Cal State Fullerton vs. No. 20 Fresno State
Date: Friday, May 20
Time: 3 p.m.
Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
Venue: Easton Stadium
Live Stats: UCLABruins.com
Series Record: Fresno State leads 39-33
A LOOK AT THE WEEK
Cal State Fullerton makes its 26th NCAA Regional appearance on Friday, May 20 when it takes on No. 20 Fresno State at 3 p.m., at the Los Angeles Regional.
The Titans and the Bulldogs will compete in the Regional along with CSU Bakersfield and host, No. 14 UCLA. The Los Angeles Regional is being played at Easton Stadium with games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME
Tickets for the NCAA Los Angeles Regional are currently on sale through Ticketmaster. All-session passes are $33 for adults and $22 for students and youth (ages 3-16). Single-day tickets will be available on the day of the game at the Easton Stadium ticket office. Single-day tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and youth.
For additional ticket information for the Los Angeles Regional, please click HERE.
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. BULLDOGS
The Titans and the Bulldogs have met 72 times in program history and Fresno State holds the edge in the all-time series with a record of 39-33. Earlier this season, Cal State Fullerton and then-No. 23 Fresno State met at Anderson Family Field and the Titans shut out the Bulldogs 5-0.
BIG WEST CONFERENCE CHAMPS
The Titans' series win over CSUN clinched the Big West regular season crown for the club as well as an automatic NCAA Tournament berth. The league championship is the first for Cal State Fullerton since 2006, while the postseason appearance is the first for the program since 2009.
LAST TIME OUT
The Titans sent senior right-hander Jasmine Antunez to the circle for the start in the nightcap against UC Santa Barbara. She was effective through 3.0 innings of work as allowed just one run in the top of the first before keeping the Gauchos off the board for the remainder of her outing.
Down 1-0 early, the Titans fought back in the bottom of the first and evened the score as they took advantage of a UCSB error as Rippy scored from second base.
The Titans had their biggest inning of the game in the second as they scored four runs in the frame to take a 5-1 lead over the Gauchos.
Senior designated player Sarah Moore legged out an infield single to get things going and came around to score the go-ahead run on a throwing error. Shianne Brannan and Delynn Rippy reached on a single and a fielder's choice and with two outs, senior third baseman Missy Taukeiaho ripped her ninth home run of the season to left-center – a three-run bomb – to give Cal State Fullerton a 5-1 advantage.
The Titans added another run in the third on a solo shot by Sechrest to extend their lead to five (6-1).
After 3.0 innings of work, Antunez made way for Christina Washington (3-0) who pitched 2.0 innings. She did not allow a run and UCSB connected for just one hit against her as she went on to collect her third win of the season.
Cerissa Rivera closed out the game as she pitched the final 2.0 innings and did not allow a run or a hit. She fanned three batters and did not issue a walk.
The Gauchos went through three pitchers in Ashley Wright, Veronika Gulvin and Ashley Ludlow. Gulvin (8-12) suffered the loss after allowing five runs on four hits in 2.0 innings.
Ludlow pitched the final 4.0 innings of the game and allowed just one run, which came in the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Rippy and Alexis Gonzalez to give the Titans a 7-1 lead.
The Titans out-hit the Gauchos 9-3 in the game as almost every starter recorded a base hit. Rippy was 2-for-4 with three runs scored, while Taukeiaho was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run.
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 the following 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.
Cal State Fullerton softball is ranked 29 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 37.
Earlier this season, Cal State Fullerton pushed its winning streak 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.
HOT CONFERENCE START
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 conference play with a 13-0 ledger. In that year, the Titans finished the season with a 22-2 Big West Conference record and an overall mark of 53-13 en route to making an appearance in the NCAA Regionals.
With a series win against UC Santa Barbara over the weekend, Cal State Fullerton concluded the regular season with a 43-14 record. The Titans reached the 40-win plateau for the first time since the 2003 season in which the Titans finished with a 41-15 overall record and hosted the NCAA Regionals.
ONWARD TO VICOTRY
Head coach Kelly Ford recorded her 100th victory at the helm of the Cal State Fullerton softball program against Santa Clara on Feb. 19. Ford now owns 138 wins at Cal State Fullerton and is just seven shy of the 600 win plateau with 593 for her career.
Cal State Fullerton has posted a 43-14 record with a winning percentage of .754 which ranks 20th 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 2.17 ERA which leads the Big West Conference and ranks 18th 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 10th in the nation in doubles per game (.039), while junior rightfielder Delynn Rippy ranks 15th nationally in triples (5) and freshman Sydney Golden ranks 24th in walks allowed per seven innings (1.17).
BIG WEST AWARDS
Heading into its first NCAA Regional appearance since 2009, the Cal State Fullerton softball team was awarded four of the six major Big West Conference awards as the Titans dominated the yearly all-conference honors.
Seniors Missy Taukeiaho and Desiree Ybarra took home Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, while Sydney Golden was named Freshman Pitcher of the Year and head coach Kelly Ford took home Coach of the Year accolades.
In addition to claiming two-thirds of the major awards, the Titans also had five Big West First Team selections in Golden, Taukeiaho, Ybarra, Alexis Gonzalez and Delynn Rippy.
Cal State Fullerton also garnered three second team selections in Kylie Padilla, Courtney Rodriguez and Melissa Sechrest, while Samantha Vandiver earned honorable mention and Golden also found her way onto the All-Freshman Team.
The Titans not only lead the Big West Conference in doubles with 88, they also own the top three individual spots in the doubles category. Missy Taukeiaho leads the league with 22 doubles, while Melissa Sechrest comes in second with 14 and Sarah Moore is tied for third in the conference with 13 doubles. The trio have combined for 49 doubles on the year which is more than UC Davis (41) has as a team and just two less than Hawai'i (51) has tallied.
