Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton Renew Rivalry on ESPNU
Big West Softball Weekly Release No. 12
The national airwaves will feature a doubleheader Wednesday between conference rivals as Long Beach State visits Cal State Fullerton in an ESPNU showdown. The Titans, owners of a 12-0 conference record, will put its 13-game win streak on the line against one of the top pitching clubs in the league.
BIG WEST TEAM NOTES
CAL POLY (21-20, 4-8 Big West)
Heyward The Hitter: Sophomore utility Stephanie Heyward has been one of Cal Poly’s top all-around players during conference play. Offensively Heyward is tops on the club in hitting (.333), hits (13), runs scored (4) and slugging percentage (.410). In the field, she has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, converting on all 35 of her chances. In the circle, Heyward has a 2.42 ERA, two complete games and has allowed just nine earned runs in 26.0 innings of work.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (38-10, 12-0 Big West)
40 Is Sooo 2003: Cal State Fullerton enters the week with a league-best 38 wins, the most the club has recorded under fourth-year head coach Kelly Ford. The Titans are looking for their first 40-win season in 13 years. Back in 2003, CSF won 41 games on its way to the Big West regular season title and hosted an NCAA Regional.
CSUN (27-20, 7-5 Big West)
Mashing The Ball: The Matadors are hitting just .262 during conference play, but they are one of the top extra-base hit clubs in the league. CSUN has collected 11 doubles, three triples and nine home runs among its 85 hits during league play. The club is slugging .398 during conference play, tied for second in the Big West.
LONG BEACH STATE (26-17, 6-6 Big West)
Pitcher’s Duels A Plenty: The 49er pitching staff has kept it in plenty of games this season, ranking second in ERA (2.61), first in strikeouts (271), second in fewest walks (85), second in earned runs allowed (107) and second in hits allowed (265). Junior pitcher Christina Clermont has been the ace of the staff, going 16-8 with a 2.04 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 157.2 innings. She has been lights out in conference play, going 4-5 with a 0.95 ERA, 50 strikeouts and only 11 walks allowed in 58.2 innings.
UC DAVIS (14-27, 3-9 Big West)
Solid Debut: Freshman pitcher Sara Cadona has usually featured in a bullpen role for the Aggies but her first start was a solid one again California. Cadona went five innings allowing six hits, three runs (none earned), walked two and struck out two. Cadona was given the no-decision after UCD tied the game in the top of the seventh.
UC RIVERSIDE (31-14-1, 7-5 Big West)
30-30: The Highlanders picked up a sweep last week against UC Davis, giving them 31 wins on the season. It marked the first time in UCR’s DI history that the club has won 30 games in back-to-back seasons. UC Riverside has also won at least 20 games since 2012, the longest string for the club as a Division I member.
UC SANTA BARBARA (22-25, 5-7 Big West)
Home Sweet Home: The Gauchos will be playing their final games of the 2016 season at Campus Diamond this weekend, a place where they are 11-7 overall and 4-2 in conferene play. UCSB has been a different club in the circle on its home field, posting a 2.28 ERA and allowing foes to hit just .267. On the road, the club has posted a 4.45 ERA and allowed teams to hit .311.
HAWAI‘I (20-25, 4-8 Big West)
No First Year Jitters: Freshman utility Nicole Lopez has made a solid transition to the college game. Lopez is second on the team in batting average (.291) and leads the club in hits (41). Lopez has also picked up seven doubles, two triples, four home runs, 19 RBI and has posted a .959 fielding percentage.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
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 50 has also made her the first player in league lore to reach the 50-homer plateau.
Tautalafua is also on the verge of another Big West career record, standing just three RBI short of tying former Pacific star Jennifer Curtier (170) for the top spot in league history.
National Recognition: After five straight weeks in the receiving votes category, Cal State Fullerton broke into the national rankings this week. The Titans stand at No. 25 in the USA Today/NFCA Poll, the second consecutive season that the club has appeared in a national poll. CSF is one of three teams to receive votes in a national poll this season, joining Cal Poly and Long Beach State.
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 (26) and Long Beach State (43) have earned spots. Two more clubs rank in the top 100 as CSUN and Cal Poly are No. 73 and 77, respectively.
Among The Best: Junior outfielder Madeline Richard is one of the nation’s best at getting on base. Richard is fifth in the NCAA in batting average (.477) and 24th in on-base percentage (.533). Both of those figures are also tops in the Big West.