Long Beach State Hosts Hawai'i In ESPN3 Showdown
Big West Softball Weekly Release No. 14
With the Big West title out of reach, Long Beach State looks to strengthen its case for an NCAA bid with a three-game set against Hawai'i. The Beach and 'Bows will be on the national scene as the doubleheader Saturday is slated for ESPN3 coverage.
BIG WEST TEAM NOTES
CAL POLY (24-23, 7-11 Big West)
Better Make Room: Junior Sierra Hyland crashed a Big West career top 10 list last weekend, moving into elite company with 686 career strikeouts. Her strikeout total moved her past former Cal State Fullerton hurler Gina Oaks for 10th all-time. Next up is another former Titan as Oaks’ former teammate Jodie Cox is ninth with 699 career K’s. Hyland also needs just 10 more strikeouts to post her third consective season of 200 or more punchouts.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (41-13, 15-3 Big West)
Back On Top: The Titans’ series win over CSUN last weekend clinched the Big West regular season crown for the club and automatic NCAA Tournament berth. The league championship is the first for CSF since 2006, while the postseason appearance is the first for the program since 2009.
CSUN (31-22, 11-7 Big West)
Always Getting More: The Matadors are one of the top extra-base hit teams in the Big West, ranking third in doubles (64), tied for second in triples (11) and leading the league in home runs (42). Speaking of roundtrippers, CSUN is tied with Cal State Fullerton for the most players in the league’s top 10 in homers (3). Junior shortstop Savannah Horvath leads that charge with 13 dingers, second-best in the conference.
LONG BEACH STATE (30-19, 10-8 Big West)
Free Pass..Many Of Them: Senior third baseman Darian Tautalafua is the league’s most feared power hitter and now has an NCAA record to prove it. Tautalafua has walked 14 consecutive times, 13 of those coming last weekend against UC Riverside. She shattered the NCAA record of 10 straight free passes set by Megan Hill of Southern Mississippi in 2009.
UC DAVIS (15-32, 4-14 Big West)
Something’s Gotta Give: UC Davis leads the Big West with 83, lead by the potent junior combo of Brianna Warner (37) and Taylor Peters (17). Warner was finally caught stealing last weekend against UCSB, snapping a string of 39 straight steals dating back to last season. This week will prove to be a challenge for the Aggie base stealers as CSUN leads the league in runners caught stealing (14), and Matador junior catcher Karlie Habitz has picked off two baserunners.
UC RIVERSIDE (32-19-1, 8-10 Big West)
Underrated Power: Senior catcher Natalie Sanchez is one of the league’s underrated hitters, batting .304 with five homer, 34 RBI, 11 doubles, 45 hits and 25 walks. She is one of two Highlander regulars to post an on-base percentage of .400 or better (.421) and has an impressive .480 slugging percentage as well.
UC SANTA BARBARA (27-26, 10-8 Big West)
Rookie No More: Freshman infielder Sierra Altmeyer enters the final weekend of her rookie campaign looking to put a stamp on an impressive debut season. Altmeyes is batting .307 with seven home runs, 42 RBI, 50 hits, 12 doubles, 22 walks and 20 runs scored. She has been scorching the opposition in conference play, batting .340 with three home runs, 14 RBI, three doubles, 18 hits and an eye-popping .604 slugging percentage.
HAWAI‘I (23-28, 7-11 Big West)
Cardiac Bows: Both of Hawai’i’s wins against Cal Poly last week were of the walk-off variety. In the series opener, the ‘Bows were down to their last out in the bottom of the seventh then loaded the bases for freshman Nicole Lopez. She delivered with a two-run single to tie the game, then a few batters later junior Heather Morales singled home the winning run.
Then in the series finale, Lopez came through again with a game-winning solo homer in the bottom of the eighth. The two clubs were locked in a scoreless pitchers duel prior to the game-winning blast.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
Smile For The Camera: This weekend’s Hawai’i/Long Beach State series will have its doubleheader broadcast live on ESPN3. The doubledip is scheduled for Saturday with game one beginning at noon. The Beach is making its second national appearance in the last three weeks as its road doubleheader against Cal State Fullerton was televised on ESPNU on April 27.
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 in the series against Cal State Fullerton pushed her past former Pacific star Jennifer Curtier (170) for the top spot in league history.
National Recognition: Newly minted Big West champion Cal State Fullerton is appearing in one of the polls for the eighth straight week, one of those as a top 25 team. They are one of three Big West clubs (Cal Poly, Long Beach State) to appear in a national poll this season.
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 (28) and Long Beach State (36) have earned spots. Two more clubs rank in the top 100 as CSUN and Cal Poly are No. 55 and 95, respectively.