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SOFTBALL / NCAA REGIONALS : Titans Are Seeded 15th; to Open at No. 1 UCLA


FULLERTON — The news came to Cal State Fullerton softball Coach Judi Garman in a conference call on Sunday, and she has certainly had better phone messages:

The Titans (37-19), seeded 15th, will open NCAA regional play this weekend at top-seeded UCLA (44-3), a team that is the defending NCAA champion and has won seven championships overall, including five of the past six.

It is a two-team, double-elimination regional, the winner advancing to the College Softball World Series, May 27-31 in Oklahoma City. The Fullerton-UCLA games will probably be on Friday and Saturday, a UCLA spokeswoman said, but a final decision will be made this morning.

"It's going to be tough, but we're certainly not conceding anything," Garman said. "They've lost three games this year, one to Cal Poly Pomona, and we beat Cal Poly Pomona twice.

"It's who plays best on a given day."

Fullerton had put in a bid to host a regional, but the NCAA awarded the regionals based on seeding, and Fullerton's was too low.

"Why more attention isn't paid to head-to-head competition and play in the last half of the season, that's one of the concerns a lot of us have had," Garman said. "We're seeded 15th, yet we won our conference and have won 23 of our past 26 games, including sweeping (Nevada Las Vegas)."

Garman said she figured that if Fullerton was able to be a host team, it might help more western teams get to the World Series.

"We were hoping to host because (thinking) they might bring other teams in and not have the Southern California championships over and over and over," Garman said. "We all beat each other up out here to move on."

And if Fullerton is to move on, that's the way it will have to be again.

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