Some badly needed improvements at the Cal State Fullerton baseball stadium are underway.
Construction started on restrooms there this week, and Athletic Director John Easterbrook said they should be ready for the start of the season.
"We're excited about getting that project going," Easterbrook said. "We think it definitely will help our season ticket sales, as well as attendance in general."
The baseball field was part of the Titan sports complex project completed in 1992. Because the cost of the project grew considerably from original estimates, construction of the baseball pavilion, which was to include restrooms along with a press box and permanent concession stands, was delayed. Portable restrooms have been used since the stadium was built.
Easterbrook said the restrooms will cost about $200,000. The money has been raised over the last two years, he said. Easterbrook said a couple of options are being considered for building a press box, also in time for the start of the season.
"It's something we're still working on," Easterbrook said. "But we anticipate having something ready. It will be fine until a more permanent structure can be built."
Fullerton will play host to the 1996 Big West Conference postseason tournament.
The baseball team is in the second and final week of fall practice, and the coaches have had some mixed feelings so far.
The big question after winning the College World Series is the pitching staff, but Coach Augie Garrido and associate head coach George Horton already have seen favorable signs.
"We feel there's enough there to develop a good staff," said Horton, who handles the pitchers. "And we've been pleasantly surprised by the arm strength of some of the new players. That arm strength may be as good as we've had, but, of course, there's a lot more to pitching than just that. We have a lot of guys throwing in the 88 and 89 mile-per-hour range."
Two newcomers, junior Dustin Spencer and freshman Steve Lawson, have been early surprises. "They both have fine arms," Horton said. "We didn't know as much about them as some of the others." Spencer is a transfer from Cuesta College and Lawson is from La Verne Damien High.
Garrido said the team's conditioning isn't as good as he would like.
"It's clear that some of the distractions of getting started in a new school year and the visit to the White House have had an effect on conditioning," Garrido said. "That means that conditioning is going to be a critical thing before we go back to practice again in January. It's something we have to be aware of and deal with since we're not at the level we need to be."
The Titans will have intrasquad games open to the public Thursday and Friday at 4:15 p.m., and Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
The women's soccer program is off to its best start in its three years of existence.
The Titans are 7-1 after victories over USC and San Diego State last week. They play UCLA (7-1-2) at 7 tonight at home.
"The women's team is definitely much better than a year ago," Coach Al Mistri said.
Mistri points to improved offense and better goalkeeping as key factors. Junior Suzy Strazzulla has moved into goal this season and has made a difference, giving up only 11 goals in eight games. "She's done a remarkable job, and has had some spectacular saves," Mistri said.
Freshman Dolores Browning has been the difference offensively. She has 11 goals, including two three-goal games. Junior Amber Dickey has eight goals.
The men's team is 6-4, but has lost four games by a total of four goals, two of them in overtime.
"We've given up 30 goals in 10 games and that hasn't helped," Mistri said.
The absence of top defender Demian Brown, who has been out all season, has been a factor. Brown re-injured the knee that was hurt last year three days into fall practice and now appears out for the season. Brown is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery today.
"Not only is he a good player, but his experience would have helped the younger players," Mistri said.
The fact that seven players are in their first year of Division I competition also has been a factor, Mistri said. He remains hopeful the Titans can be more successful in the second half of the season. Fullerton meets UC Santa Barbara Friday and Cal State Northridge Sunday. Both games are in Titan Stadium.
The Titans had the third highest grade-point average among women's gymnastics teams with a 3.488 grade-point average for the past academic year. Nebraska was first and Southern Utah second. . . . Softball Coach Judi Garman was chosen to receive a 1995 Women of Excellence Award for Orange County at a luncheon Nov. 2. She is one of eight women selected and the only sports figure honored this year by Learning for Life, a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts. Garman's team won an NCAA regional championship and competed in the Women's College World Series last spring.