FULLERTON, Calif.-- The Cal State Fullerton softball team begins play this week hosting the Titan Classic with a full slate of five games beginning with two games on Friday against Canisius and UNLV, and two games on Saturday against Texas Tech and DePaul. Following the tournament, the Titans will compete with Canisius once more on Monday. All Fullerton games will be played at Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, Calif.
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I NEED STATS, STAT!: Live stats will be provided for all games this week. To access live stats for the games, go to www.FullertonTitans.com and go to the softball schedule page then click live stats.
IN THE POLLS: In the ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches and USA Today/NFCA Coaches polls, neither the Titans, Golden Griffins, Rebels, Red Raiders, or Blue Demons are currently ranked.
JUDI GARMAN REWIND: The Titans wrapped up hosting the Judi Garman Classic, Mar. 6-9 including competition against then No. 7 Arizona and No. 16 Nebraska. Fullerton concluded the tournament on a 2-3 record, with wins over San Jose State, 5-2, and Fresno State, 9-2.
STRIVING FOR WIN NO. 500: Head coach Kelly Ford will be making an attempt at reaching a total of 500 wins in her career this week. Ford led junior college Mt. SAC to 455 wins between 2002-10. With currently 43 victories under her belt at Division 1 Cal State Fullerton, the Oklahoma alum has totalled 498 wins, just two games shy of the 500 mark.
ABOUT CANISIUS: The Golden Griffins are off to a 3-8 start to the season and are lead in the pitching circle by senior Jen Consaul. The right-hander posts a 2-4 record, five complete games, 41 and 1/3 total innings pitched while yielding a (2.20) ERA. The Titans hold an all-time record of 3-0 against Canisius, most recently a 6-4 decision in 2011 in Fullerton, Calif.
ABOUT UNLV: The Rebels are led by La Mirada, Calif., native senior Pauline Monreal producing a .367 batting avg., chipping in 22 hits, six round-trippers and 23 RBI. UNLV most recently competed in the UCLA Invitational in Los Angeles, Calif., posting a 2-3 record while picking up wins versus Charleston Southern, 6-1, and Georgetown, 6-1. CSF owns an overall record of 38-22-1 against the Rebels all-time, including a 20-10 home record while winning seven out of the last 10 match-ups.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH: The Red Raiders enter the tournament sporting an 18-6 record and are led by senior pitcher Brittany Talley. The left-hander has marked 52 innings in the circle yielding 8 earned runs, fanning 43 batters and posting a (1.08) ERA. Texas Tech will compete against DePaul, Canisius, UNLV and Cal State Fullerton at the Titan Classic. Fullerton owns an all-time record of 7-1 against the TTU, including a mark of 2-0 at home.
ABOUT DEPAUL: The Blue Demons have posted a record of 14-4 on the season, most recently competing in the UNLV Eller Media Stadium Classic in Las Vegas. DePaul posted a 3-0 record with its three victories coming over Weber State, 14-3, Binghamton, 8-4, and New Mexico State, 8-1. The Blue Demons are led by junior first baseman Mary Connolly who has manufactured 95 total bases, 55 hits, 41 RBI, and 10 home runs to go along with a .331 batting avg.
SIZZLIN' ARAGON: Senior shortstop Gabby Aragon concluded the Judi Garman Classic batting 5-for-12, driving in six RBI and scoring two runs overall. In a 9-2 victory over Fresno State on Mar. 7, Aragon produced a 3-for-4 outing including an RBI-single, two-run double, and two-run homer to finish with a career-high five RBI. The Garden Grove, Calif., native raised her batting avg. 10 points to (.313), good for third-best on the team.
MAGIC NUMBER IS SIX: The Titans have a clear advantage when the offense is able to produce at least six runs in a contest, reflecting a 9-0 record when doing so. When scoring six runs or less, the team posts a roller coaster 6-10 mark. A big contributor in getting the runs across has been transfer Missy Taukeiaho. The sophomore lead off hitter is currently leading the Big West in runs scored with 21 on the season.
HOME COOKIN': Fullerton has marked an 11-5 record while playing in the home confines of Anderson Family Field. Home victories include a stunner over then No. 2 Oklahoma in the Easton Tournament on Feb. 7. On the road or in a neutral contest, CSF is a combined 4-5. The Titans look to capitalize on their home field advantage as CSF is in the midst of an 18-game home stand.
