Long Beach State, Hawaii At The Top In Softball Race
Weekly Softball Release No. 9
Long Beach State and Hawai‘i are tied at 3-0 entering week two of softball conference play. The 49ers host three games against UC Riverside on ESPN3 this week, while the Rainbow Wahine welcome visiting Cal State Fullerton.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Not A One-Hit Wonder: Junior Emily Ceccacci had a pair of hits in each of the last two games of the Cal State Northridge series, giving her a conference second-best 15 multi-hit games. One of Ceccacci’s two hits in the series finale was a triple, her fourth of the year, tying her for second in the Big West.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Grand Slam Gala: Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara combined for not one, not two, but three grand slams during the course of Sunday’s 11-7 slugfest won by the Titans. CSF’s Missy Taukeiaho, the reigning Big West Softball Field Player of the Week, cleared the bases in the third inning to trim UCSB’s lead to 6-5. With the scoreline knotted at 7-7, sophomore Samantha Galarza roped the game-winning shot in the sixth frame.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Glover’s Streak Ends: Freshman Taylor Glover’s 17-game hitting streak came to a halt against Cal Poly, but the outfielder rebounded with hits in the last two games of the series. Glover ranks No. 2 in the Big West in batting average (.405), is tied for second with 31 RBI and her 14 stolen bases is good for the third-most in the conference.
LONG BEACH STATE
What A Start: Long Beach State swept UC Davis last week to open up Big West play 3-0 for the first time since the 2008 season. In improving to 26-9 on the season, the 49ers also secured the program’s best start since that same 2008 squad was 27-8 through its first 35 contests. LBSU takes a five-game winning streak into this weekend’s encounter with UC Riverside, with all three games being aired on ESPN3.
Unfamiliar Surroundings: The Aggie bats managed only a combined two runs in an 0-3 Big West start to Long Beach State last weekend, but perhaps the team just needed to get reacclimated to its home field. After all, UC Davis had played 17 straight games away from La Rue Field. Prior to the LBSU series, the last home game for the Aggies was Feb. 18 against Stanford.
Rising Up The Chart: Senior Dionne Anderson is well on her way to breaking the Big West single-season record for stolen bases. Anderson’s 33 steals ranks No. 6 all-time in the conference, and is just six shy of the record 39 that Leslie Simien of UC Santa Barbara had in 2002.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Looking For A Turnaround: The Gauchos have lost five straight and nine of their last 10 games heading into this weekend’s rivalry series against Cal Poly. Despite the recent tailspin, UC Santa Barbara’s 21 wins still tie for the third-most among league members.
Hitting Their Stride: Hawai‘i’ rides a season-high five-game winning streak into this weekend’s Big West home opener against Cal State Fullerton. The Rainbow Wahine swept UC Riverside last week to start out league play 3-0 for the second straight year. UH won its first 11 Big West games in 2013 before suffering a defeat.
Jones-Wesley Maintains Record Pace: Right-handed pitcher Erin Jones-Wesley entered her senior season at Long Beach State with an opportunity to set a couple of school records as well as enter the Big West career top 10. The three-time All-Big West First Team selection has collected three consecutive 20-win seasons and has garnered 78 victories in the yellow and black. In addition to potentially becoming just the seventh player in conference history to capture first-team all-conference acclaim four times, Jones-Wesley is tied for the 49er career record for wins and owns the record for strikeouts. With two wins last week against UC Davis, Jones-Wesley equalled Meredith Cervenka’s (2002-05) top mark with 78. Jones-Wesley already surpassed Cervenka’s strikeout record (634) and is now tops with 654 career K’s. In the Big West record book, Jones-Wesley is tied for sixth in wins. She also just moved into the top 10 in strikeouts, surpassing Fresno State’s Terry Carpenter (1989-92) for the No. 10 spot.
Looking Good: The second RPI report of the 2014 season came out and the Big West is well represented with five clubs in the top 80. Long Beach State is the Big West’s top club at No. 43, followed by Cal State Fullerton at No. 44. UC Santa Barbara is No. 55, while Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge are tied at No. 77.
ESPN3 Games Set To Begin: This weekend’s league schedule features the softball debut of the Big West’s ESPN3 package. Through the Big West’s new mobile production facility, the conference has produced women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball games utilizing full ESPN production standards, including graphics, replay and on-air crew. The entire UC Riverside at Long Beach State series will appear on ESPN3 this week, with a total of 10 softball games this season on the docket.
Stolen Bases Queen: UC Riverside senior Dionne Anderson cozied up to former teammate Ariel Shore (2010-13) on the school’s career stolen base list. With one swipe against Hawai‘i last Saturday, Anderson tied Shore for the record at 72. The total also ties them for fifth on the Big West career chart. Anderson now sets her sights on the No. 4 spot currently occupied by UNLV’s Tricia Reimche (73, 1990-93).
Li’ili’i Clubs Ninth Homer: Junior first baseman Leisha Li’ili’i drove in the game-winning run with her ninth home run of the season in Saturday’s 4-1 triumph over UC Riverside. For Li’ili’i, the ninth roundtripper tied her for second in the Big West in that category. She now has 22 homers in her second year as a Big West player, needing only seven more to move into the No. 10 slot on the conference’s career list.
A Tale Of Two Directions: Cal Poly has played sizzling softball of late, winning seven of its last eight and 13 of its last 16 contests. The Mustang pitching staff has allowed two or fewer runs 13 times in those 16 outings. Cal Poly travels to rival UC Santa Barbara this week, facing a team that has headed in the opposite direction recently. After starting the season 18-5, the Gauchos have stumbled with losses in 10 of their last 13 games.