No April Fools As Conference Play Begins For Softball
Big West Softball Weekly Release No. 8
The calendar flipping to April means the highly anticipated conference schedule begins for the sfotball clubs. Cal State Fullerton begins its title defense against resurgent UC Riverside, highlighting a schedule on intriguing Big West openers.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
LEAGUE PLAY COMMENCES
The journey for the Big West title begins this week as the eight clubs begin the league schedule. Defending champion Cal State Fullerton hits the road for the first weekend of league play, heading to upstart UC Riverside who has amassed an 18-10 record heading into league play. The schedule also includes a series between CSUN and Long Beach State, two clubs that were ranked in the top three of the coaches preseason poll.
Cal Poly, owners of the league’s top record at 24-6, hosts rival UC Santa Barbara in their conference-opening series. The Gauchos, who play #22 California before the Mustang series, have turned their season around after a tough start. The club is 14-4 since a 4-10 start.
The final matchup of the weekend is between two teams that haven’t been on the field much over the last weeks. UC Davis, who hasn’t played in 12 days, visiting Hawai’i, which has been inactive for 13 days. Both teams are looking to keep their previous momentum as the Aggies have won seven in a row while the ‘Bows are winners of six straight.
Hawai’i has made a return to prominence this season as the club is 21-10 entering Big West play, the second-most wins in the league. UH is also just three wins shy of equaling its 2016 output.
HYLAND REACHES THE PINNACLE
Cal Poly senior Sierra Hyland is now the all-time strikeout queen, surpassing former UC Santa Barbara great Jennifer Davis’ 846 career K’s. Hyland is now up to 859 punchouts, putting her on pace to become the first Big West player to record 900 strikeouts and putting 1,000 career K’s within striking distance.
1. Sierra Hyland, CP (2014-pres.) - 859
2. Jennifer Davis, UCSB (2004-07) - 846
3. Desarie Knipfer, CP (1994-98) - 798
4. Cindy Ball, PAC (1999-02) - 761
5. Erin Jones-Wesley, LBSU (2011-14) - 728
6. Lori Harrigan, UNLV (1989-92) - 725
7. Tara Glaister, CSUN (1997-99) - 715
8. Candice Baker, CSF (2004-07) - 712
9. Tiffany Boyd, CSF (1991-93) - 701
10. Jodie Cox, CSF (2000-03) - 699
SHE’LL MAKE IT EXTRA
UC Santa Barbara freshman Alyssa Diaz has 26 hits on the season, a little under half of which are for extra bases. Diaz has 11 doubles, one triple and two home runs among those 26 hits, making her the only player in the league to have extra base hits account for over 50% of their hit total.
THIS DUO TAKES TWO
The UC Davis duo of Taylor Peters and Brianna Warner has a combined 73 hits on the season, only three of which have been for extra bases (all by Warner). The duo ends up on second base more often than not thanks to their combined 30 steals, the highest number of thefts by two teammates in the league.
GOOD LUCK GETTING THAT K
Cal State Fullerton junior Samantha Vandiver is one of the toughest players to strike out in the NCAA. Vandiver has struck out twice in 94 at-bats, a rate that is 15th-best in the nation. Vandiver went 23 straight games without striking out this season and has gone four straight without sitting down via strikes.
SOFTBALL READY FOR ITS CLOSE UP
Several softball series have been selected a national audience across ESPN platforms. Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State will play the final game of their rivalry set on ESPNU, a matchup scheduled for 3 pm on Sunday, April 30.
Softball will also make three appearance on ESPN3. First will be the series between Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton April 8-9. UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State will then have the honors for their series April 22-23. CSUN and CSF will then wrap up the scheduled E3 softball package with their doubleheader on May 6.
.400 - Career batting average of CSUN's Taylor Glover, third-best all-time
266 - Hits by UC Santa Barbara's Kristen Clark, the most in UCSB history
169 - Strikeouts by Cal Poly's Sierra Hyland this season, most in the Big West and fifth-most in the NCAA
3 - Big West victories needed by UC Santa Barbara coach Brie Galicinago to reach 100
25 - Home runs by Hawai'i this season, matching its total from 2016
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