49ers open with Syracuse Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the Tempe Regional of the NCAA Softball Tournament
LBSU making second straight appearance in NCAA Tournament and third in four years
May 16, 2012
49ERS HEAD TO TEMPE FOR SECOND STRAIGHT SEASON FOR NCAA REGIONAL TOURNAMENT: Long Beach State will face Syracuse in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at the Tempe Regional on Friday at 3:30 p.m. on the campus of Arizona State. The 49ers are a part of the Tempe Regional for the second straight year. Last season, the 49ers won their opening game against San Diego State before losing to eventual National Champion Arizona State and to San Diego State in extra innings in a rematch of the opening game. LBSU is making its 21st appearance in the NCAA Regionals, including its fourth in the six-year Kim Sowder era. The 49ers last won a regional in 1993 when they advanced to their fifth College World Series in eight years with a win over Cal.
49ERS PLACE EIGHT ON BIG WEST ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS: Long Beach State placed eight players on the Big West All-Conference Team, including three first-team members. Pitchers Taylor Petty and Erin Jones-Wesley and second baseman Cya Neal earned first-team honors, while third baseman Hannah De Gaetano, centerfielder Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi, and utility/designated player Karli Sandoval were named second-team all-conference. Shortstop Shayna Kimbrough and outfielder Megan Denio claimed honorable mention All-Big West accolades.
The Big West Conference champion 49ers were shut out of the six major awards, just the third time in the history, and the first in 16 years, of the league that the conference champion hasn't earned one of the awards which are voted on by the league's coaches. Long Beach State was shut out of the awards after winning the league title in 1995, while Fresno State didn't win any postseason awards after claming the championship in 1992.
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, running her career total to 10 weekly awards. Jones-Wesley claimed her 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 two-time first-team All-Big West Conference Pitcher claimed six weekly honors in 14 weeks last season. She heads into this weekend's Tempe Regional with 20-12 record and a 1.97 ERA.
PETTY NAMED BIG WEST PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Senior Taylor Petty won her second career Big West Pitcher of the Week honor after the Cal State Fullerton series on May 5-6. She picked up a pair of wins over the Titans. Petty went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 10 innings holding CSF 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.
SANDOVAL AND STEPHAN HIT OVER .400 IN BIG WEST PLAY: Karli Sandoval and Bree Stephan gave Long Beach State a boost in conference play with improved hitting. Stephan led LBSU in league games with a .424 average, while also boasting a .485 slugging percentage and a .513 on-base percentage. Sandoval batted .408 with a team-best seven doubles and a .592 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 LEADS LBSU IN HITTING; NEAL ONE OF FOUR 49ERS HITTING OVER .300: Hannah De Gaetano and Cya Neal have led LBSU in hitting most of the season, and have recently been joined by Karli Sandoval and Bree Stephan. De Gaetano leads the team with a .337 average, while Neal is fourth with a .327 average. De Gaetano is third in the Big West Conference, while also ranking among the league leaders in slugging percentage (8th), hits (4th), RBI (7th), doubles (3rd) and home runs (9th).
Neal, a junior college transfer, heads into the Tempe Regional 51-for-156 with 22 runs scored. She ranks seventh in the Big West in batting average, while sitting eighth 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 14 multi-hit games including three 3-hit games against Maine, Nevada and Cal State Northridge.
CARRASCO, DE GAETANO AND TUPUA-TAUTALATASI WIN BIG WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARDS: Sophomores Sarah Carrasco and Hannah De Gaetano, and freshman Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi have 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.
Carrasco picked up the award this week after leading the 49ers to a clutch win in the season finale against Pacific. She went 2-for-2 with a three-run home run and two runs scored in a must-win game for the 49ers to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
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.
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