After going 3-3 in Big West play so far, Long Beach State softball prepares for a crucial series this upcoming weekend. The 49ers (16-19, 3-3 Big West) will take on rivals Cal State Fullerton (25-14, 5-1 Big West) in a 1 p.m. double header Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday in the first Big West matches at home.
Long Beach accumulated two wins in the series against UC Riverside and mustered up a 5-2 win in its Hawai’i series. All three wins were credited to junior pitcher Kellie White, who recently shut out UC Riverside 7-0 in the 49ers last match on Sunday.
“In Big West play Kellie White has really done a great job in the circle,” head coach Kim Sowder said. “She’s competed in every game. She’s definitely done a great job.”
Senior utility Jamie Wren continues to lead the team offensively with a batting average of .424, and has the fifth highest average in the Big West.
Fullerton has a strong presence in the Big West Standings, currently holding first place along with Hawai’i, almost mirroring how it ended the 2018 season.
“It is our rivalry game and they are on top right now. We know that this is a very big weekend and these are very important games and we need to come out and play good softball,” Sowder said.
Fullerton swept its series against UC Santa Barbara, and won two out of the three games against Northridge.
Each win was aided by the team’s strong offensive abilities with freshman utility Alexa Neil leading the pack with a batting average of .368 and 32 runs scored. Senior outfielder Ari Williams follows close behind with an average of .345, collecting 29 RBIs and putting up four triples and five home runs.
A force to be reckoned with in the circle for the Titans is pitcher Dani Martinez. The freshman has an ERA of 2.29 and has earned 96 strikeouts, five of which were in the 9-1 mercy rule win over Northridge. Junior pitcher Sophie Frost has also put on quite a show on the mound with an era of 2.39 and 73 strikeouts.
“With the rivalry between us, they’re going to turn [the intensity] up for us and I think we are definitely going to turn [the intensity] up for them,” White said. “It’s going to be a good weekend.”