OPENING UP THE FLOOD GATES: The Titans have used the middle innings of the third and fourth to jump ahead of their opponents. Fullerton owns a 28-12 scoring advantage in the third inning while an even more daunting 19-4 in the fourth inning. Overall, the Titans have combined to out score opponents 115-102, resulting in a 15-10 overall record.
WORK HORSE IN THE CIRCLE: In the first 25 games of the Cal State Fullerton season, sophomore Jasmine Antunez has made a Big West leading 19 appearances. Over that span, Antunez leads the team tossing 65 and 2/3 innings, to go along with a (3.62) ERA, fanning a team-high 56 batters on the season while chipping in the only two complete games among the pitching staff. Her seven wins and 15 games started also lead the team.
GET THROUGH THE FOURTH: The Titans are sporting a commanding 12-1 record when the team is leading after the fourth inning while marking a dismal 0-7 mark when CSF is trailing. The Titans pitching staff have allowed only four runs combined in the fourth inning to help preserve victories down the stretch.
THE BEST BALL IS THE LONG BALL: In 2014, Cal State Fullerton ranks third in the Big West in home runs with 23 for the season. Leading the way for the Titans is Taukeiaho and Crawford who lead the team with six round-trippers each, respectively. Fullerton trails Hawai'i (26) and Long Beach State (28) for overall home run totals.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Fullerton finished third in the Big West race a season ago with a 13-11 mark in conference play to go along with a 28-28 overall record. The Titans return six position starters and three pitchers while welcoming 18 newcomers to the fold for the 2014 season. Leading the way for returners is senior catcher Tsuchiyama, an all-conference first-team selection who hit .323 to go along with 50 hits and 25 runs batted in. In the circle, sophomore Antunez returns after earning the Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors a season ago, finishing 18-14 with a 2.58 ERA, 174 strikeouts and even a no-hitter on her resume vs. UNLV.
NEWCOMERS: Although the 2014 Titans return dynamic seniors Jena Rubio, Leesa Harris, Aragon, Lauren Mario and Tsuchiyama, there are plenty of young talent on this seasons roster. Coach Kelly Ford's team consists of eight freshmen, six of which are position players and the remaining two on the pitching staff. Freshman Christina Washington is looking to have a promising season pitching in the circle, alongside now sophomore Jasmine Antunez who had similar expectations one year ago. Three Titans have transferred to the 2014 team, one being to watch is University of Washington transfer Taukeiaho. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native is looking to make an immediate impact to the offensive potency of the 2014 Titans.
BIG WEST OUTLOOK: The Titans were picked to finish third in the Big West Conference in 2014 as selected by the eight head coaches in the annual preseason poll. Defending conference champion Hawai'i, collected four first place votes and 59 points overall and are favored to repeat after making a big splash in 2013 by capturing the crown in their return to the Big West after a 16 season hiatus. Runner-up in the polls was Long Beach State who garnered three first place votes and 55 overall. UC Santa Barbara was fourth in the polls with 40 points, while UC Davis rounded out the top five at 30 points:
1. Hawai'i (4), 59
2. Long Beach State (3), 55
3. Cal State Fullerton (1), 46
4. UC Santa Barbara, 40
5. UC Davis, 30
6. Cal Poly, 25
7. Cal State Northridge, 24
8. UC Riverside, 9
TITANS VERSUS RANKED TEAMS
DATE OPPONENT LOCATION RESULT
FEB. 7 No. 2 Oklahoma Fullerton, Calif. W, 3-1
FEB. 15 No. 23 California San Diego, Calif. L, 5-4
FEB. 21 No. 15 Baylor Palm Springs, Calif. W, 6-1
FEB. 21 No. 23 LSU Palm Springs, Calif. L, 8-1
FEB. 22 No. 24 Notre Dame Palm Springs, Calif. L, 8-0
FEB. 25 No. 2 Tennessee Fullerton, Calif. L, 8-4
MAR. 8 No. 14 Nebraska Fullerton, Calif. L, 9-2
MAR. 8 No. 7 Arizona Fullerton, Calif. L, 15-0
*Ranking when game occurred