Local Tournaments Headline Softball Slate
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This Week In The Big West
Big West Softball Weekly Release No. 4
Two prestigious tournaments will take place in the Southern California area this week, both of them hosted by a Big West club. Cal State Fullerton welcomes a tough field for the Judi Garman Classic, while CSUN will co-host the Stacy Winberg Tournament along with UCLA.
BIG WEST TEAM NOTES
CAL POLY (11-4)
Starting Off With A Bang: Senior infielder Breana West was just a .232 career hitter coming into the season, but has been red hot to start her final campaign. West is batting .410 on the season, fifth-best in the league. She also has struck out just four times on the season, the fewest of the regular Mustang starters. West has collected 16 hits on the season, just eight less than she collected all of last season.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (9-6)
Judi Garman On Deck: Cal State Fullerton returns to its home field to host one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country, the Judi Garman Classic. The annual tournament features some of the top teams in the nation in Arizona State, Baylor, Cal, Fresno State, Long Beach State, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Northwestern, Oregon State, San Jose State and Wisconsin. Predictably the Titan slate will be difficult as they face off against the Sun Devils, Spartans, Badgers, Wildcats and Tar Heels.
Up A Notch: Junior outfielder Taylor Glover is already one of the top hitters in Big West, but her start this season has stepped it up a bit. Glover is leading the league in hitting (.540), tied for the lead in RBI (16) and second in hits (27). Glover is also on an 11-game hit streak, has eight multi-hit games and four games of multiple RBI.
LONG BEACH STATE (8-6)
Movin On Up: Senior infielder Darian Tautalafua is moving up the Big West career chart in home runs, collecting 41 and counting. She currently stands in third on the list, just one behind former Pacific slugger Jennifer Curtier. Tautalafua, Curtier and the leader Yasmin Mossadeghi of Cal State Fullerton are the lone hitters in Big West lore to hit 40+ career home runs.
UC DAVIS (8-8)
The Longest Doubleheader: Nineteen days and two stadiums later, the “doubleheader” between Sacramento State and UC Davis finally came to a conclusion. The first game on February 12 at UCD was halted due to darkness but was resumed Wednesday in the Hornets’ Shea Stadium, ending in a 1-0 win for the Aggies in eight innings. The regularly scheduled game between the two then took place, resulting in a 5-2 win for Sacramento State.
UC RIVERSIDE (12-6)
Get Used To It: Junior outfielder Madeline Richard has been impossible to keep off the basepaths, reaching in all 18 Highlander games this season. Richard also has the league’s only five-hit game, a 5-for-5 masterpiece against Sacramento State on February 20.
UC SANTA BARBARA (8-7)
Lighting Up The Scoreboard: UC Santa Barbara has been lighting up the scoreboard in its first 15 games, ranking tops in the Big West in batting average (.350), third in runs scored (85), second in RBI and leading in hits (149). The Gauchos are also the only club in the Big West to post a slugging percentage over .400 (.417) at this point in the season.
Sweet Muzik: Freshman outfielder Sarah Muzik has been solid in her first season on the islands, batting .294 and leading the Rainbow Wahine in hits (15) and runs scored (11). She has also just committed one error in 21 chances in the field.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
Coaching Power: Last week, Hawai’i head coach Bob Coolen earned his 300th victory in the Big West, joining Long Beach State coach Kim Sowder in the 300 club. The club will have company soon as Cal Poly coach Jenny Condon is just two wins away from 300.
Hyland Earns National Honor: Cal Poly junior pitcher Sierra Hyland earned USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Week honors after her efforts at the Libby Matson Tournament.
Hyland went 3-0 with a save at the Libby Matson Tournament, turning in a dominant performance over her 23.1 innings of work. Hyland opened the tourney striking out 11 Purdue hitters during Cal Poly’s 3-2 victory, then returned the following afternoon to strike out 10 Cal State Bakersfield batters and allow just two hits during a complete-game win. During the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Hyland earned her second save of the season by striking out six Purdue hitters to preserve a 5-3 win.
Hyland closed tournament play on Feb. 28 with a 10-strikeout performance in a 3-1 victory against host Pacific.
For the season, Hyland (7-2) leads all Big West Conference pitchers in opposing batting average (.177) and innings pitched (69.0) and ranks second for wins. She is also the first Mustang to earn USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Week accolades in the history of the program.
All-America Status: Cal State Fullerton senior Missy Taukeiaho earned her first honor of the 2016 campaign as she was named to the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year watchlist.
The infielder was one of 50 players to be named to the list and the lone player to appear from the Big West Conference. This is the second consecutive season Taukeiaho has been named to the preseason list for the prestigious award.