Titans, Gauchos Hit The Road Looking To Continue Hot Starts
Big West Softball Weekly Release No. 9
The early leaders in the Big West standings hit the road looking to continue their hot starts as Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara remain undefeated. The Titans head to Cal Poly, while the Gauchos head to UC Riverside...two clubs that went 0-3 in the first weekend of league play.
BIG WEST TEAM NOTES
CAL POLY (16-14, 0-3 Big West)
Heavy Hitter: Cal Poly sophomore designated player Stephanie Heyward is the top hitter for the Mustangs, ranking sixth in the Big West in batting average (.385) and on-base percentage (.467), while ranking ninth in slugging percentage (.527). She also leads the club in multi-hit games (9), hits (35), runs (17) and doubles (6). A career .343 hitter, Heyward has been at the top of the order in all 30 contests this season.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (28-10, 3-0 Big West)
Offensive Explosion: Cal State Fullerton brought the offense in a big way in its conference opening series against UC Riverside. The Titans scored 23 runs and collected 24 hits, four doubles, two triples, three home runs and 18 RBI. The team also walked 12 times and struck out just nine times in three games. CSF was the only club to score more than eight runs, was one of two to pick up 20+ hits and the lone to collect double-digit RBI over the first Big West weekend.
CSUN (21-16, 1-2 Big West)
The Tireless Pofek: Junior pitcher Daphne Pofek toughed out a win in the first game against Long Beach State, going a little extra in the effort. Pofek allowed a run in the first, then shut down the 49ers for the rest of the day. In all Pofek allowed four hits, walked four and struck out four in eight innings of work.
LONG BEACH STATE (22-12, 2-1 Big West)
What A Debut: Freshman pitcher Skie Munoz made her first career start in the second game of the series against CSUN, putting up an impressive performance. She went six innings, allowing six hits and one run in the 3-2 victory. Munoz is part of a staff that ranks second in the Big West and 47th in the nation in ERA at 2.73.
UC DAVIS (13-17, 2-1 Big West)
Shut ‘Em Down: The Aggies accomplished a rare feat last weekend in its Big West series win against Hawai’i. For only the second time in its DI history, UCD recorded shutouts in both games of a league doubleheader and for only the ninth time as a Division I member, the Aggies recorded shutouts in back-to-back contests.
UC RIVERSIDE (23-12, 0-3 Big West)
1-2 Punch: Junior outfielder Madeline Richard and sophomore outfielder Jenna Curtan are the meat of the Highlander lineup. Richard ranks second in the league in batting (.461) and on-base percentage (.519), while leading in runs scored (36). Curtan leads the Big West in triples (4) and has also driven in 29 runs and stolen 19 bases. Those two numbers are both third in the Big West.
UC SANTA BARBARA (20-17, 3-0 Big West)
One Of The Best: Junior outfield Kristen Clark went on a three-game hitless streak three weeks ago. She responded with six multi-hit games upping her total to 20 on the season. Clark is second in the league with 55 hits and has 214 in her career, just 44 shy of the all-time program record set by former Gaucho star Christine Ramos.
HAWAI‘I (17-19, 1-2 Big West)
Watch Out: UH probably has a few extra pads on during at-bats as they are tied for the league lead in hit by pitch with 31. This has been a trend for the ‘Bows as they led the league in hit by pitch last year with 51.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
#44 Left The Yard: Senior infielder Darian Tautalafua collected her seventh homer of the season in LBSU’s loss to #24 Fresno State on March 18, giving her 44 for her career. Three more roundtrippers and Tautalafua ties former CSF star Yasmin Mossadeghi for the top spot in conference history. As for this season, Tautalafua is second in the Big West with her seven homers, one behind CSUN’s Savannah Horvath.
National Recognition: Three clubs have found themselves in the polls this year as Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State have all received votes in both major polls. The Titans are the current club to receive recognition as they are receiving votes in both polls, including the top club in the receiving votes section in the USA Today/NFCA poll.
Coaching Power: The 300 win club has three seats in the Big West table as Hawai’i’s Bob Coolen and Cal Poly’s Jenny Condon joined Long Beach State’s Kim Sowder in the milestong. Sowder reached it last season while both Coolen and Condon earned it within a week of each other this season.
RPI Report: The latest RPI report has two Big West clubs in the top 35 as Long Beach State (31) Cal State Fullerton (32) have earned spots. Two more clubs rank in the top 100 as CSUN and Cal Poly are No. 70 and 90, respectively.
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.
This season the senior third baseman has recorded 32 runs, 22 RBI, 17 doubles, one triple and five homers, while drawing 23 walks on the season. Her doubles and walks lead both CSF and the Big West.