April 18, 2006
FULLERTON, CA -
A busy week for the Cal State Fullerton softball team kicks off on Wednesday (April 19) as the Titans host Long Beach State in game three of a rain-delayed series at 5 p.m. at Anderson Field. Fullerton then hits the road for a three-game series against new conference leader Pacific (which has played two fewer games than the Titans entering this week's play) beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday (April 22) at noon and concluding with a single game on Sunday (April 23), also at noon.
TITANS AMONG VOTE GETTERS
For the first time since late February, Cal State Fullerton is ranked among those receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll... the Titans are receiving six votes to essentially rank No. 31 in the country this week... Fullerton is not ranked or receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches Poll... Long Beach State and Pacific are also unranked.
Cal State Fullerton has taken the first two games of the 2006 series with Long Beach State and leads the all-time series 64-40, snapping a five-game losing streak... Fullerton improved to 29-23 at home against the 49ers with the two wins... The Titans lead the series with Pacific, 53-26, including a 20-14 record in Stockton... Fullerton has won the last four straight against the Tigers, including a season sweep last season in Fullerton.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
LONG BEACH STATE: The 49ers fell to 20-17 overall and 5-3 in the Big West with their two losses to the Titans last Saturday (April 15)... Brianna Goad continues to lead the offense with a .305 average and 21 runs scored... Michelle Turner, who suffered the loss in game one, is 17-8 with a 1.60 ERA and 124 strikeouts to only 11 walks... Long Beach State is hitting .243 as a team (5th in the Big West) and has a team ERA of 3.39 (t5th in the Big West).
PACIFIC: The Tigers leapfrogged over the Titans into first place by percentage points thanks to a three-game sweep of UC Riverside last weekend and extended their winning streak to five straight games... Gina Carbonatto is hitting .427 to lead the team and rank second in the conference... 2005 league Player of the Year and All-American Jennifer Curtier is hitting .369 with six home runs and 24 RBI... Freshman Briana Santos leads the pitching staff with a 9-3 record and a 2.34 ERA... Five different arms have seen action in the circle for the Tigers this season.
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.
CAL STATE FULLERTON NATIONALLY
Cal State Fullerton ranks 11th as a team in double plays per game (0.47), 20th in the country in fielding percentage (.972), and 21st nationally in triples per game (0.30). Individually, Crystal Vieyra ranks fourth overall in the nation with 15 hit by pitches and is third in the country at 0.37 HBPs per game. Not to be outdone, Candice Baker is one of 18 players in the nation with 10 or more HBPs and ranks tied for 23rd at 0.23 per game.
TITANS GO DEEP INTO THE RECORD BOOKS
April must be the month to go deep. While Saturday's game two may have been one to forget for Long Beach State, it will be one to remember for Cal State Fullerton. The Titans tied a school record with four home runs in Saturday's game two - an accomplishment that has been done only twice before, and both of those times also coming in April. Fullerton last hit four home runs in a game almost seven years ago to the day against UC Santa Barbara on April 18, 1999, in a 10-6 victory. Fullerton also hit four home runs in a game on April 21, 1996, in a 10-0 victory over San Jose State.
HOME PLATE SPECIAL
Fullerton set single game season-high's for runs scored (16) and hits (18) in Saturday's game two against Long Beach State, coming close to matching the school records of 20 runs scored against San Diego State in 1987 and 24 hits against San Diego in 1995. The 16 runs scored were the most since the Titans put up 16 runs in a five inning victory over Georgia State on March 19, 1997, and the second-highest run total by either team in the series (17 by the Titans in 1982) dating back to 1980.
"A.K.'s" STREAK NOW AT SIX
Sophomore Amanda Kamekona extended her hitting streak to six consecutive games, smacking the ball at a .526 (10-for-19) clip with four extra base hits, six runs scored, and eight RBI. Most of that damage has come against conference opponents as "A.K." is hitting .636 (7-for-11) against Big West pitching with five runs, a home run, and seven RBI. She is slugging 1.182 in Big West play and leads the team at .671 overall.
TITAN PITCHING TOPS
Thanks to holding the 49ers' offense to just one run last week, the Titans' pitching staff jumped to the top of the Big West pile with a 2.47 ERA, edging this weekend's opponent Pacific (2.54) by mere points. Fullerton also leads the league in wins, complete games (26), shutouts (8), innings (298.0), and strikeouts (279), while standing second in opponent batting average (.230).
BAKER MAKES CASE FOR BIG WEST PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Junior righty Candice Baker has blossomed into one of the Big West Conference's best pitchers this season, entering the week leading or co-leading the league in five different categories: opponent's batting average (.203), innings (153.0), strikeouts (180), batters struck out looking (45), and appearances (27). Baker also ranks second in the league in wins (16) and shutouts (4), third in complete games (17) and games started (20), and fourth in ERA (2.20).
BAKER INTO THE RECORD BOOKS
A strong junior season in the circle has propelled Candice Baker into the Cal State Fullerton record books. Baker, who has struck out a league-best 180 this season, has 374 K's for her career, placing her ninth on the career list - just 16 short of Christy Robitaille (1999-02) for eighth place. Should she get to 16 K's, Baker's 17th strikeout will not only put her into eighth on the career record list all by her lonesome, but will tie her with Connie Clark's 1986 total of 197 for 10th on the single-season list.
