Titans Take a Break From Big West Play During Five-Game Homestand

Titans Take a Break From Big West Play During Five-Game Homestand

April 26, 2006


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The Cal State Fullerton softball team (28-19 overall, 9-3 in the Big West Conference) opens a five-game homestand this week as the Titans take a break from league action against a pair of non-conference foes at Anderson Field. Fullerton opens play with a doubleheader against UNLV on Thursday (April 27) at 4 p.m., before hosting a three-game series against future Big West rival UC Davis with a doubleheader on Saturday (April 29) at 12 p.m. and a single game on Sunday (April 30), also at noon.

Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with UNLV, 36-21-1, having won the last four straight meetings with the Rebels... The Titans are 18-10 at home against UNLV... The two teams met twice last season, both Fullerton wins: a 5-1 win at the Palm Springs Classic on Feb. 27 and a 5-4 win at UCLA's Easton Stadium in the first game of 2005 NCAA Regional play... The Titans have won the only three meetings with UC Davis, sweeping the season series against their future conference rivals by the scores of 5-4, 2-0 (8), and 5-2 last season in Davis, Calif.

UNLV: The Rebels are 20-31 overall and 5-9 in the Mountain West Conference. UNLV is coming off a split of a doubleheader with Colorado State and has split its last six games. Shannon Crisp leads the offense at .317 with six home runs and 28 RBI while Kendall Fearn is right behind her at .305 with eight home runs and 25 RBI. Crisp (9-13, 3.97) and Christie Robinson (6-11, 3.49) have split the majority of time in the circle.

UC DAVIS: The Aggies enter the week with a 13-30 overall record and a 4-8 mark against future Big West Conference foes. UC Davis has lost its last seven games, including a three-game sweep at the hands of Cal Poly last weekend. The Aggies, who are hitting .251 as a team, is led by Megan De La Hoya, who is hitting .303 with 22 runs scored and eight RBI. Belinda Paine (.302) and Ashley Johnson (.301) are also hitting better than .300 on the year. Lindsay Tognetti (6-12, 2.35 ERA) is the Aggies ace in the circle.

The Titans rank among those teams receiving votes for the second consecutive week, earning five votes in Tuesday's ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches Poll and 11 votes according to the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll... Fullerton appears in the USA Softball poll for the first time since March 28 (a span of three weeks) and has appeared in that poll for all but four weeks this season... The Titans are receiving votes for the second straight week by the NFCA after a seven-week absence.

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.

Need we say more? Senior righty Marissa Marzan tossed the first perfect game of her career in the Titans' 10-0 six-inning victory in Sunday's series finale - the ninth such "perfect" performance in the history of the program. It was the first perfect game for a Fullerton pitcher since Jodie Cox accomplished the feat against Minnesota on March 3, 2001. Marzan also has a five-inning no-hitter this season, shutting out Loyola-Chicago, 12-0, back on March 7, missing a perfect game by only a fourth-inning hit batter and a walk.

Cal State Fullerton hit .310 on the weekend against Pacific, including slugging nine home runs to up its league-leading total to 46 - 20 home runs better than second-place Cal Poly. This season's home run total ranks fifth on the school's single-season list and is five round trippers short of the home run totals of the last two seasons combined. The Titans are averaging just under one home run per game (0.98) this season - a total that ranks No. 17 in the nation entering this week's play.

Junior outfielder Ashley Van Boxmeer has been tearing the cover off the ball as of late, slugging five home runs in her last seven games while extending her hitting streak to seven games (10-for-19, .526). Her 11 home runs this season have her tied with Cal State Northridge's Amanda Peek for the Big West Conference lead and rank tied for eighth on the school's single-season list. Her 21 career home runs as a Titan also place her in a tie for eighth with Jodie Cox (2000-03), just three back of Gina Oaks (2000-03) and Stephenie Little (1998-99) for sixth place.

Sophomore Katie Gollhardt leads the team with a .489 batting average with runners in scoring position, scoring better than half of the baserunners from third base with less than two outs, and tallying 16 two-out RBI.

For the second consecutive week, the Titans tied a school home run record as Fullerton hit four home runs in Sunday's 10-0, six-inning victory over Pacific. Katie Gollhardt, Ashley Van Boxmeer, Crystal Vieyra, and Candice Baker all slugged two-run home runs in the victory, matching Fullerton's long-ball display in a 16-0 win over Long Beach State on April 15.

They're not superheroes, but junior Candice Baker and senior Marissa Marzan have become one of the most dynamic duos in the circle this season, slinging their own brand of kyptonite at opponents bats for most of the year. The pair rank 1-2 in the Big West Conference, respectively, in batting average against (.204 for Baker, .207 for Marzan) and stand among the top 10 in seven other categories.

