LOS ANGELES – Junior rightfielder Delynn Rippy drove in four runs to help life the Cal State Fullerton softball team to a 7-1 victory over No. 18/20 Fresno State Saturday night at the NCAA Los Angeles Regional at Easton Stadium.
With the win, the Titans (45-15) stay alive and will face No. 12/14 UCLA on Sunday, May 22 at noon, while the Bulldogs' (42-12-1) season comes to an end.
"Needless to say, I'm very happy," Cal State Fullerton head coach Kelly Ford said. "I'm so proud of this team. They played very well tonight. I think that the combination of Sydney (Golden) and Desi (Ybarra) was outstanding. We had some timely hitting with Delynn (Rippy) and we had a couple other people turn things around offensively. There were a lot of positives out there today."
Although Fresno State took an early 1-0 lead over Cal State Fullerton on a solo home run in the top of the second by Lindsey Willmon, the Titans did not let that deter them.
Down 1-0, the Titans fought back and plated two runs in the bottom half of the second inning on a two-run double by Rippy. Senior centerfielder Courtney Rodriguez led off the frame and reached base on a Bulldog error and Sydney Colenzo singled up the middle to put runners on first and second with one out for Shianne Brannan.
Although Brannan fouled out down the rightfield line, heads up base running by Rodriguez and Colenzo advanced both runners into scoring position for Rippy, who promptly doubled them home to give Fullerton a 2-1 advantage.
Freshman Sydney Golden earned the start and allowed just one run in 2.0 innings of work on three hits, while facing nine batters.
Desiree Ybarra (16-7) came on in relief in the top of the third and was lights out from that point on. She never allowed the Bulldogs to connect for a hit and collected seven strike outs, while issuing just two walks en route to picking up the win.
The Titans added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth as they took advantage of a pair of Fresno State errors. Senior designated player Sarah Moore notched the only hit of the frame with a leadoff single through the right side to get things going.
Following the base hit, the Bulldogs committed back-to-back errors to load the bases for Rippy who drew a walk which put Cal State Fullerton up 3-1. Taukeiaho stepped to the plate with bases still loaded and just one out and also drew a walk to account for the Titans' fourth run of the game as they took a 4-1 lead.
Cal State Fullerton broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth when it extended its lead to five (6-1). In the frame, Moore again got things started as she roped a one-out double off the centerfield wall. With runners on first and second with two outs, Rippy struck again driving in Moore to plate the Titans' fifth run of the game.
Samantha Vandiver was responsible for the second run of the inning as she singled back up the middle scoring Sydney Colenzo who had reached on an infield single. The Titans were now up 6-1 and Fresno State pulled its starting pitcher Kamalani Dung (8-1).
Dung would be tagged with the loss – her first of the season – after allowing six runs, two of which were earned, on eight hits. She walked three and struck out two before making way for Taylor Langdon.
Meanwhile, Ybarra continued to shut down the opposition as she struck out four batters in a row and struck out five out of six Bulldogs she faced. She allowed just two base runners – both walks – and neither advanced beyond second base.
The Titans added their final run of the game in the sixth inning after Kylie Padilla was hit by a pitch and Ariana Williams was brought in to pinch run. With two outs, Colenzo doubled to leftfield, scoring Williams, but was thrown out as she rounded second, heading for third.
Ybarra took the circle with a six-run lead (7-1) in the top of the seventh and issued a leadoff walk, but retired the next three batters in order to collect the victory.
Rippy finished the game batting 2-for-2 with a walk, a double and four RBIs, while Colenzo was 3-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and two runs scored. Moore was 2-for-3 with a run, while Vandiver was 2-for-3 with an RBI.