Two Weeks To Go Until League Play, LBSU Sits Atop Softball Standings
Files associated with this release:
With conference play just a couple of weeks away, Long Beach State is in the pole position in the league standings with a 16-8 record. Pacific isn’t far behind at 12-6, while defending co-champion UC Davis is in third at 12-10. UC Santa Barbara has also seen a dramatic turnaround with a 12-11 record to this point after going just 15-37 a year ago.
PRESTIGIOUS GARMAN CLASSIC ON TAP
Cal State Fullerton once again welcomes some of the nation's best collegiate softball teams to Southern California to compete in one of the country’s most prestigious tournaments - the Judi Garman Classic.
The 2011 Judi Garman Classic presented by Coach USA, named after the former Titan Hall of Fame Head Softball Coach and widely regarded as the premiere mid-season collegiate tournament in the country, will be held at the dual diamond Titan Softball Complex on Wednesday, March 16, to Sunday, March 20.
This year's field is a who’s who in the collegiate softball world. Oklahoma, Fresno State, Michigan, Arizona, Arizona State and Washington are former NCAA champions that will be in the field, as well as traditional powers Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas, Long Beach State, DePaul and the host Titans. Last season, Michigan and Washington shared the top spot with identical 4-1 records.
LBSU'S JONES-WESLEY SAYS NO...AGAIN
Erin Jones-Wesley continued her torrid start to her collegiate career for Long Beach State last weekend, picking up her second no-hitter of the season and the 22nd no-hitter in program history.
Jones-Wesley picked up the feat against Utah State last Sunday at the 49er-hosted Long Beach Airport Marriott Invitational. She walked four batters but worked her way around that with 11 strikeouts. Jones-Wesley’s other no-hitter came on March 5 against Big 12 foe Baylor, a no-no in which she actually allowed run in the bottom of the third, but it was unearned thanks to two errors in the frame.
UCD'S HOLMES MAKING THE MOST OF HER SENIOR YEAR
In the preseason, Alex Holmes was named to the ASA Player of the Year Watchlist and she has done nothing but validate her inclusion on the list.
Offensively, Holmes is batting .414 with 29 hits, four doubles, four triples, a home run, seven RBI and has scored four runs. She’s slugging an incredible .629 and is posting a .475 on-base percentage.
In the circle, Holmes has taken her customary role as ace of the Aggie staff. She is 7-7 with a 2.41 ERA, five complete games, two saves and 88 strikeouts in 93.0 innings. She has appeared in 18 of the Aggies’ 22 games, but only nine of them have come in a starting role. Holmes’ status as a workhorse is evident in her innings pitched total. Her 93.0 innings are 62% of the total innings UCD pitchers have logged so far in 2011.
THIELGES BREAKS OUT
According to her player bio, Cal State Northridge's Mikayla Thielges can’t imagine going a week without chocolate. The way she has been hitting for the Matadors this season, Thielges’ teammates might want to give her a piece of chocolate before every at-bat.
After hitting just .167 with nine hits and six RBI in 27 games last season, Thielges is batting .234 with six homers, 18 RBI and a .638 slugging percentage. She ranks third in the Big west in slugging, leads the league in RBI and is second in home runs. Thielges is spearheading an attack that leads the Big West in home runs (17), despite having the second-fewest at-bats (467) in the league.
UC Santa Barbara has one of the league’s most potent offenses, batting at a .286 clip with 180 hits, 36 doubles, 104 runs scored, 22 stolen bases and 93 RBI. They also own the dubious distinction of having the most strikeouts in the league at 143. Individually, the top three players and four of the top five players on the strikeout list are Gauchos.
BIG WEST HOLDING ITS OWN AGAINST REGIONAL RIVALS
A year ago, the Big West struggled against the Mountain West, Pacific Coast Softball, Pac-10 and the WAC, going a collective 36-91 against its regional rival conferences. This year, the tables have turned as the Big West is a collective 32-44 against those conferences. Throw out its record against the Pac-10 and the Big West is 30-28 against its fellow regional non-BCS leagues.
GRAND 'OL CLUB
Cal State Fullerton's 3-2 win over Oregon State Sunday was not only the clubs' second victory over a Pac-10 school this season, but also delivered a bit of history. The win was the 1,000th in the history of the program as a member of the Big West, the first school to reach that illustrious number is league history. The Titans now stand at 1,001-550-3 all-time.
TWO BIG WEST PLAYERS NAMED TO ASA PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCHLIST
The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America has selected its initial watch list for the 10th annual ASA USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award and two Big West players have made the exclusive preseason list.
Cal Poly's Anna Cahn and UC Davis' Alex Holmes are among the 50 names on the preseason list, the first leg of the process for what is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women’s softball. The ASA will announce the 25 finalists on April 13. A player does not have to appear on the initial watch list to be considered as a top 25 finalist. However, once the top 25 finalists are named the winner of the award will come from that list. Freshman qualify for the top 25 list once they have competed at the collegiate level.
FLOWERS TAKES OVER AT CSUN
Tairia Flowers, who has enjoyed success as an outstanding collegiate player, an Olympic gold medal winner and as a successful collegiate assistant coach, is the new head coach of the softball program at Cal State Northridge. Flowers begins her new duties at Cal State Northridge after serving the past four seasons (2007-10) as an assistant softball coach at Big West rival Long Beach State.
As a member of the 49ers coaching staff, Flowers helped the team to two NCAA Tournament appearances and Top-25 rankings on numerous occasions. Flowers helped coach 29 Big West All-Conference selections and six Academic All-Americans. As a team, Long Beach State set numerous and individual school records including batting average, runs batted in, doubles, triples and walks.
ANOTHER SEASON, ANOTHER COACHING MILESTONE FOR GROMACKI
Cal State Fullerton head coach Michelle Gromacki is just the fourth coach in league history to win 350+ overall games and 150+conference outings during Big West membership. This season, Gromacki has a chance to add to her legacy as the 12th-year coach is just 12 wins from 400 for her career.