Titans Look to Rebound at Home vs. UCR

April 18, 2012

FULLERTON, CA -

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THIS WEEK...
UC Riverside at Cal State Fullerton
April 21-22, 2012 | Fullerton, Calif.
Anderson Family Field (1,000)

GAME COVERAGE
GAME 1: Saturday, April 21, 4 p.m. - Live Stats | Video | Audio
GAME 2: Saturday, April 21, 6 p.m. - Live Stats | Video | Audio
GAME 3: Sunday, April 22, 12 p.m. - Live Stats | Audio

BATTER UP!: Looking to rebound following its first sweep in conference play in almost two years, the Cal State Fullerton softball team (16-21 overall, 4-5 in the Big West Conference) returns home this weekend to host local rival UC Riverside in a three-game series at Anderson Family Field. The Titans and Highlanders open with a doubleheader on Saturday evening (April 21) at 4 p.m. before concluding with a single game on Sunday (April 22) at Noon.

IN THE POLLS: Neither Cal State Fullerton nor UC Riverside are listed among the top 25 polls entering this weekend's contests.

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF.Athletics), Twitter (@FullertonTitans) and Vimeo.com (vimeo.com/fullertontitans).

I NEED STATS, STAT!: Live stats will be available (barring technical difficulties) for all three of Cal State Fullerton's games this week. Please visit the Cal State Fullerton softball schedule page at www.FullertonTitans.com to access the links.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? GOOD!: Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, select Cal State Fullerton softball contests will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. To access the links, click on the headphones icon in the upper right-hand corner of FullertonTitans.com.

CAN YOU SEE ME NOW? EVEN BETTER!: For the seventh consecutive season, live streaming video for select Cal State Fullerton softball contests will be available (on a subscription basis) live over the Internet courtesy the Big West TV platform. For a monthly subscription of \$9.95 or an annual subscription of \$79.95, fans can catch all the exclusive action from the comfort of their home computers. For more information, please visit www.BigWest.org/TV or access the video player at www.fansonly.com/schools/bigw/allaccess/index.html.

ABOUT UC RIVERSIDE: The Highlanders enter the weekend with an 18-23 overall record and a 1-8 mark in Big West Conference play for eighth place... UC Riverside has lost its last seven-straight outings, swept in conference series by both Pacific and UC Santa Barbara at home over the last two weekends... the Highlanders are just 1-3 in true road games this season and 2-11 away from home when you include neutral sites... Alexis Pickett leads the UCR offense, batting .355 with eight doubles, 16 runs, and 20 RBI in 40 games... Kayla White, batting .325 on the year, provides the pop with eight doubles, four triples, and six home runs to go with 32 RBI... three other players are also hitting better than .300 on the year, helping the Highlanders to a .278 average as a team... Jordyn McDonald (8-12, 3.87 ERA) has seen the majority of time in the circle while Taylor Alvarez (6-5, 4.49) and Amy Lwin (2-4, 4.86) have also seen significant innings.

SERIES HISTORIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with UC Riverside, 28-6, having won the last two meetings to take the series in 2011 after the Titans fell in the opener, 4-3... five of the Highlanders' six wins in the series have come over the last four seasons, including their only series win in 2010 at Anderson Family Field, taking two of three from the Titans... all but four of the meetings have come during UCR's stay in the Big West Conference dating to 2002... Fullerton is 13-4 against Riverside at home, including series sweeps in 2002 and 2006.

"POWER IN PINK": Saturday's doubleheader will mark Cal State Fullerton's fourth-annual "Power in Pink" night as the Titans team up with Under Armour to support breast and ovarian cancer research and awareness. A silent auction of Fullerton's game-worn pink jerseys will be held throughout the evening and donations will be collected during the game with proceeds going to benefit the National Foundation for Cancer Research as part of its "Beat Cancer With a Bat" initiative. All fans are asked to wear pink in support of the cause.

