Coming off arguably its biggest series win of the season, the Cal State Fullerton softball team will look to climb the Big West standings as it travels to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo this weekend.
On Saturday, the two teams will play a doubleheader with the first game starting at 2 p.m. and the second a few minutes after the conclusion of the first game. The final game will start on Sunday at noon.
Having handed Long Beach State its first two conference losses of the year, the Titans (26-18-1, 7-5 Big West) will face off with the Mustangs (25-16, 7-5 Big West) in a battle for sole possession of third place.
CSUF’s success this season has been due to its dangerous offense, which has been hard to slow down. As a team, the Titans are batting .302 with a conference leading 48 home runs and .491 slugging percentage.
Leading the way for the Titans is Missy Taukeiaho. With a .426 batting average, 14 home runs and 38 runs batted in, the sophomore third baseman has been an absolute nightmare for opposing pitchers. In the series versus the 49ers, Taukeiaho batted .600 with four runs batted in and four runs scored.
For her performance, she earned Big West Softball Player of the Week honors for the third time this season. The record for the award in a season belongs to former Titan Jenny Topping, who received it four times in 2001 and five times in 2003.
Adding to the offensive firepower are Gabby Aragon and Eliza Crawford.
Aragon is batting .318 with six home runs and 28 runs batted in while Crawford has a .284 average, 10 home runs and 28 runs batted in.
Consistency in the circle will be key if the Titans expect to rise in the conference standings, and they will look to the trio of Jasmine Antunez, Monique Wesley and Christina Washington to lead the way. Antunez is 10-8 this season and comes in with a 4.02 earned run average. Her 90 strikeouts are by far the most on the team with Wesley coming in second with 47 strikeouts. Wesley is 3-5 with a 5.10 earned run average in 59 innings pitched. Washington enters the series with a 9-5 record and 3.73 earned run average. In 103.1 innings, the freshman has struck out 46 batters while allowing 51 walks.
The series will be another tough test for CSUF as the Mustangs enter the weekend on a four-game winning streak that includes a sweep of Hawaii.
Offensively, Cal Poly SLO is led by Sierra Hyland, who is batting .367 with five home runs and 28 runs batted in. Another player to watch is Emily Ceccacci, who is also batting .367 with 19 runs batted in. Her 51 hits leads the team.
In the circle, Cal Poly SLO keeps it simple with a two pitcher rotation, which is also led by Hyland. The freshman is 21-7 with a 1.76 earned run average. She has struck out 221 batters in 202.2 innings.
The other Mustang pitcher is Chloe Wurst, who enters with a 4-8 record and 4.27 earned run average. In 85.1 innings, the junior has 38 strikeouts.
Last season, the Mustangs swept the Titans in the three-game series, outscoring CSUF, 8-2, at Anderson Family Field.
This year, the Titans will travel to Bob Janssen Field where Cal Poly SLO is 9-3 in 2014. CSUF holds a 3-2-1 away record this season.
For more information on the CSUF softball team and all Titan Athletics, go to FullertonTitans.com.