Familiar Foes Await Titans at NCAA Regionals
May 15, 2008
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team (27-26-1 overall, 11-10 in the Big West Conference for fifth place) is in the postseason for the 26th time in the 29-year history of the program, earning its fourth-straight NCAA Regional berth and a date with No. 2 national seed UCLA at Easton Stadium in Westwood, Calif.
Regional play begins on Friday afternoon (May 16) as No. 2-seeded Nevada meets No. 3-seeded Purdue at 2:30 p.m. The No. 4-seeded Titans and top-seeded Bruins will then battle 30 minutes after the completion of the first game. Play continues with three games on Saturday and one or two games (if necessary) on Sunday afternoon.
NCAA REGIONAL TOURNAMENT AT UCLA
Friday, May 16
Game 1 - Nevada (2 seed) vs. Purdue (3 seed), 2:30 p.m.
Game 2 - UCLA (1 seed) vs. Cal State Fullerton (4 seed), 30 minutes after Game 1
Saturday, May 17
Game 3 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 3:00 p.m.
Game 4 - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 30 minutes after Game 3
Game 5 - Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3, 30 minutes after Game 4
Sunday, May 18
Game 6 - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5, 2:30 p.m.
Game 7 - Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 (if necessary), 30 minutes after Game 6
"HI, MOM!": Every game of the 2008 NCAA Regional from Westwood, Calif., will be televised nationally by ESPNU. The appearance is believed to be only the third time on national television for Cal State Fullerton softball after its two Super Regional games in Tucson, Ariz., last season were picked up by the "Worldwide Leader." Check your local listings for channel information.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: For those fans unable to make the trip and who do not receive ESPNU, audio for all of Cal State Fullerton's games will be carried live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. Just as he has all season, Mike Martinez will have the play-by-play live from Easton Stadium.
I NEED STATS, STAT: Gametracker live stats will be available for all three games of the NCAA Regionals from Westwood, Calif. Links will be available on Cal State Fullerton's website at FullertonTitans.com or on the tournament page set up by UCLA at UCLABruins.com.
IN THE POLLS: UCLA is ranked as high as No. 3 in the final ESPN.com/USA Softball poll of the regular season... the Bruins are also No. 5 according to the USA Today/NFCA poll this week... Nevada is No. 20 in the NFCA poll and No. 22 in the USA Softball poll... Purdue and Cal State Fullerton are unranked heading into the postseason.
TITANS IN THE POSTSEASON: Cal State Fullerton is making its fourth consecutive NCAA regional appearance and the 24th NCAA Regional appearance (1982-96, 1999-03, 2005-08) in the history of the program. The Titans are 68-52 all-time in postseason play since the program's inception in 1980, including a 56-46 mark in NCAA play. Fullerton is 40-34 in regional action, 0-2 in the super regional round, and 16-10 at the Women's College World Series - including the 1986 NCAA Championship. The Titans are 15-15 in the postseason under ninth-year head coach Michelle Gromacki.
SERIES RECORDS: The Titans are 32-35-1 all-time against UCLA, snapping a four-game losing streak to the Bruins with a 1-0 victory in eight innings on March 12 in Westwood... Fullerton is 7-11 against UCLA in the postseason... The Titans are 11-16-1 against the Bruins on UCLA's home field... Cal State Fullerton is 2-1 all-time against Nevada, winning the first two meetings until the Wolf Pack posted a 5-4 win over the Titans earlier this season on Feb. 9 in Fullerton... Fullerton is 6-0 all-time against Purdue, including a 5-0 shutout victory over the Boilermakers on Feb. 29 in the opener of the 2008 Worth Invitational in Fullerton... Postseason meetings with Nevada or Purdue will be the first for Cal State Fullerton.
SIX TITANS EARN ALL-BIG WEST NODS: Cal State Fullerton seniors Kiki Munoz and Jessica Doucette were each named to the All-Big West Conference First Team and they were joined by four of their teammates on the conference honor roll as the league's postseason honors were announced on Tuesday evening. This season marked the fourth consecutive year that Fullerton has had at least five players named to the all-conference honor roll and the 17th time in 21 Big West Conference seasons. Freshman Christine Hiner was named to the all-conference second team after a solid rookie season while senior Katie Gollhardt, junior Lauren Lupinetti and freshman K.C. Craddick earned honorable mention honors.
