Kessler & Siofele Lead Titans Past No. 22 Baylor

Credit to Matt Brown
Credit to Matt Brown

Box Score (PDF)

FULLERTON, Calif. – On the final day of the Judi Garman Classic, the Cal State Fullerton softball team got back into the win column in a big way as the Titans walked-off against No. 22 Baylor with a 1-0 victory at Anderson Family Field on Sunday night.

With the win, Fullerton moves to 9-11 on the season and snaps its four-game losing streak. The Titans also collected their first walk-off win of the year, thanks to an RBI fielder's choice from freshman Irieanna Siofele in the seventh.

Starter Kelsey Kessler gets her conference leading sixth win with a complete game shutout (7 IP, 8 Ks, 4 H and 1 BB) of the No. 22 Lady Bears. The shutout was the senior's second shutout of the year against a ranked-foe with the first one coming last Sunday vs. No. 17 Utah at the Mary Nutter Classic, which also resulted in a 1-0 win for CSUF.

After a rain delay around 2 p.m. PT, Fullerton's game against Baylor finally got underway at 6 p.m. and the Bears wasted no time putting the pressure on Kessler. The Lady Bears loaded the bases after an error by shortstop Shianne Brannan but the Titan ace got out of the inning with a ground out.

In the second, Brannan was hit by pitch to start the frame and reached second on a wild pitch. Kylie Padilla continued the inning with a single to left which put runners on the corners for the Titans with two gone.

However, centerfielder Brooke Clemetson couldn't get the timely hit for Fullerton as she struck out swinging to end the second.

After five scoreless, the Titans knew they were in a pitcher's duel as Baylor's Shelby McGlaun was matching Kessler each inning but Fullerton finally got to her in the sixth. Lexi Gonzalez smoked a single to left center off the righty and Kelsie Whitmore entered to pinch run for the senior.

Whitmore eventually went on to reach third with two outs while Megan Estacio and Richard also reached base, which loaded them for pinch-hitter Bryanna Ybarra. The third basemen put a bat on the ball but it didn't find a hole as she flew out to center to end the inning and leave the game scoreless after six.

Kessler headed back out to the circle for the seventh and pitched masterfully as the Blue Springs, Mo., native collected her seventh and eighth punch outs in the inning to set it up for the Titans in the bottom half.

Padilla got the final frame started with a leadoff single and was pinch ran for by Gabrielle Rodas but would be thrown out at second on the fielder's choice from Clemetson.

Senior Delynn Rippy laced a single with one out and hustled to second on the throw to third, putting runners on second and third for Siofele.

The freshman found herself in a tough at-bat with two early strikes but the second baseman put bat-to-ball and hit a two-hopper to short which resulted in Clemetson beating the throw home and a 1-0 victory for the Titans.

Overall, Fullerton finished the game with four hits and scored one run while committing the lone error in the first inning. Padilla played a big factor behind-the-plate tonight as the senior threw out two Bears trying to swipe second.

Kessler's gem also lowers her ERA to 1.83 (second-best in the Big West) and her eight strikeouts against the No. 22 Bears puts her at second in the conference with 69 total punch outs so far this season. 

Next, the Titans will host a handful of teams for the Long Beach State/Cal State Fullerton tournament next weekend. The first game of the tournament will come on Thursday at 6 p.m. against San Diego State at Anderson Family Field.

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