April 27, 2011
With first place and the pole position for the home stretch of the season on the line, the Pacific softball team heads South to Cal State Fullerton to take on the Titans in Big West Conference action on April 30-May 1.
The Tigers are locked in a heated battle at the top of the standings with the Titans as both teams enter the weekend series tied at 9-3 in Big West play. On top of Pacific and Cal Sate Fullerton's showdown, the two teams chasing the front runners, Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara, will look horns this weekend as well as the pair enter with identical 8-4 records. With the top four teams facing off, this weekend's games will go a long way in helping to determine the 2011 Big West champions. Most interestingly for the conference, however, is the fact that the preseason polls had the four teams ranked fourth through seventh according to the coaches.
Entering the week the Tigers are the Big West's top hitting team as they have posted a .318 average at the plate, a number which ranks Pacific No. 22 in the country. Pacific's offense led the way to a three-game sweep of UC Riverside last weekend as the team is now 4-for-4 in conference series, winning two at home and two on the road. The Tigers boast three of the top-four hitters in the Big West and are led by freshman Kelsey Rodriguez who sports a .414 overall average, surpassed only in conference by her .471 average.
The Titans have been equally as impressive through the first four weeks of the season having won all four conference series on the year with a sweep against Cal Poly at home two weeks ago. Middle of the pack in both hitting and pitching throughout most of the season, the Titans have come on strong in conference play winning the close games that have helped them climb to the top of the pile.
Overall, the Tigers enter the weekend at 30-15 overall, one half game back of Long Beach State for the Big West's best overall record. Cal State Fullerton enters at 20-18 overall with a home record of 11-7. All-time, the Titans hold a 67-29 advantage over the Tigers including taking last season series, 2-1, at Bill Simoni Field.