Junior right-hander Candice Baker struck out 10 Long Beach State players in last week's 5-1 loss to the 49ers, marking the sixth time this season that she has reached double digits in that category. Baker, who has struck out 10 three times this season, struck out a career-high 18 batters against Washington on March 18, 16 against Oklahoma State on Feb. 25, and 12 more against UC Santa Barbara on April 1.

Cal State Fullerton has homered in each of its last eight games posting a 7-1 record in those contests.

Sophomore Katie Gollhardt has reached base safely in each of her last eight contests, and 34 of 47 overall, hitting .364 in that span with a double, two home runs and six RBI.

The Titans rank No. 22 in the nation in fielding percentage at .972 - a total which also puts them third among their Big West Conference counterparts behind league-leading Pacific (.980) and UC Santa Barbara (.977). Should Fullerton's slick fielding continue, the Titans will break the previous school record for fielding percentage set back in 1985 with a .971 mark.

Sophomore Crystal Vieyra and junior Candice Baker are among the nation's most hit batters, both ranking in the top 30 as of this week's NCAA statistics. Vieyra ranks No. 4 in the nation with 15 HBPs and 0.33 per game while Baker is No. 28 in the country with 0.21 per game thus far this season. The Titans have four of the most oft-hit players in the conference in Vieyra (1st), Baker (3rd), Courtney Martinez (t4th - 7), and Katie Gollhardt (t6th - 5).

Katie Gollhardt, Ashley Van Boxmeer, and Candice Baker have been fixtures in the Fullerton lineup all year as the only three Titans to have appeared in all 47 games this season. In fact, all three have quite a streak going as they have started every game dating back to the beginning of last season (98 games).

Bucking a trend that has plagued them all season long, the Titans swept a doubleheader for the second straight weekend and for only the fourth time in 16 "doubleheader" chances this season. Fullerton has fared slightly better in game two's of those doubleheaders, posting an 11-6 record in those games compared to an 10-7 mark in game one's.

Go ahead make her day. Senior catcher Ashlee Weatherford continues to be on target in 2006 behind the plate, throwing out 14-of-32 (44 percent) would be base stealers this season - compared to just one thrown out during her 2005 junior season. She ranks third in the league with those 14 caught stealing, ranks eighth in the league in fielding percentage (.988), and leads the league with three runners picked off.

Five of Cal State Fullerton's last six victories have all come via the run-rule, outscoring the opposition 55-5 in those contests (11 runs per game) and outhitting opponents by a 52-15 margin (10.4 hits per game). The Titans are 6-1 in run-rule games this season, with the only loss coming to nationally ranked Northwestern, 10-0, on March 23.

Junior 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 (.204), strikeouts (194), batters struck out looking (49), and appearances (29). Baker also ranks second in the league in wins (16), innings (162.1) and shutouts (4), third in complete games (18) and games started (22), and fourth in ERA (2.37).

Cal State Fullerton senior right-hander Marissa Marzan has been on a roll as of late in the circle, posting a 6-0 record in her last seven appearances, allowing just five earned runs in her last 36 innings (0.97 ERA) and striking out 26. Of her 23 hits allowed in that span, only four have gone for extra bases while Marzan has held opponents to a .187 average.

Cal State Fullerton junior Ashley Van Boxmeer continues to lead the Big West Conference with her 40 runs scored, touching home plate in eight straight and 11 of the Titans' last 12 games. Van Boxmeer's 40 runs put her just one run shy of breaking into the school's single season top 10 list and is 23 shy of breaking onto the career top 10 list. With her three runs this weekend, the Titans are 22-5 this season when she scores a run.

The Titans' pitching staff continues to stay atop the Big West pile with a 2.43 ERA and leads the league in wins, complete games (29), shutouts (10), innings (323.0), strikeouts (301), and batting average against (.226).

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 60 doubles, 13 triples, and 46 home runs. Just under 40 percent of the Titans' 301 hits this year have been for extra bases as they have surpassed last season's output in all three categories.

Cal State Fullerton's defense has been quite adept in turning two this season, leading in the Big West Conference with 21 twin killings and standing amongst the top 30 teams in the nation with 0.45 per game this season (tied for No. 12 in the country with BYU). 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.

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 263-130 (.669) overall record in her six-plus seasons as head coach, which includes five trips to the NCAA Tournament and four Big West Conference titles.

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.

Baker, who has struck out a league-best 194 this season, has 388 K's for her career, placing her ninth on the career list and two short of Christy Robitaille (1999-02) for eighth place. Three more strikeouts will not only move her into eighth on the career list all by her lonesome, but will tie her with Connie Clark's 1986 total of 197 for 10th on the single-season list.

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.


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