With a narrow loss to the Houston Cougars on Tuesday night behind them, the Titans softball team is looking ahead towards the annual Easton Invitational to rectify a game that seemed within their grasp and expand on more recent winning ways.
The Easton Invitational is set to take place at CSUF and will see six other teams, aside from the Titans, take the field this weekend – including Big West conference opponents, Long Beach State.
During this stretch of the season, it is not uncommon for the Titans be hosting or participating in invitationals, classics, and tournaments.
Just last weekend, the Titans spent two days in Northern California, going 3-1 in the Silicon Valley Classic, and with this weekend primed for more out of conference play, the Titans will surely be seizing another opportunity to build upon their 15-9 season record.
Since the beginning of the season, the Titans have been the poster-child of quality tournament, invitationals, and classics play, boasting a 77.8 win percentage across five competitions.
A large part of the reason why the Titans have been so successful in their various out-of-conference matchups is largely due to their pitching staff competing at a high level and giving their team a chance to take advantage offensively night in and night out.
Over the course of the season, the top three Titans in terms of innings pitched – junior Sophie Frost (63.0), freshman Dani Martinez (53.0), and sophomore Taylor Dockins (25.1) – all respectively rank among the top five leaders of a given category in Big West conference standings.
Frost has the second most wins in the Big West conference, Dockins has the fourth best Earned Run Average in the conference, and Martinez has the fourth most strikeouts in the conference with 59.
Not only does this Titan trio provide stability in the circle, but they also provide depth and a uniqueness of skill that few teams can say they possess.
While pitching has likely been on the shortlist of things to not worry about for the Titans and head coach Kelly Ford leading up to the Easton Invitational, hitting has been at the forefront of things to tighten up on.
With a cumulative .254 batting average, the Titans turbulent lineup can only be credited as third worst in the Big West conference, something which could spell trouble moving forward for Fullerton’s offense.
Aside from Fullerton’s top three hitters: freshman Alexa Neil (.348), sophomore Deshea Hill (.329), and senior Ari Williams (.388), no other batter for the Titans has been able to exceed or match the Big West conference batting average (.264) thus far this season.
At that rate, it is hard to argue that the Titans are slugging their way to victory in most games, but at third place overall in the Big West standings – it might be just be a matter of fine tuning the at bats to give the Titans a much needed boost.
On Thursday morning, the Titans will kick off their four game weekend against Boston University and ring in the Easton Invitational as the first and only match of the day.
The Titans have only played against Boston in three contests, once in 2018 and twice in 2017, with Fullerton ultimately having a one game edge over their east coast opponent – but Boston are arguably at the height of their game, topping their league with an 11-9 season record.
Fullerton will likely have a challenge on their hands as the Terriers take on the Titans come Thursday, but if the women of CSUF softball come in with the same reliable pitching and any minor improvements to the lineup – Boston might be looking down the barrel of another “L” in the career column against CSUF.