TICKLED PINK: The Titans and Highlanders will square off for the first time in Fullerton's "Power in Pink" series... Fullerton is 4-2 all-time in "Pink Day" games, sweeping doubleheaders from Cal Poly in 2009 and 2011 while being swept by UC Davis in a doubleheader in 2010... the Titans are 6-3 overall in those three series, taking two-of-three from the Mustangs in 2009, finishing 1-2 against the Aggies in 2010, and sweeping Cal Poly in 2011.

ANISSA'S "GRAND" DAY: Senior Anissa Young clubbed her second grand slam of the season in last weekend's series finale at Pacific, becoming the first Titan to go yard twice with the bases loaded in a single season since Jessica Doucette accomplished the feat against Cal State Northridge and Ohio State in 2007.

THE YOUNG AND THE STREAKING: With that grand slam, Young extended her season-best hitting streak to six games -- the longest active streak by a Titan after Nicole Johnson's nine-game streak was snapped in the finale against the Tigers. During her current streak Young is batting .389 (7-for-18) with three runs scored, a pair of home runs, and nine runs batted in.

JOHNSON STILL BEING PESKY: While her career-best hitting streak was halted at nine games, that hasn't stopped Nicole Johnson from having an impact on Fullerton's offense as the senior has reached base safely in each of her last 12 games (26 of her last 39 plate appearances) dating back to a win over Utah State on March 11 in Lakewood, Calif. Johnson, who is hitting .517 (15-for-29) with 11 runs scored, five doubles, a pair of home runs, and nine RBI over that stretch, has hit safely in 10 of those 12 contests, walked another time, and was hit by pitch in the other game. She has also walked nine times, slugged .897, and posted an on base percentage of .650 during her streak.

CARTER JOINS THE TOP 10: With her final hit of the Pacific series, a triple to left centerfield, junior Ashley Cater joined teammate Nicole Johnson on the school's career list in that category, moving into a six-way tie for seventh with seven. It was Carter's third triple of the season, tying her career high and matching UC Riverside's Ariel Shore for third in the Big West Conference this season.

OFF AND RUNNING: This weekend's series with UC Riverside will feature the league's top four triples hitters in the Highlanders' Kayla White and Ariel Shore and the Titans' Tiffany Sheffler and Ashley Carter. White and Sheffler are tied for the league-lead with four triples apiece while Carter and Shore are tied for third.

SWEPT AWAY: Cal State Fullerton's sweep at the hands of Pacific last weekend marked the first time that the Titans have been swept in conference play since Cal Poly won all three games from April 17-18, 2010, in San Luis Obispo. The Tigers' sweep of the Titans was their first over Cal State Fullerton since May 14-15, 1999.

A.C. A CHILLING SIGHT FOR OPPOSING PITCHERS: Junior Ashley Carter has picked up right where she left off as a sophomore, entering this weekend's contests with a career-high 44 hits, 23 runs, and 16 RBI while batting a career-best .349 on the season. She ranks tied for fourth in the Big West Conference in hits and eighth in runs scored while standing tied for sixth in average. Her two hits in the finale against Pacific marked her team-high 13th multi-hit game of the season, accumulating 10 two-hit contests and a trio of three-hit performances against Colorado State (Feb. 10), Bakersfield (Feb. 17), and Utah State (March 11).

WHAT? NO YBARRA?: Cal State Fullerton's series opener with Pacific on April 14 marked the first time in almost two months that freshman left-hander Desiree Ybarra did not pitch in a game. Ybarra, who started game two against the Tigers and entered in relief in the finale, hadn't missed an appearance since Feb. 23 when the Titans opened the Cathedral City Classic against Georgia and Boise State. Between those dates, Ybarra had appeared in 21 consecutive games, throwing 97 2/3 of a possible 133 innings (73.4%) with an 8-9 overall record, seven complete games, a 4.37 ERA and 53 strikeouts. At one point, she made eight consecutive starts from March 6-31, going 4-4 with a 5.29 ERA and 30 strikeouts against only nine walks.

