Cal State Fullerton at CSUN
Dates: Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7
Times: 1 p.m. / 3 p.m. and 1 p.m.
Location: Northridge, Calif.
Venue: Matador Diamond
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Series Record: Cal State Fullerton leads 69-37-1
A LOOK AT THE WEEK
Cal State Fullerton heads to Northridge, Calif., to take on CSUN in a three-game series beginning Friday, May 6 at 1 p.m. Game two will take place Friday at approximately 3 p.m. and the series will conclude Saturday, May 7 at 1 p.m.
The pivotal series gives the Titans a chance to clinch the 2016 Big West Conference Championship - their first league title since 2006. If Cal State Fullerton wins two out of the three games agaisnt CSUN this weekend, the Titans will punch their ticket to the NCAA Regionals with an automatic bid.
FOLLOW THE TITANS
Fans can keep up with the latest in Cal State Fullerton athletics by following us on Facebook (FullertonTitans), Twitter (@FullertonTitans) and Instagram (FullertonTitans). In addition, the softball team has established its own official Facebook (csufsoftball), Twitter (@CSUFSoftball) and Instagram (csufsoftball) accounts.
KEEP UP WITH TITAN SOFTBALL
Live stats will be provided for all games this week. To access live stats for the games, log onto www.FullertonTitans.com and go to the softball schedule, then click live stats.
WATCH THE TITANS
Cal State Fullerton home softball contests will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. The Titans also offer live streaming video for home softball contests over the Internet courtesy of Big West.TV. Fans can catch all the exclusive action from the comfort of their home computers. To access the links, click on the audio or live video link on the schedule page.
TITANS VS. MATADORS
The Titans and the Matadors have met 107 times in program history and Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series 69-37-1. Last year, the Titans took two out of three games against CSUN to end the season. When playing in Northridge, Cal State Fullerton leads the series 26-16-1.
LAST TIME OUT
Junior Alexis Gonzalez belted her eighth home run of the season in the bottom of the first, but the Cal State Fullerton softball team could not overcome a five-run fifth inning by Long Beach State as it dropped an 8-4 contest to the 49ers Friday night.
With the loss, the Titans fall to 39-12 overall and 13-2 in the Big West Conference, while the 49ers improve to 28-18 on the year and 8-7 in league action.
Titans jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to a two-run home run off the bat of Alexis Gonzalez in the bottom of the first. With Missy Taukeiaho on second after drawing a one-out walk and stealing second, Gonzalez belted her eighth home run of the season to put Cal State Fullerton up 2-0 on Long Beach State.
The 49ers cut the Titans' lead in half in the top of the third when Tierra Falo led off the frame with a single through the right side and later came around to score on a fielder's choice by LT Torres to make it a 2-1 game in favor of Cal State Fullerton.
Cal State Fullerton starter Desiree Ybarra did a good job in the circle as she allowed two runs on as many hits in 4.0+ innings of work. However, the senior lefty was pulled in the top of the fifth after issuing a leadoff walk to Tierra Falo.
With Cerissa Rivera on in relief, the 49ers scored five runs in the top of the fifth to take a 6-2 advantage over Cal State Fullerton.
During the fifth, Long Beach State sent eight batters to the plate and LT Torres roped a two-run single to left to give the 49ers a 3-2 edge. The 49ers added two more runs on a triple by Darian Tautalafua as they went up 5-2. Julia Lombardi's sac fly scored the final run of the frame as the 49ers were now leading 6-2.
Long Beach State tacked on two more runs in the top of the sixth to extend their lead over the Titans to six and make it an 8-2 ballgame before Christina Washington came on in relief of Rivera.
Down by six, The Titans' started putting together a rally in the bottom of the sixth as Courtney Rodriguez punched a one-out single to leftfield before moving to third on a single to right by Kylie Padilla. Pinch hitter Mikaela Francis drew a walk to load the bases and Raeanne Martinez came in to run at first.
With two outs, Delynn Rippy sent a single to the right-centerfield gap plating Rodriguez and Padilla to cut the 49ers' lead in half. However the Titans' rally was cut short when Martinez was thrown out on the base paths to end the inning.