PREVIOUSLY, IN THE POSTSEASON...: Cal State Fullerton went 4-1 in regional play last season in Columbus, Ohio, falling to host Ohio State in the opener (2-1) before rallying for wins over Canisius (8-0), Virginia Tech (1-0), and the Buckeyes twice (6-5 and 10-3). The Titans then became the first Big West team to advance to the super regional round where they fell to eventual national champion Arizona by the scores of 11-6 and 2-1.
VERSUS RANKED TEAMS: Cal State Fullerton has played 17 games against Top 25 competition this season - the most of any school in the Big West Conference... The Titans, however, are just 5-11-1 this season against those ranked foes... three of the Titans' wins have come against top 10 teams: \#5 Oklahoma, \#2 UCLA, and \#7 Arizona while five of the losses have been by fewer than two runs.
POSTSEASON HOME AWAY FROM HOME: The 2008 postseason will mark the fourth time that Cal State Fullerton will be travelling to Westwood, Calif., for the NCAA Tournament - the most often visited off-campus postseason site in the history of the program after appearances in 1988, 1993, and 2005. The Titans, who have hosted regionals 12 times since 1982, have also travelled to Fresno State (three times) and Cal State Northridge (twice) multiple times while making single trips to Seattle (1999), Tuscon (2001), and Columbus (2007). However, Cal State Fullerton is just 2-6 on UCLA's home field in those appearances with seven of the eight meetings coming against the host Bruins.
AGAINST THE FIELD: The Titans have faced 16 teams in the 64-team field this season, posting an 8-11-1 overall mark against those squads in 2008. Fullerton is 5-7 against the tournament's top eight seeds, posting single wins over UCLA, Arizona, and Oklahoma along with a pair of victories over Long Beach State.
A LOOK AT THE BRUINS: Host and No. 2 national seed UCLA enters the postseason with a 45-7 overall record and finished second in the Pacific-10 Conference with a 17-4 mark... The Bruins were 8-2 in their final 10 contests, but split their final four games of the year with losses to league champion Arizona State and Oregon State while posting wins over Oregon and the Beavers...GiOnna DiSalvatore leads the powerful UCLA offense, batting .390 with 15 doubles, three home runs and 42 RBI, helping to lead the Bruins to a .312 average as a team... Six UCLA regulars are batting better than .300 on the season... Anjelica Selden paces the pitching staff with a 24-3 overall record and a team-best 0.79 ERA... Selden has struck out 271 batters in just over 186 innings, holding opponents to a .146 average.
A LOOK AT THE WOLF PACK: Second-seeded Nevada enters the postseason with a 42-16 overall record and a 17-3 mark in Western Athletic Conference play to claim the league's regular season championship... The Wolf Pack finished second in the WAC Tournament, edged out by Louisiana Tech, 2-1, in the championship game... Nevada has won 14 of its final 16 games heading into postseason play...Noelle Micka leads the Wolf Pack regulars on offense, batting .396 and pacing seven regulars hitting better than .300 on the season... Nevada is hitting .317 as a team and has slugged 42 home runs on the year - the most of any team at the Los Angeles Regional as eight players have gone deep for the Wolf Pack... Katie Holverson (20-6, 2.27 ERA) and Jordan McPherson (15-10, 2.54 ERA) have seen significant action in the circle, joining with Richelle Villescas (7-0, 2.01 ERA) to hold opponents to a .255 average this season.
A LOOK AT THE BOILERMAKERS: Purdue enters its first-ever postseason with a 34-21 overall record and a 9-9 mark in Big Ten play to finish fifth... The Boilermakers went 0-1 at the Big Ten Tournament, falling 5-4 to Minnesota... Purdue is 4-6 in its last 10 and has lost 10 of its last 15 heading into this weekend's regional... Kelly Miller leads the Boilermakers' offense, batting .346 with 27 runs and 13 RBI... Candace Curtis provides the power with a .333 average, 10 doubles, and 11 home runs to go with a team-high 39 RBI... Suzie Rzegocki (15-8, 2.49 ERA) and Dana Alcocer (18-13, 3.31 ERA) have seen the majority of time in the circle.