Cal State Fullerton Looks To Build On Lead At Halfway Point
Big West Softball Release No. 11
The midway point of the 2016 season is upon softball fans this weekend as Cal State Fullerton looks to extend its four-game lead at the top of the standings.
BIG WEST TEAM NOTES
CAL POLY (19-17, 3-6 Big West)
Go Home Mustangs: Cal Poly begins an eight-game homestand this week, its longest stretch of games at Bob Janssen since the 2012 season. The Mustangs haven’t played many home games at this point of the season, having played just seven of their 36 games in front of home fans.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (35-10, 9-0 Big West)
That Was Fast: The Titans won their 35th game of the season Tuesday against San Diego, surpassing their win total from 2015 with 12 games to go. CSF also owns nine conference wins to this point, three more and it matches its output from last season. In all, CSF has been on fire as it has won 10 games in a row and is 26-4 over its last 30 games.
CSUN (25-19, 5-4 Big West)
Go For It All: Sophomore infielder Savannah Horvath knocked in six runs in the Matadors’ series win over UC Santa Barbara, all of them coming via the home run. Horvath connected on two three-run homers, one coming in the series opener and the other coming in the series finale. Horvath now has a career-high 10 homers on the season, ranking second in the Big West .
LONG BEACH STATE (24-16, 4-5 Big West)
Uncharacteristic Mistakes: Usually Long Beach State is one of the league’s top fielding teams but the defense had a couple of key errors in the series loss to Cal Poly last weekend. The Beach lost a pair of games 1-0, with errors extending innings that led to the eventual winning runs. Junior pitcher Christina Clermont was the unforunate “beneficiary” of the defensive lapses as she picked up the loss in both games.
UC DAVIS (14-22, 3-6 Big West)
All Or Nothing: Freshman infielder Meghan Bradbury is hitting just .196 but she is arguably the team’s most efficient power threat. Bradbury leads the Aggies in home runs (3) and is second in RBI (14) despite collecting the sixth-most hits on the team (18).
UC RIVERSIDE (28-14-1, 4-5 Big West)
Not A Bad Follow Up Performance: Freshman pitcher Anessa Cepeda second start of the season came in the finale against Hawai’i, resulting in UCR’s lone win of the series. Cepeda went the distance, allowing no runs, four hits, four walks and two strikeouts. Her second start was a dramatic improvement over her first career showing a week before against UC Santa Barbara. In that game Cepeda got the win but allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits, walked five and struck out two in 6.2 innings.
UC SANTA BARBARA (21-23, 4-5 Big West)
If They’re On, They’re Coming In: The Gauchos are among the top run producing teams in the Big West, ranking second in RBI with 185. It has been a team effort for the club as it owns a league-high three players in the top 10 in RBI. Sierra Altmeyer leads the team and is in a tie for third (34), Arianna Palomares is seventh (28) and Jessica Johnston is 10th (26).
HAWAI‘I (20-22, 4-5 Big West)
The Keiki Way: Senior outfielder Keiki Carlos Carlos was all over the basepaths in the ‘Bows’ series win over UC Riverside, batting .364 and scoring five of her teams’ eight runs in the series. Carlos also knocked out her second home run of the season in game two, giving her team a lead they would not relinquish.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
Leaving The Yard Like No Other: Senior infielder Darian Tautalafua’s power surge increased her career home run total to 49, passing former Cal State Fullerton slugger Yasmin Mossadeghi for the most in league history. Tautalafua’s next roundtripper will make her the first in Big West lore to reach the 50-homer mark.
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 have received votes in both polls in each of the last five weeks.
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.
That group wasn’t the only one to reach milestones this year as Cal State Fullerton’s Kelly Ford and UC Riverside’s Linda Garza each reached 100 career wins this season. Both are in their fifth season at the helm of their programs.
RPI Report: The latest RPI report has two Big West clubs in the top 50 as Cal State Fullerton (27) and Long Beach State (43) have earned spots. Two more clubs rank in the top 100 as CSUN and Cal Poly are No. 80 and 83, respectively.
Parity Rules: Cal State Fullerton is catching all the headlines with a 9-0 start in league play, but there is certainly parity amongst the rest of the league as the midway point of conference play approaches. CSUN is second at 5-4 then a four-way tie for third at 4-5 between UC Riverside, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara and Hawai’i. Cal Poly and UC Davis are also still in the mix at 3-6.
Among The Best: Junior outfielder Madeline Richard is one of the nation’s best at getting on base. Richard is second in the NCAA in batting average (.500) and 10th in on-base percentage (.555). She is one of four players in the country to rank in the top 10 in both categories.