Big West Play Continues For Softball At UC Riverside
Long Beach State will play their final six games of the regular season on the road.
Long Beach, Calif. -
• Long Beach State will play on the road for the rest of the year, starting with a three-game series this weekend at UC Riverside. The two teams will play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 6, and will then finish the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.
• Sophomore Nichole Fry has been the key hitter for Long Beach State. The shortstop has started 45 games and is hitting .271 while leading the team with a .421 slugging percentage and reaching at a .376 rate. Fry leads the team in doubles, triples, and HBP while walking 15 times, and has scored a team high 24 runs this season.
• Cielo Meza’s return to the circle has been a big part of Long Beach State’s conference turnaround. Starting with her return on March 28, Meza went 24.1 innings before allowing a run, and in 2017 has struck out 33 batters while posting a 4-2 record with a 1.07 ERA. With four innings pitched this weekend, Meza will join the league leaders on the season, and would rank second in ERA in the conference. Meza struck out 85 batters in 67.2 innings pitched before missing the second half of the 2016 season with injury, and her recovery stretched through the first 30 games of 2017.
• Long Beach State has gotten an lift from Iowa transfer Sammi Gyerman. The senior graduate transfer has played in all 46 games for Long Beach State, starting 45 and is hitting .306, best on the team. On the year, Gyerman leads the Beach in hits with 44 and is also tops on the basepaths with six stolen bases.
• Christina Clermont returns for her third season with Long Beach State after earning first-team All-Big West honors in each of her first two seasons at LBSU. The 2015 Big West Co-Pitcher of the Year, Clermont went 23-12 one season ago and struck out 205 batters in 230.1 innings pitched. In 2017, Clermont leads the team with 135.0 innings pitched, and has a 9-10 record with a 3.01 ERA and one save.
• Clermont is within striking distance of a number of career records as Long Beach State. The senior now ranks fourth place in career strikeouts at LBSU, and she now has 52 wins which ranks 9th in school history.
WHAT’S THE SCORE
• All games played at the LBSU Softball Complex can be followed through StatBroadcast at www.beachlivestats.com. Long Beach State will also have live radio at selected broadcasts through KBEACH.org.
• Rachel Loera has been a great surprise for Long Beach State this season. The junior had just 19 at-bats entering the season, but is now third on the team with a .283 batting average, having scored eight runs and hitting two triples in 19 starts on the year.
• What began as a quick start is turning into a tremendous season for Hannah Cookson. The junior cooled off after fast starts in her first two seasons at the Beach, but has been one of the best hitters on the team in 2017. Her .289 batting average is second on the team, and her slugging percentage of .370 is third.
• Jessica Flores had an outstanding series at Cal Poly, and was a big part in the series win. The junior college transfer lived up to her utility position designation, pitching 8.0 scoreless innings on the way to the win in game one, and then drove in the winning run in the 9th inning of game two. That strong play continued last week, as she hit .333 with two walks and a home run against UCSB, and continued to not have allowed an earned run in Big West play.
• Freshman Devyn Magnett has also been an important part of the pitching staff in 2017. Making three early relief appearances before making her first start against Utah, Magnett combined in a no-hitter on opening day with Clermont, and has now pitched 71.2 innings this year. She has made eight starts, and has posted a 4-6 record with a 4.30 ERA.
• Freshman Aniesa Maulupe has delivered at the plate in 2017, and is tied for the team lead with 16 RBI on the year. Walking nine times, Maulupe has driven in multiple RBI a team high four times this season, including four in Long Beach State’s win over Oregon State.
• Junior LT Torres has all but one game for the Beach over the last three seasons at second base, and is hitting .229 this season, but reaching at a .313 rate. Another junior, Lauren MacLeod, has stepped up in the absence of Lauren Lombardi, starting 41 games behind the plate and hitting .202 on the year. MacLeod had a great weekend in Santa Clara, hitting .462 including a grand slam against Grand Canyon, and now leads the team in walks with 16 this season.
• Julia Lombardi recently had an 11-game hitting streak, the longest of the year for the Beach. After a slow start, her batting average is now .244, and her seven doubles and 16 RBI are both among the team leaders.
• Both Lombardi sisters are climbing the power ranks at Long Beach State. Having each played two seasons, Lauren ranks seventh all-time with 17 home runs in her career, while Julia Lombardi joined the top 10 with a home run against UC Davis. Additionally, Lauren ranks 10th in LBSU history with 82 RBI in her career.
• Tierra Falo is tied for the team with three home runs this season after hitting solo shot against Grand Canyon in Santa Clara. Falo has driven in eight runs, and has walked 13 times, fourth most on the team.
• Mattie Scheele and Kelli Finan have split time at third base this season, with Scheele getting the majority of the starts. Scheele has twice driven in a crucial run, once with the game-winner against Indiana and then again vs. Northwestern, bringing home the first run of the game in a 2-1 extra inning victory.
THIS AND THAT
• The entire series against UC Santa Barbara was shown live on ESPN3, and the series finale between Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State was broadcast on ESPNU, giving the Beach four games in the regular season broadcast live.
• Twice named Big West Coach of the Year, Kim Sowder completed her 10th season in 2016 as head coach at Long Beach State, her Alma Mater, where she was an All-American shortstop. Sowder is now fifth place in career wins as a member of the Big West, and the 11th year coach now has 353 wins at the helm of the Beach.
• Once again Long Beach State will play one of the best schedules in the country. The 49ers played 11 teams ranked in the coaches’ preseason poll, and an additional six teams receiving votes in the same poll. The team will also play at home for a record 29 games, all at the LBSU Softball Complex.
• Among the games of note at home in 2017 were single game against #8 Washington on Valentine’s Day, Long Beach State’s annual tilt with #10 UCLA on March 11, and a three-way round-robin contest between Long Beach State, #5 Arizona and defending national champions #9 Oklahoma.
• That schedule paid dividends in strength of schedule and quality wins, and Long Beach State enters this week No. 73 in the RPI.
• Long Beach State continues to have continued historical success, and reached the 20-win mark for the 34th straight season.
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