Pacific Holds One Game Lead Entering Final Softball Weekend
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The Big West softball champion will be crowned this weekend and the Pacific Tigers are in the driver’s seat with a one game lead over Long Beach State for the 2011 title. Once a champion has been decided, it's on to the NCAA Softball Selection show slated for 7 p.m. (PDT) on Sunday, May 15 live on ESPNU.
The Tigers will be in the Central Coast against Cal Poly this weekend, seeking the first Big West title in program history. Meanwhile, LBSU will be keeping a close eye on the scoreboard as travels to UC Riverside hoping to leapfrog the Tigers.
Cal State Fullerton can also get a piece of the title with some outside help. The Titans are hosting Cal State Northridge in both clubs’ regular season finale.
ALL YOUR TIEBREAKING NEEDS
Need a rundown of all the tiebreakers in play? No problem:
- wins auto bid with two wins
- wins auto bid with one win AND LBSU winning two of three (holds head-to-head tiebreaker)
- wins auto bid with two wins AND LBSU sweep (holds head-to-head tiebreaker)
- wins auto bid if tied with CSF at 14-7 (holds head-to-head tiebreaker)
- wins league title and auto bid outright with sweep
- wins league title and auto bid outright by winning two of three and LBSU doing the same
LONG BEACH STATE
- wins league title and auto bid outright by with sweep and PAC winning one of three
- wins league title and auto bid outright by winning two of three and PAC being swept
CAL STATE FULLERTON
- no scenario in which CSF can win auto bid, can tie for league title with sweep, PAC being swept and LBSU losing two of three
There is also a possibility of a three-way tiebreaker with the three clubs tied at 14-7. Pacific would claim the auto bid since it would own the best record in its series against the other two clubs at 4-2. LBSU is 3-3, while CSF is 2-4.
ON THE CUSP OF HISTORY?
Pacific is one of the perennial powers in the Big West, having won 806 games over 26-plus seasons as a member of the conference. Included in that membership was a 50-win season in 2001, eight NCAA appearances, numerous postseason honors and a 12-year run of winning seasons from 1996-2007. Despite of this run of success, the Tigers have never held the Big West championship, a feat that five of the current league members and four former ones have accomplished during Pacific’s time in the Big West.
CAHN’S BIG WEEKEND GETS HER ON "THE LIST"
Cal Poly's Anna Cahn hit two big flies last weekend against UC Davis, giving her 14 on the season and moving her into select company. Cahn’s homer total this season moves her into a tie for fifth on the single-season Big West home run list. Cahn also is now on the career homer list as she has 28 career dingers, placing ninth on the all-time conference list.
YOU BETTER GET TO THREE TO HAVE A CHANCE
Long Beach State has a huge edge in the circle with a league-leading 2.05 ERA, and they haven't strayed very much from that number all year. The 49ers have 30 games this year in which the opposition has scored two or less runs and have gone 28-2 in those contests. The only two times the club has lost in those games was a 2-0 defeat against Brigham Young on March 11 and a 1-0 loss to Texas on March 16.
RULE THE WEST
The Big West has reclaimed its place among the premier mid-major conferences with a stellar showing against its brethren out west. The league is a combined 41-38 against the Mountain West, Pacific Coast Softball and WAC after going 34-49 against those same leagues a year ago.
COACHING MILESTONES APLENTY
The latter part of the Big West season has had plenty of excitement on the field, and as a result several coaches have reached or are on the cusp of career milestones.
Cal State Fullerton head coach Michelle Gromacki added to her legacy on April 22 as the 12th-year head coach won her 400th career game. She becomes the fourth coach in Big West history to reach that illustrious milestone and the second Titan head coach to do so. The other three coaching legends to surpass 400 victories in conference history are all-time leader Pete Mararino of Long Beach State (791), Cal State Fullerton’s Judi Garman (581) and current Pacific head coach Brian Kolze (573).
Pacific's Brian Kolze, the dean of Big West coaches in his 19th season, is approaching an impressive number in coaching victories. Currently standing at 578 wins, seven more victories will put Kolze past former Cal State Fullerton head coach Judi Garman and into second place all-time in Big West history. Kolze is likely to reach an even bigger milestone next season as he should reach 600 career wins.
Cal Poly's Jenny Condon is closing in on an impressive milestone as she nears win #200. In just her seventh season at the helm of the program, Condon is one win away from the milestone, averaging 31.5 wins over her six previous seasons.
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 1,016-561-3 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.