Long Beach State pitcher Christina Clermont (18-8) earned the win after retiring the Titans in order in the bottom of the seventh. She pitched all 7.0 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits, while walking three and fanning three.
Rivera (4-2) suffered the loss after she allowed six runs on three hits. She issued three walks and recorded one strikeout.
Gonzalez went 1-for-4 in the game with a run scored and two RBIs, while Padilla was 2-for-3 with a run and Rippy was 2-for-3 with two runs batted in.
Prior to the series against Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton had won 13 straight games and had not lost a game in the month of April.
IN THE POLLS
Cal State Fullerton worked its way into the Top 25 in the USA Today/NFCA Softball Poll for the week of April 26. Although they dropped out of the poll this week, the appearance marked the second ranking for the Titans in as many seasons which was the first time Cal State Fullerton received a top 25 mark in back-to-back seasons since 2008 and 2009.
In addition to jumping into the Top 25 rankings this week, Cal State Fullerton softball is ranked 30 in RPI. The Titans have the strongest RPI in the Big West Conference, while Long Beach State is second in the league with an RPI of 38.
Cal State Fullerton pushed its winning streak up to 13 straight games marking the longest winning streak for a Titans' softball program since 2002 when they won an impressive 32 games in a row from March 1 - April 20. That streak is the second-longest in program history coming in just behind the program-record 35 game winning streak set in 1987.
The Titans opened Big West Conference play with a 12-0 record marking their best start to league action since 2002 when Cal State Fullerton started league action with a 13-0 ledger. In that year, the Titans finished the season with a 22-2 Big West Conference record and made an appearance in the NCAA Regionals.
CLOSING IN ON 40
Cal State Fullerton brings a 39-12 overall record into the series at CSUN. The Titans are just one win away from reaching the 40-win plateau - a mark Fullerton has not attained since the 2003 season in which the Titans finished with a 41-15 record and hosted the NCAA Regionals.
Heading into their final road series of the regular season, the Titans boast a perfect 9-0 record when playing on the road. Going up against CSUN in Northridge, Calif., this weekend, Cal State Fullerton looks to make its record 12-0.
Cal State Fullerton has posted a 39-12 record with a winning percentage of .765 which ranks 17th nationally in win-loss percentage. However, the Titans' wins are not the only category making the top 25 in the NCAA. As a team, Fullerton's pitching staff has posted a 2.23 ERA which leads the Big West Conference and ranks 19th nationally.
Individually, the Titans have a pair of players whose stats also rank in the nation's top 25. Senior third baseman Missy Taukeiaho ranks seventh in the nation in doubles per game (.041), while junior rightfielder Delynn Rippy ranks 13th nationally in triples (5).
100 AND COUNTING
Head coach Kelly Ford recorded her 100th win at the helm of the Cal State Fullerton softball program against Santa Clara on Feb. 19. Ford now owns 134 victories and looks to finish off the weekend with 137.
WALK THIS WAY
Missy Taukeiaho is leading the Titans in walks this season as she has drawn 36 bases on balls which lead both Cal State Fullerton and the Big West Conference. She has accounted for more than 20 percent of the Titans' walks this season as the sqaud has drawn 161 total walks, which also leads the league.
GOOD AS GOLD
Freshman right-hander Sydney Golden boasts an 16-4 record on the year to rank fourth in the Big West in wins. She has pitched seven complete games and two shutouts in 25 appearances. The Riverside, Calif., native owns a team-best 1.74 ERA, which is good for second in the conference.
In 15 conference games thus far, Golden has made nine appearances and is 6-1 with a 0.67 ERA. She has notched three complete games and one shutout while striking out 20 batters over 42.0 innings of work and allowing just four earned runs.
Desiree Ybarra has set the tone in the circle for the Titans' pitching staff as the senior left-hander owns a 1.82 ERA in 32 appearances with 21 starts. The Riverside, Calif., native has collected 13 wins, 11 complete games, four shutouts, one save and 121 strike outs this season. Additionally, she has allowed just 54 walks and 116 hits in 134.1 innings of work.
Ybarra is third in the Big West in ERA (1.82) and third in opponent batting average (.230).
