Titans Hold Lead At Midway Point Of Big West Softball Season
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After being selected to finish sixth in the coaches poll, Cal State Fullerton sits in the pole position on the Big West leaderboard with a 7-2 mark. The Titans face another road challenge this week as they travel to Northern California to take on defending Big West co-champion UC Davis.
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 one win from 400 for her career. She would become just the fourth coach, and just the second active, to reach that illustrious milestone.
SURPASSING 2010 IN A BIG WAY
The Big West had a down year in 2010, but the success of several teams in 2011 have made that season a distant memory. Four teams have surpassed their 2010 win total in Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific. The Titans won 14 in 2010 and are up to 18 at this point, the 49ers finished with 26 last season and are at 28 in '11, the Gauchos had 15 last year and have turned in 22 victories this year and Pacific went from 24 last season to 27 and counting this year.
SWEEPS PICKING UP STEAM
A week after the league saw its first sweep in Big West play, two more clubs swept their conference foes during play last weekend. Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State pulled off three-game wins against Cal Poly and UC Davis, respectively. Unlike UC Santa Barbara’s sweep over the Mustangs, the Titans and 49ers came away with their clean sheets in their home stadiums.
COBB SAYS NO
UC Santa Barbara's Krista Cobb didn’t let the unseasonably warm temperatures get to her last weekend as she hurled the second no-hitter of her career. In the opener of a three-game home set against UC Riverside, Cobb went the distance and allowed just two walks, no runs and struck out one while facing the minimum. It’s the second no-hitter twirled by a Big West pitcher this season as Long Beach State’s Erin Jones-Wesley also recorded a no-no March 5 against Baylor.
JUST ANOTHER MANIC SUNDAY
Sunday was comeback day for a couple Big West softball teams, helping one squad avoid a sweep and helping another clinch a sweep.
First, UC Riverside found itself down 8-2 after four innings on the road against UC Santa Barbara. All the Highlanders did was score five in the fifth and four in the sixth to rally for an 11-8 win. Even more impressive was that UCR rallied against UCSB’s Krista Cobb who no-hit the club the day before.
Meanwhile down in Orange County, Cal State Fullerton found itself down 8-6 in the bottom of the sixth after a wild back and forth game against Cal Poly. Not only did the Titans score twice in the frame to knot the score, but Nicole Johnson sent the Titans to the winners circle in the following inning with a walkoff, three-run blast.
RPI REPORT #3
The NCAA released the third RPI report a week ago and the Big West continues to strengthen it’s case as one of the nation's top leagues. Long Beach State leads the contingent at #28, while Pacific continues its upward climb at the #36 position. League-leading Cal State Fullerton gives the Big West a third team in the top 100 as it checks in at #75. Not surprisingly, those three teams, as well as UC Santa Barbara (109) comprise the upper half of the standings in the Big West.
JENNINGS TEARING UP LEAGUE FOES
UC Santa Barbara's Keilani Jennings is taking full advantage of the familiarity of conference play as she is tearing the hide off the ball against Big West foes. Jennings is tops in slugging (1.107), runs scored (12), RBI (11), doubles (6), home runs (4) and total bases (31), while ranking fourth in batting average (.464) and tying for first in hits (13) among the conference-only leaderboard.
LBSU STAFF NEARLY UNHITTABLE IN BIG WEST PLAY
Long Beach State's pitching staff has been practically untouchable in conference play, putting up impressive numbers against it's league brethren. The 49ers have a 1.29 ERA in 59.2 innings pitched, have allowed just 43 hits, 13 runs (11 earned), walked 17 and have struck out 47. The squad has also given up only nine extra base hits in as many games, allowed a .202 batting average and registered three of the seven shutouts that have occured in conference play.
GRAND 'OL CLUB
Cal State Fullerton's 3-2 win over Oregon State on March 6 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 1,012-556-3 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.