SPEED TRAP: After a quick start on the bases, the Titans have been relatively quiet on the base paths as of late, going four games without a stolen base -- Fullerton's longest drought of the season. Things are not all bad, however, as the Titans are perfect in their last five attempts and haven't had a runner thrown out attempting to steal in their last nine games since being caught twice against Purdue on March 14.

LET'S TURN TWO: Twin killings at the hands of the Titans' defense have been happening often in 2012 as Fullerton shares the Big West Conference lead (and stands tied for fifth in the NCAA) with 20 double plays entering this week's contests while also ranking No. 4 in the nation this week at 0.54 double plays per game.

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: Eight different Titans have tallied game-winning hits this season, led by Eliza Crawford's four this season, while eight different players have come around to score the game-winning run, paced by table-setter Ashley Carter with five.

WE LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER: A wise minor league manager once said, "It's a simple game. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball." When the Titans have been able to pull together all those components this season, they have been nearly unstoppable, batting a robust .347 with 157 hits, a 2.63 ERA, and just 15 errors while outscoring opponents by a 118-51 count in their 16 victories this season. In its 21 defeats, however, Fullerton is batting just .222 with a 7.58 ERA, and 31 errors while being outscored, 172-46.

HOME IS WHERE THE POWER IS: After slugging just two home runs over its first 16 games, Cal State Fullerton's bats have been "plugged in" since its return home to Anderson Family Field. The Titans have hit 13 home runs in their last 20 games, nine of those coming within the friendly confines, including a three-home run game against Michigan State on March 4 -- the most for the Titans in a single game since they slugged four round-trippers against UC Santa Barbara on April 2, 2010.

IRON WOMEN: Outfielders Ashley Carter and Leesa Harris are the only two Titans to start all 37 games at the same position on defense this season, while Carter is the only player to hold on to her same spot in the batting order, hitting leadoff in all 37 contests.

SHEFFLER TRIPLES HER FUN: Junior Tiffany Sheffler smacked her fourth triple of the season in the series opener against Cal Poly on March 31, a total that has her ranked No. 14 in the nation this week and moved her into a tie for ninth on the school's single-season list for that category with 13 other players. A fifth triple this season will bump Sheffler all the way up to a tie for fifth while four more triples will match the school record held by Terri Oberg, who had eight triples in both the 1985 and 1986 seasons.

JOHNSON WITH A TARGET ON HER BACK...: And her knee, and her thigh, and her arm... you get the picture. Senior Nicole Johnson is within striking distance of a rather dubious school record, entering this week's games with 41 career hit by pitches across her first three-plus Division I seasons. Johnson, who was bruised a team-high 15 times last season as a junior (tied for the fourth-highest total in the school's single-season record books), ranks third all-time in school history, needing just six more bruises to tie Amanda Hockett (2000-03) for second place and 15 more HBPs to match Crystal Vieyra's school record of 56 accumulated from 2005-08.

"FASTER THAN FAST, QUICKER THAN QUICK": She is speed. Senior Adriana Martinez remains tied for seventh with Heidi Robertson (1995) on the school's single-season list at 15-for-17 overall on the season with just 12 more steals ahead of her to match Jstone Vines' record of 27 set in 1994. The 15 stolen bases, aside from being a career high, are the most for a Titan since Julie Watson stole 18 bags in 2004 and give Martinez 34 for her career -- just three back of Chenita Rogers (1986-87) for third. The career record is held by Jstone Vines (1991-94) with 59 swipes.

SPEAKING OF SPEED: Martinez isn't the only one burning up the basepaths this season as the Titans rank second in the Big West Conference with 39 stolen bases as a team -- already surpassing last season's 47-game total (32) and their highest stolen base total since 2007 when Fullerton finished with 48 stolen bases.

SPEED THAT'S TWICE AS NICE: Harris' two steals in the opener against Cal Poly on March 31 gave her 10 in 12 attempts on the season, joining teammate Adri Martinez (15-for-17) in double figures in that category this season -- something that hasn't happened since 1994 when Jstone Vines (27-for-30), Monica Bagalayos (26-for-30), and Heidi Robertson (18-for-19) each finished in double digits.

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