During conference action, Ybarra has seen 11 appearances and has posted a 6-0 record with a 1.56 ERA. She has fanned 45 batters over 45.0 innings pitched.
Cal State Fullerton has a trio of runners who have been hot on the base paths and posting double figures in stolen bases. Ariana Williams leads the squad with 20 stolen bases in 22 attempts and Courtney Rodriguez is second on the team with 14 steals in 18 attempts. Following close behind is Delynn Rippy with 13 steals on 15 attempts. The trio account for 47 of the Titans' 79 stolen bases.
FINALIST FOR FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) announced the top 25 finalists for the Schutt Sports / NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award and Cal State Fullerton freshman right-handed pitcher Sydney Golden was among those selected.
Golden has put together a stellar rookie season in the circle thus far as she boasts a 1.74 ERA and a 16-4 record. Her 16 wins lead the team and are good for fourth in the Big West Conference.
The Riverside, Calif., native has recorded 68 strikeouts and seven complete games in 108.1 innings of work. She has also allowed just 106 hits, 20 walks and 41 runs (27 of which were earned).
In conference action, Golden is an impressive 6-1 with a 0.67 ERA as she helped the league-leading Titans to a 12-0 Big West Conference ledger. In her nine conference appearances, she has logged 20 strikeouts and three complete games in 42.0 innings pitched.
This year's 25 finalists hail from 22 different universities, while the group represents 12 Division I leagues from across the nation.
On Thursday, May 12, the list will be trimmed down to the top 10 finalists, while the top three finalists will be selected and released on Wednesday, May 25.
The Schutt / NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year trophy will be presented during a live ceremony on Tuesday, May 31 prior to the opening of the annual Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
The Titans not only lead the Big West Conference in doubles with 79, they also own the top three individual spots in the doubles category. Missy Taukeiaho leads the league with 21 doubles, while Melissa Sechrest and Sarah Moore are tied for second in the conference with 13 doubles each. The trio have combined for 47 doubles on the year which is more than UC Davis (38) has as a team and just one less than Hawai'i (48) has tallied.
THE POINT OF NO RETURN
After 51 games played, Cal State Fullerton is undefeated when leading after the fifth inning. The Titans have won 29 of their 39 victories holding onto a lead after the fifth inning.
In addition to leading the conference in the Big West standings with 13-2 record, the Titans have done a solid job offensively this season as they are leading the Big West Conference in 12 offensive categories. Cal State Fullerton sits atop the league in batting average (.307), slugging percentage (.440), on-base percentage (.387), runs scored (272), hits (412), RBIs (227), doubles (79), triples (12), total bases (590), total plate appearances (1583), walks (161) and sacrifice flies (16).
IN THE CIRCLE
The Titans have also seen strong pitching this season as well. CSF leads the Big West with a 2.23 ERA which is also 19th in the nation. Additionally, Fullerton leads the conference in opponent batting average (.240), wins (39), fewest runs allowed (134) and fewest earned runs allowed (109).
HOME RUN TERRITORY
The Titans have launched 25 long balls on the year and 16 of them have come from the bat of Missy Taukeiaho and Alexis Gonzalez. The duo have each belted eight home runs apiece. Melissa Sechrest has belted four, while Sarah Moore has recorded two. Delynn Rippy, Desiree Ybarra and Shianne Brannan have each recorded one apiece.
During the month of March, Cal State Fullerton boasted a record of 16-4 which is an .800 winning percentage. Three of the Titans' four losses came to nationally-ranked opponents.
While posting an .800 winning percentage in the month of March was impressive, the Titans have done even better in April as they posted a 13-2 record for a winning percentage of .867.
THE EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM
Cal State Fullerton has made the most of scoring early in games. When the Titans score first, they are 34-3 on the year. Additionally, Fullerton is 21-2 when it scores in the first inning.
CSF has scored the majority of its runs in the first this season, plating 64 in the opening frame, while limiting their opponents to just 16.
RETURN OF THE ALL-AMERICAN
Three-time All-American Missy Taukeiaho was selected as one of 50 student-athletes on the "Watch List" for the 2016 USA Collegiate Softball Player of the Year award. The is the second straight year she has been selected to the "Watch List."
