CSUN Hosts Cal State Fullerton In Pivotal Big West Series
Big West Softball Weekly Release No. 13
CSUN, winners of seven of its last eight, hosts league-leading Cal State Fullerton in a showdown of the top two teams in the league standings. A series win or sweep by the Matadors would tie the two clubs heading into the final week, while a series win by the Titans would clinch the conference title for the program.
BIG WEST TEAM NOTES
CAL POLY (23-21, 6-9 Big West)
Yup Still Dominant: Junior Sierra Hyland is in the midst of another fine two-way season for the Mustangs. In the circle, Hyland leads the Big West in ERA (1.39), is tied for the lead in strikeouts (170), second in opponents’ batting average (.176), first in strikeouts per game (9.47) and seventh in innings pitched (125.2).
At the plate, Hyland is 10th in the league with a .353 batting average and has also collected 42 hits, scored 14 runs, stolen 12 bases and knocked in 26 runs.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (39-12, 13-2 Big West)
Career Year: Junior infielder Alexis Gonzalez is having the best season of her collegiate career, batting .367 with eight home runs, 38 RBI and 15 runs scored. This is her first season as a full-time starter with the Titans as a year ago she hit. 306 in primarily a pinch-hit role.
CSUN (30-20, 10-5 Big West)
Defending Champs Making A Run: The Matadors are one of the hottest teams in the league, having won seven of their last eight games and have not dropped a conference series since its league opener against Long Beach State April 2-3. The hot streak has CSUN up to second place in the standings just three games behind league-leading Cal State Fullerton with six games to go. The Matadors opponent this weekend? The Titans in a three-game set at Matador Diamond.
LONG BEACH STATE (28-18, 8-7 Big West)
Welcome Back: You may have to excuse the 49ers if they mistakenly put on their road uniforms this weekend as they return home for the first time since April 16-17. The Beach only had three home games in the month of April and actually lost them all, a three-game sweep at the hands of Cal Poly. Long Beach State won’t have to worry about hitting the road the rest of the regular season, playing all six games in the friendly confines of the LBSU Softball Complex.
UC DAVIS (15-29, 4-11 Big West)
Solid Debut: Junior outfielder Brianna Warner is on the cusp of an achievement that only one other person has reached in Big West history. Warner leads the Big West with 36 stolen bases on the season, but four more swipes would make her just the second player in league history to reach 40 steals in a season. The single season record holder is former UC Riverside speedster Dionne Anderson who picked up 47 in 2014.
UC RIVERSIDE (31-17-1, 7-8 Big West)
Just One More: The Highlander sophomore duo in the circle has been very successful this year as Tayler Misfeldt has 20 wins and Kaylynn Pierce has nine victories. One more win by Pierce and they would be the first UCR teammates with double digit wins in the same season since the Highlanders made the jump to the Division I level.
UC SANTA BARBARA (24-26, 7-8 Big West)
Keep The Line Moving: UCSB leads the Big West in hits with 411, but only 80 of those are of the extra-base variety. The Gauchos’ 331 singles are more than three clubs hit totals, leading to a .373 on-base percentage for the club.
HAWAI‘I (21-27, 5-10 Big West)
One Last Time: Senior second baseman Tayana Mata is making her last run through Big West play productive as she leads the team with a .371 batting average and is second in RBI with six. Mata’s run through Big West opposition has raised her overall average to .250.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
Power Like No Other: Senior infielder Darian Tautalafua has etched her name in Big West history, passing former Cal State Fullerton slugger Yasmin Mossadeghi (47) for the most home runs in league history. Tautalafua’s career total of 51 has also made her the first player in league lore to reach the 50-homer plateau.
Tautalafua is also the owner of another Big West career record as her three RBI last weekend pushes her past former Pacific star Jennifer Curtier (170) for the top spot in league history.
National Recognition: For only the second time this season, two Big West clubs are in the receiving votes category of a national poll. Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State are the clubs listed among the nation’s best, fresh off a series against one another that saw the Beach win two of the three contests.
Feeling 30: For the first time in its Division I history, CSUN has won 30+ games in three consecutive seasons. The last time the program accomplished that feat was from the 1997-99 seasons.
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 (30) and Long Beach State (38) have earned spots. Two more clubs rank in the top 100 as CSUN and Cal Poly are No. 53 and 82, respectively.
Familiar With Each Other: Cal State Fullerton junior outfielder Delynn Rippy and CSUN sophomore infielder Tara Kliebenstein are the last two Player of the Week recipients. CSF freshman Sydney Golden and CSUN junior Daphne Pofek are the last two Pitcher of the Week choices. Significance? The Player of the Week picks are from the same hometown and high school...ditto for the Pitchers of the Week. Rippy and Kliebenstein both hail from Oceanside and El Camino High School. Golden and Pofek are natives of Riverside and Martin Luther King High School.