Titans Look to Get Back Into Big West Race at Pacific

April 17, 2008

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FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team (19-22-1 overall, 3-6 in the Big West Conference) hits the road in conference play for the second time this weekend as the Titans travel to Stockton for a three-game series against Pacific on April 19-20 at Bill Simoni Field. Saturday's doubleheader and Sunday's single-game finale begin at 12 p.m.

I NEED STATS, STAT: Gametracker live stats courtesy of CBS College Sports will be available for all three games this weekend. Links are available at FullertonTitans.com.

IN THE POLLS: The Titans and Tigers are unranked entering this week's games.

SERIES RECORDS: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Pacific by a 58-27 count... the Titans took two of three from the Tigers last season at home, winning 2-0 and 5-1 in the first two games before Pacific rebounded with a 5-4 win in the finale... Fullerton has won eight of the last nine meetings since 2005 and has won the series in four of the last five years... the Titans are 23-14 against the Tigers in Northern California, sweeping the three-game series in 2006 by the scores of 3-0, 11-3 (5 inn.), and 10-0 (6 inn.).

A LOOK AT THE TIGERS: Pacific enters the week with a 22-25 overall record and a 4-5 mark in Big West play - one game ahead of Cal State Fullerton in the standings... The Tigers are led offensively by Casey Goldsand's .350 average to go with 26 runs scored and 12 RBI... Brittany Hendrickson is also hitting better than 300 at .305... Nicole Matson leads the club with six home runs while Kellee Wilson paces the squad with 38 RBI... Chelsea Engle has seen the majority of time in the circle for the Tigers, posting a 14-13 record in 28 starts to go with a 2.24 ERA and 147 strikeouts... Engle also leads the staff with a .220 average against... Alyce Jorgensen (5-7, 3.99 ERA) and Heidi Helberg (3-5, 4.03 ERA) have also seen time this season.

A RARE THING THIS TRIP: Fullerton's weekender to Stockton will force the Titans to do something they haven't done a whole lot this season - play in front of a hostile crowd. Of the team's 42 games this season, only six have come on an opponent's diamond while 13 others have been played at neutral sites. The six true road games played by the Titans are tied with Cal State Northridge for the fewest in the league this season.

WE'RE GOIN' STREAKING!: Junior Lauren Lupinetti moved her hitting streak to seven consecutive games with a big week against LMU and UC Davis, hitting .467 in the four games with four runs scored, five extra base hits, and four RBI. Lupinetti's streak is the second-longest by a Titan this season as the catcher is batting .520 (13-for-25) with five doubles, five runs scored, a home run and five RBI during that stretch.

WEAR IT!: Already the school record-holder for being hit by a pitch, senior Crystal Vieyra continues to set her sights on the NCAA mark as it seems opposing pitchers have their sights trained in on her. Vieyra was hit by a pitch once in four games last week, giving her 51 for her career - just three shy of matching Purdue's Tricia Lilley and Centenary's Michelle Reeve for second place all-time in NCAA history. Vieyra needs just 11 more to tie her with Liberty's Cheryl Wyrick, who set the all-time Division I record with 62 HBP's in 2001.

GO THREE!: Senior Kiki Munoz has been a familiar sight standing on second base this season, ranking second in the Big West Conference this season with 13 doubles. However, on Sunday against UC Davis, Munoz decided to go one better, slugging her first triple since her sophomore season and only the fourth three-bagger of her career. Before Sunday, Munoz last ended up on third with a triple on March 10, 2005, against San Diego State when she finished 3-for-4 with three RBI against the Aztecs in an 8-0 Titans victory.

HOLGUIN MOVES UP: Speaking of triples, sophomore Sheila Holguin slugged her fifth triple of the season in the series finale against UC Davis on Sunday, moving her into second place in the Big West Conference and into a four-way tie for fifth on the school's single season list. Her five triples are just three short of the single-season school record of eight set and tied by Terri Oberg in 1985 and 1986 and are the most triples by a Titan since Christa Saindon had five three-baggers in 1998.

LEADING OFF: In an attempt to jumpstart the team's offense this past weekend, Head Coach Michelle Gromacki decided to mix up her lineup a little bit and it paid off at the top of the order with senior Katie Gollhardt. Batting leadoff for the first time in her career as a Titan, Gollhardt was a combined 6-for-9 in the final two games of the series, scoring four times with a pair of doubles and three RBI - including the game-winning hit in Sunday's series finale. The games marked her third and fourth three-hit games this season as she raised her average 27 points to .281 which ranks third on the team.

PATIENCE, GRASSHOPPER: The Titans have exhibited tremendous plate discipline over the past few weeks, working the count in their favor to the tune of 30 walks since the start of Big West Conference play - an average of three bases on balls per contest - including a season-high six walks against UC Riverside on April 5 in game one of the series. Jenna Wheeler leads all Titans with six walks during that span while Kiki Munoz and K.C. Craddick have received a free pass five times apiece.

DOUBLES TROUBLE: As the season heads into the home stretch, the Titans are moving ever closer to the school record of 99 doubles set in 1999. Smacking seven doubles this past week brought Fullerton to 65 two-baggers on the season which leads the Big West Conference by 15 over second-place Long Beach State. The Titans also rank No. 20 in the nation with 1.55 doubles per game entering this weekend's contests.

FOUR WIDE: Senior Kiki Munoz experienced something you don't see very often, garnering three intentional walks in five plate appearances in game two of the series against UC Davis. That single game total marked the most intentional walks by a Titan in a single season since All-American Jenny Topping was walked intentionally five times as a senior in 2003.

WATCH OUT TED WILLIAMS: Senior Kiki Munoz continues to lead the team with a .407 batting average and is part of a very exclusive club in the Big West thus far this season, as one of only three remaining players hitting better than .400.

SHEEEE'S BAAAACK: Senior right-hander Jessica Doucette made her return to the circle last weekend against UC Davis, posting a 1-1 mark in a pair of starts. Doucette, who hadn't made a start since the team's March 30 series finale against Cal Poly, struck out a combined 13 batters in 13 innings, holding the Aggies to a .250 average. Doucette struck out nine batters in the series finale against UC Davis - the most since she struck out 10 against Long Island on Feb. 24.

IRONWOMAN: Senior Katie Gollhardt continues to chug along in the Fullerton starting lineup, as Sunday's series finale against UC Davis marked her 215th consecutive start (read: every game) since first donning a Titans jersey in 2005.

S.O.S.: As in "Save Our Scorers." Cal State Fullerton has struggled to find that clutch hit in 2008, stranding 269 batters on base through 42 games - 162 of those (60 percent) in scoring position. The Titans, who are hitting just .243 with runners in scoring position this season, have left runners in scoring position in all but one game this season.

PITCHER'S BEST FRIEND: Cal State Fullerton's defense has turned 17 double plays in 2008 - a total that has the Titans atop the Big West Conference entering this week's games. The Titans' 0.40 double plays per game also ranks No. 16 in the NCAA thus far this season.

NOT YOUR RANK AND FILE SCHEDULE: Cal State Fullerton has played 14 games this season against opponents ranked in the top 25 - the most of any other Big West Conference school this season. However, the Titans have posted just a 3-10-1 record against those squad with the three wins coming against a trio of top-10 foes: No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 2 UCLA, and No. 7 Arizona.

STILL STINGY WITH THE HITS: Fullerton's pitching staff continues to be stingy in the circle, holding the opposition to a .235 average this season to rank second in the Big West Conference. Senior Jessica Doucette (.202) ranks second among the league's hurlers in the category while freshman Christine Hiner ranks fifth in the league with a .239 average against.

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