This season the senior third baseman leads the team with a .371 batting average and has scored 46 runs, drove in 34, roped 21 doubles, ripped one triple and belted eight homers, while drawing 36 walks on the season. She also leads the team with a .699 slugging percentage and a .505 on-base percentage. Her 21 doubles and 36 walks lead both Cal State Fullerton and the Big West Conference.
Her offense has picked up even more in conference action as she is batting .368 with 19 runs scored, 17 runs batted in, six doubles four home runs and 32 total bases. In Big West play, she has posted a conference-leading .842 slugging percentage and a .556 on-base percentage. Additionally, she has drawn 14 walks and is 4-for-4 in stolen bases.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
The Titans have had their most success when playing on Sunday as the squad is undefeated when playing on that day of the week. Cal State Fullerton owns a 9-0 record when taking the field on a Sunday.
GET 'EM ON, GET 'EM OVER, GET 'EM IN
The Titans are hitting .513 (432-for-842) when successfully advancing runners on the base paths. Leading the way offensively in this situation is Delynn Rippy who is 49-for-76 (.645).
Additionally Cal State Fullerton is batting .483 (73-for-151) with a runner at third with less than two outs. Alexis Gonzalez has been most effective in this situation as she boasts a .667 batting average (8-for-12) with a runner at third and less than two outs.
DOUBLE DOUBLE TOIL AND TROUBLE
Missy Taukeiaho leads both Cal State Fullerton and the Big West Conference with 21 doubles on the year. Taukeiaho roped three doubles in one game earlier this season against UT-San Antonio in the season opener on Feb. 12. As a team, the Titans have recorded 79 doubles which leads the Big West Conference.
Cal State Fullerton ranks in the top two in each statistical category in the Big West Conference (pitching, hitting and fielding). The Titans lead the league in earned run average (2.23) and batting average (.307). Additionally, CSF is second in fielding percentage with a .968 mark.
This season, the Titans are undefeated in several situations. The breakdown is as follows:
In road games (9-0)
In two-run games (8-0)
In shutouts (12-0)
When scoring 10+ runs (3-0)
When leading after the fifth inning (29-0)
When hitting 2+ HRs in a game (4-0)
When playing on Sunday (9-0)
This season four Titans lead the Big West Conference in seven different statistical categories. Missy Taukeiaho leads the way as the leader in runs scored (46), doubles (21) and walks (36). Additionally Delynn Rippy leads the league in triples with five, while Alexis Gonzalez tops the league in sac flies with three, and Samantha Vandiver is first in total plate appearances (188) and at-bats (170).
Since Big West Conference action started in March, the Titans have dominated the league posting a 13-2 conference record.
The Titans' success comes from both a powerful offense and strong pitching as Cal State Fullerton's offense leads the league with a .314 batting average, while the Titans' pitching staff is second with an ERA of 1.87.
This season, Cal State Fullerton has had a pitcher or player earn Big West Conference Player of the Week honors on six occasions.
Senior left-handed pitcher Desiree Ybarra is the only Titan to earn the honors multiple times this season as she was named Pitcher of the Week for the week of March 14 and again the week of March 28.
During the year, the Titans have swept the honors twice as Ybarra and junior catcher Alexis Gonzalez were named Pitcher and Player of the Week, respectively, the week of March 28. Then four weeks later junior rightfielder Delynn Rippy and freshman right-handed pitcher Sydney Golden collected the honors the week of April 25.
Rounding out the Titans' Player of the Week honors is senior third baseman Missy Taukeiaho who was earnded the award the week of April 4.
The Titans have a pair of Ybarra's on the team in senior left-handed pitcher Desiree Ybarra and sophomore infielder Bryanna Ybarra. Desiree sports jersey No. 15, while Bryanna wears No. 16. With the same last name and consecutive jersey numbers, you'd think the pair are sisters - they're not.
Cal State Fullerton closes out the regular season with a three-game series at Anderson Family Field against UC Santa Barbara beginning Friday, May 14 and concluding Saturday, May 15.
The Titans and the Gauchos kick off the series Friday night at 6 p.m. and wrap things up with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 2 p.m.