49ers look to clinch Big West softball championship and NCAA Tournament berth against Pacific
May 9, 2012
TELEVISION: ESPN3 will broadcast both games of Friday's doubleheader. Josh Suchon handles play-by-play duties.
49ERS NEED TWO WINS OR A WIN AND A UCSB LOSS TO CLINCH BIG WEST TITLE: Long Beach State has the inside track at winning its first Big West title since 2008 heading into the season's final three games. The 49ers, who lead Pacific, UC Davis, and UC Santa Barbara by two games, need to win two games this weekend to wrap up the league title. They can also win the championship with one win and a UC Santa Barbara loss since LBSU owns the tiebreaker with UC Davis.
49ERS HOST PACIFIC WITH BOTH TEAMS EYEING LEAGUE TITLE: Long Beach State heads into the final series of the Big West Conference season with a two-game lead over Pacific, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara. Any of the three teams can still win the title and claim the Big West Conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. UC Davis plays a three-game series at Cal State Fullerton on Friday and Saturday, while UC Santa Barbara visits Cal State Northridge.
Long Beach State takes a pitching advantage into the weekend behind the arms of senior Taylor Petty and sophomore Erin Jones-Wesley. The 49ers have a 2.49 team ERA on the season with Petty boasting a 0.99 ERA and Jones-Wesley following close behind with a 2.02 ERA. In league games, the two have combined for a team ERA of 1.04 with Petty putting up a 0.99 ERA and Jones-Wesley a 1.09 ERA. The Tigers have a 2.84 ERA on the season and a 2.77 ERA in league games.
Offensively, LBSU is hitting .276 for the season and .295 in Big West Conference games. UOP counters with a .311 season batting average, including an impressive .344 in league games. Hannah De Gaetano leads LBSU in hitting with a .333 average, while Cya Neal is batting .329. Bree Stephan leads the team in league games with a .440 average, while Karli Sandoval is hitting .400 in Big West play. De Gaetano (.349), Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi (.320), Neal (.306), Shayna Kimbrough (.305) and Megan Denio (.300) are all hitting over .300 in league action.
PETTY NAMED BIG WEST PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Senior Taylor Petty won her second career Big West Pitcher of the Week honor Monday after picking up a pair of wins at Cal State Fullerton last weekend. Petty went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 10 innings holding the Titans to three hits in a 5-1 win on Saturday and an infield hit in a 11-0 (5 ) win on Sunday. She matched a season high with nine strikeouts in Saturday's win and finished the week with 14 strikeouts and just two walks.
JONES-WESLEY NAMED BIG WEST CONFERENCE PITCHER OF THE WEEK FOUR TIMES THIS SEASON, 10 TIMES DURING CAREER: Sophomore Erin Jones-Wesley has been named the Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week four times this season, including last week, running her career total to 10 weekly awards. Jones-Wesley claimed the latest honor after throwing a pair of complete game two-hit shutouts against UC Riverside. The 49er sophomore beat UCR 1-0 and 6-0. Earlier this season, she claimed back-to-back awards on Feb. 13 and Feb. 20 before winning the award for a third time on March 19. The reigning Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year claimed six weekly honors in 14 weeks last season. She heads into this weekend's series against Pacific with 18 wins and a 2.02 ERA.
SANDOVAL AND STEPHAN LEADING 49ERS IN HITTING IN BIG WEST PLAY: Karli Sandoval and Bree Stephan have given Long Beach State a boost in conference play with improved hitting. Stephan leads LBSU in league games with a .440 average, while also boasting a .520 slugging percentage and a .533 on-base percentage. Sandoval is batting .400 with a team-best six doubles and a .600 slugging percentage. Stephan and Sandoval struggled with injuries during the non-conference portion of the season, with Sandoval hitting .237 in just 38 at bats and Stephan batting .190 in just 21 at bats.
DE GAETANO AND NEAL LEAD LBSU IN HITTING; BOTH RANK AMONG BIG WEST LEADERS: Hannah De Gaetano and Cya Neal lead LBSU in hitting with a .333 average and a .329 average respectively. De Gaetano is fourth in the Big West Conference, while also ranking among the league leaders in slugging percentage (7th), hits (5th), RBI (9th), doubles (5th) and home runs (9th).
Neal, a junior college transfer, heads into the Pacific series 48-for-146 with 19 runs scored. She ranks sixth in the Big West in batting average, while sitting seventh in hits and fifth in triples. Neal started her Long Beach State career with a four-game hitting streak in the Las Vegas Tournament, including a pair of two-hit games in her first two games. Overall she has 13 multi-hit games including three 3-hit games against Maine, Nevada and Cal State Northridge.
DE GAETANO AND TUPUA-TAUTALATASI WIN BIG WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARDS: Sophomore Hannah De Gaetano and freshman Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi have both been named Big West Conference Players of the Week this season.
Tupua-Taulatasi won the award after her first five career games during which she batted .368 with a home run and two RBI, while finishing with a .632 slugging percentage. She went 7-for-19 at the plate with a home run, a triple, and two RBI.
De Gaetano claimed the honor after batting .500 with two home runs and five RBI at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas during the season's second weekend. The sophomore had multiple hits in three of LBSU's games in the tournament including three vs. Indiana and two against both Texas Tech and Memphis. She also had a pair of RBI against both Indiana and Ohio State.
KIMBROUGH AMONG NATIONS TOUGHEST TO STRIKE OUT: Freshman Shayna Kimbrough ranks 31st in the nation as the toughest hitter to strike out. She fans only once every 22.1 at bats, striking out just seven times (1 in Big West play) this season. Kimbrough has started all 48 games and is hitting .284 with nine RBI and six stolen bases.