FERNANDEZ JOINS HIT PARADE
Cal State Fullerton freshman infielder Yvette Fernandez got into the swing of things in Saturday's game two rout of the 49ers, entering as a pinch hitter in the fourth inning and chopping a ball over the head of Long Beach State's third baseman for her first career hit in three plate appearances this season. She would eventually come around to score the final run in the 11-run fourth for the Titans en route to the 16-0 victory.
BOX BOOKIN' IT
Cal State Fullerton junior Ashley Van Boxmeer continues to lead the Big West Conference with her 36 runs scored, touching home plate in eight of the Titans' last nine games - including a career high-tying three runs in a 9-1 win in the series finale against Cal State Northridge, a mark she has reached three times this season. Van Boxmeer's 36 runs are just five short of tying Denise DeWalt (1993) and Sue Lewis (1984) for 10th on the school's single season list and the Titans are 19-5 this season when she scores a run.
After going 1-for-26 in her previous 15 games, sophomore Crystal Vieyra has been clutch at the plate as of late, tying her season-best hitting streak at four games and hitting .571 (8-for-14) with six runs and nine RBI in that stretch, raising her average 61 points. In last Saturday's game two against the 49ers, Vieyra set career high's in hits (4-for-4), runs (3), and RBI (5).
LET'S GO HOME EARLY
Cal State Fullerton's last three victories have all come via the mercy-rule, outscoring the opposition 34-2 in those contests (11.3 runs per game) and outhitting opponents by a 34-8 margin (11.3 hits per game). The Titans are 4-1 in mercy-rule games this season, defeating Loyola-Chicago, 12-0, in five innings on March 7 and falling to Northwestern, 10-0, in six innings on March 23.
HOW SWEEP IT IS
Bucking a trend that has plagued them all season long, the Titans swept a doubleheader for only the third time in 15 "doubleheader" chances this season. Fullerton has fared slightly better in game two's of those doubleheaders, posting a 10-6 record in those games compared to an 9-7 mark in game one's.
"WHEEL"ER OF (GOOD) FORTUNE
Cal State Fullerton sophomore Jenna Wheeler was one of three players to have a perfect day at the plate in game two against Long Beach State as she went 3-for-3 with three runs scored, a home run, and a pair of RBI. The performance catapulted her batting average to .316 on the season, placing her 10th in the league in hitting. Wheeler, who missed all of last season and parts of thise season due to injury, also ranks among the league's top 10 in slugging (.537 - 8th), on base percentage (.445 - 7th), walks (20 - t4th), and home runs (5 - t7th).
VAN BOXMEER JUST ONE SHY
Junior Ashley Van Boxmeer slugged her team-leading eighth home run of the season in Saturday's 16-0 victory against Long Beach State, giving her 18 for her Titans' career - just one short of moving into the school's top 10 list in that category.
GOING THE EXTRA BASE
The Titans are hording the extra base hits. Cal State Fullerton leads the Big West Conference in every extra base hit category this season with 53 doubles, 13 triples, and 36 home runs. Just under 40 percent of the Titans' 274 hits this year have been for extra bases as Fullerton has matched or surpassed all of last season's output in the triple and home run categories, while standing just one two-bagger back of the 54 doubles hit in 2005.
BACK IN THE SLUG OF THINGS
The Titans' offense went deep five more times on the weekend against the Matadors, bringing Fullerton's total to a league-leading 36 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.
Nowhere to hide for opposing pitchers this season as its seems like the entire Titans lineup is capable of going deep. Fullerton has had a school record 11 different players go deep this season, surpassing the previous high of 10 different home run hitters in the 2002 and 1981 seasons. Sophomore Kiki Munoz became the record-breaker with her two-home run game - her first two of the season - in game two against UC Santa Barbara on April 1.
Cal State Fullerton's defense has been quite adept in turning two this season, leading in the Big West Conference with 20 twin killings and standing amogst the top 30 teams in the nation with 0.47 per game this season. Fullerton is one of four teams in the league with 10-or-more double plays in 2006, twice turning three double plays in a game this season (vs. Utah State on Feb. 18 and at San Diego State on March 10) and have turned two twice in a game on three other occassions.
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 four starts, allowing just five earned runs in her last 21.1 innings (1.64 ERA) and striking out 19. Of her 17 hits allowed, only three have gone for extra bases while Marzan has held opponents to a .227 average. She has also been the recipient of tremendous run support as the Titans have averaged six runs per game during her time in the circle, posting wins of five runs or more in three of those four starts.
HEAD COACH Michelle Gromacki
Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Michelle Gromacki enters her seventh season at the helm of the Titans' softball program, continuing the tradition of success that has built Fullerton into one of the most prestigious programs in the country. Gromacki has devoted the past 11-plus seasons to the Titans' program after spending five years as an assistant to Hall of Fame Head Coach Judi Garman. Gromacki has compiled a 260-130 (.667) overall record in her six-plus seasons, which includes five trips to the NCAA Tournament and four Big West Conference titles.
TITANS PICKED TO WIN BIG WEST TITLE
The Big West Conference head softball coaches picked Cal State Fullerton to win the Big West title, as the Titans received six first place votes and 48 points in the preseason coaches poll released on Jan. 11. Long Beach State finished in second place in the poll with 39 points and garnered one first place vote. The 49ers were followed by Cal Poly (32 points) in third, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific in a fourth-place tie (26 points), Cal State Northridge (16) in sixth, and UC Riverside (9) in seventh.