37 in 2003.
Calling it a trend may be a little inaccurate as it seems to have become the "norm." The Titans' split in their Big West doubleheader with Cal State Northridge on April 8 - marking the 12th time in 14 "doubleheaders" this season that Fullerton has done so. Fullerton's only sweeps this season have come on March 7 vs. Loyola-Chicago and Virginia and on March 25 in two games against Ohio State. Fullerton has fared slightly better in game two's of those doubleheaders, posting a 9-6 record in those games compared to an 8-7 mark in game one's.
RIGHTY ON A ROLL
Cal State Fullerton senior right-hander Marissa Marzan has been on a roll as of late in the circle, posting a 3-0 record in her last three starts, allowing just four earned runs in her last 18 innings (1.55 ERA) and striking out 16. Of her 14 hits allowed, only two have gone for extra bases while Marzan has held opponents to a .222 average. She has also been the recipient of tremendous run support as the Titans have averaged seven runs per game during her time in the circle, posting wins of five runs or more in each of her last three starts.