WALK THIS WAY
Missy Taukeiaho is leading the Titans in walks this season as she has drawn 38 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 171 total walks, which also leads the league.
GOOD AS GOLD
Freshman right-hander Sydney Golden boasts an 17-5 record on the year to rank fourth in the Big West in wins. She has pitched nine complete games and two shutouts in 28 appearances. The Riverside, Calif., native owns a team-best 1.79 ERA, which is good for second in the conference. and 38th in the nation.
Most recently, Golden was named Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year and was named to the All-Freshman Team.
Desiree Ybarra has set the tone in the circle for the Titans' pitching staff as the senior left-hander owns a 1.80 ERA in 35 appearances with 24 starts. The Riverside, Calif., native has collected 15 wins, 13 complete games, five shutouts, one save and 133 strike outs this season. Additionally, she has allowed just 55 walks and 130 hits in 151.1 innings of work.
Ybarra is third in the Big West in ERA (1.80) and third in opponent batting average (.229).
Ybarra was named Big West Pitcher of the Year and was selected to the All-Conference First Team.
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 21 stolen bases in 25 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 48 of the Titans' 82 stolen bases.
THE POINT OF NO RETURN
After 54 games played, Cal State Fullerton is undefeated when leading after the fifth inning. The Titans have won 33 of their 43 victories holding onto a lead after the fifth inning. CSF is an impressive 33-0 when leading after the fifth inning.
IN THE CIRCLE
The Titans have seen strong pitching this season as CSF leads the Big West with a 2.17 ERA which is also 18th in the nation. Additionally, Fullerton leads the conference in opponent batting average (.238), wins (43) and fewest runs allowed (144).
In addition to leading the conference in the Big West standings with 17-4 record, the Titans have done a solid job offensively this season as they are leading the Big West Conference in 10 offensive categories. Cal State Fullerton sits atop the league in batting average (.304), slugging percentage (.440), on-base percentage (.380), runs scored (294), RBIs (247), doubles (88), total bases (661), total plate appearances (1763), walks (171) and sacrifice flies (18).
HOME RUN TERRITORY
The Titans have launched 31 long balls on the year and 18 of them have come from the bat of Missy Taukeiaho and Alexis Gonzalez. Gonzalez and Taukeiaho have each belted nine homers to lead the team. Melissa Sechrest has belted seven, while Sarah Moore and Shianne Brannan have recorded two each. Delynn Rippy and Desiree Ybarra have each added 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 Titans kicked off the month of May with a 4-2 showing. Let's see what the rest of the month has in store.
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 37-4 on the year. Additionally, Fullerton is 23-3 when it scores in the first inning.
CSF has scored the majority of its runs in the first this season, plating 68 in the opening frame, while limiting their opponents to just 19.
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 10-0 record when taking the field on a Sunday. Most recently, CSF clinched the Big West title on a Sunday.
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, who was just named Big West Conference Player of the Year, boasts a .358 batting average and has scored 49 runs, drove in 37, roped 22 doubles, ripped one triple and belted nine homers, while drawing 38 walks on the season. She also leads the team with a .673 slugging percentage and a .488 on-base percentage. Her 22 doubles and 38 walks lead both Cal State Fullerton and the Big West Conference.
GET 'EM ON, GET 'EM OVER, GET 'EM IN
The Titans are hitting .504 (470-for-932) when successfully advancing runners on the base paths. Leading the way offensively in this situation is Delynn Rippy who is 53-for-82 (.646).
Additionally Cal State Fullerton is batting .481 (77-for-160) with a runner at third with less than two outs. Alexis Gonzalez has been most effective in this situation as she boasts a .647 batting average (11-for-17) with a runner at third and less than two outs.
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 (2.17) and batting average (.304. Lastly, the Titans are second in fielding percentage (.969).
DOUBLE DOUBLE TOIL AND TROUBLE
Missy Taukeiaho leads both Cal State Fullerton and the Big West Conference with 22 doubles on the year. She is averaging 0.39 doubles per game which is good for 10th nationally.
Earlier this season, 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 88 doubles which leads the Big West Conference by 20. Cal State Fullerton's average of 1.54 double per game ranks 32nd in the NCAA.
This season, the Titans are undefeated in several situations. The breakdown is as follows:
In shutouts (13-0)
When scoring 10+ runs (3-0)
When leading after the fifth inning (33-0)
When hitting 2+ HRs in a game (6-0)
When playing on Sunday (10-0)
This season six Titans lead the Big West Conference in seven different statistical categories. Missy Taukeiaho leads the way as the leader in runs scored (49), doubles (22) and walks (38). Additionally Delynn Rippy leads the league in triples with five. Alexis Gonzalez and Sydney Colenzo are tied for the lead with four sac flies, while Samantha Vandiver is first in total at-bats (187). Lastly, Courtney Rodriguez is one of just six student-athletes in the Big West Conference to boast a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
Since Big West Conference action started in March, the Titans have dominated the league posting a 17-4 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 .307 batting average, as does the Titans' pitching staff tops in the conference with an ERA of 2.17.
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 and junior rightfielder Delynn Rippy are the only Titans to earn the honors multiple times this season. Ybarra was named Pitcher of the Week for the week of March 14 and again the week of March 28, while Rippy collected Player of the Week Honors on April 25 and May 16.
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 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.
With a win over Fresno State on Friday, May 20, the Titans will play the winner of the CSU Bakersfield-UCLA game on Saturday, May 21 at noon. However, if the Titans lose to the Bulldogs on May 20, they will play the loser of the Roadrunners-Bruins game on May 21 at 3 p.m.