Titans Set for NCAA Regional, Ready to Take on San Jose State

Titans Set for NCAA Regional, Ready to Take on San Jose State

FULLERTON, Calif.- The Titans will travel to UCLA this weekend to take on San Jose State in game one of the NCAA Regionals at Easton Stadium. The game on Friday starts at 6 p.m.

Game Notes

NCAA Softball Bracket

The Titans will advance to the NCAA Regionals to play against Mountain West Champions, San Jose State, for an evening game on Friday. Depending if the Titans win or lose will determine what time they play on Saturday.  Last year in the NCAA Regionals at UCLA, the Titans defeated Fresno State on Friday, but lost to UCLA on Saturday and Sunday.

The Los Angeles Regional Schedule

Friday, May 19

Game 1 at 6 p.m. – Cal State Fullerton (home) vs. San Jose State
Game 2 at 8 p.m. – UCLA (home) vs. Lehigh

Saturday, May 20

Game 3 at 2 p.m.– Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner
Game 4 at 4:30 p.m.– Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser
Game 5 a t 7:00 p.m.– Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Winner

Sunday, May 21

Game 6 at 4:00 p.m.– Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner
Game 7at 6:30 p.m. – Game 6 Winner vs. Game 6 Loser (if necessary)

Last week, Fullerton traveled to UC Santa Barbara for their final Big West Conference series. The Titans (16-5) fell to the Gauchos (11-10) with a 2-1 series loss. Shianne Brannan hit her fifth home run of the season.

Tickets are on sale now to see the Cal State Fullerton softball team take part in the NCAA Los Angeles Regional this weekend. The Los Angeles Regional will run from Friday, May 19 through Sunday, May 21. Single-day tickets will be sold on the day of the game only at Easton Stadium on a first-come, first-served basis. All seats are general admission. Fans can go through UCLA's Central Ticket Office at 310-825-2346 or online at http://www.uclabruins.com/sports/2013/4/17/208268132.aspx.

3 Day Ticket Package – All Session

*Adult - $33

Youth/Student - $22

Day Ticket

*Adult - $12

Youth/Student - $8

*Seniors are considered adults in this Regional

The Titans clinched their tenth 2017 Big West Conference Championship with the sweep over CSUN. Now, the Titans make their 27th appearance in NCAA Regionals with an automatic bid to play San Jose State at UCLA. Last year, the Titans captured their ninth Big West title at CSUN and secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. The Cal State Fullerton softball program has made 26 NCAA postseason appearances and reached the peak of the sport six times-winning the NCAA National Championship in 1986. The last time the Titans had back-to-back Big West Championship titles was in 2000-2003.

In the series against UC Santa Barbara, Kelsey Kessler earned her first save in game two of the series. Kessler currently sits third on the Big West list for 1.46 ERA and for striking out 160. Last week, Kessler won her third straight Big West Pitcher of the Week award after pitching a pair of wins against CSUN. This was her fourth Pitcher of the Week honor on the season. The last time the Titan's had a three-peat of the Big West Pitcher of the Week Awards was with Gina Oaks in 2002. Kessler tossed a complete game in a 10-inning, 5-3 triumph over CSUN in game one of the series. Kessler allowed eight hits and three runs, only two earned, while striking out nine. She had a streak of 32 consecutive scoreless innings come to an end in game one in the second inning. In game two, she earned the win as the relief, improving to 19-6 overall.

Delynn Rippy and Samantha Vandiver are ready for Regionals as the one, two punch package. Against UC Santa Barbara, together they scored three runs on seven hits and four RBIs. Rippy still tops the Titans' list with 176 at-bats and is tied with Ariana Williams for the most runs on the team. Going into NCAA Regionals this weekend, Rippy and Vandiver total 55 runs 113 hits, and 23 RBIs on the season.

Over the weekend, Shianne Brannan hit her fifth home run against UC Santa Barbara. Brannan has hit at least one home run in the past three consecutive Big West series. In Big West games only, Brannan has a .509 slugging percentage and defensively, Brannan has accumulated 95 assists as the starting short stop.

The Titans finished their final Big West series with a 2-1 series loss to the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. Against CSUN, The Titans clinched their tenth Big West Championship Title. With the series loss against the Gauchos, Cal State Fullerton's season record moved to 33-21 and 16-5, while the Gauchos improved to 31-26 overall and 11-10 in league play. CSUN, UC Santa Barbara, and Long Beach State are all tied with a conference a 11-10 record. The Titans lead the conference in fielding with .973 percentage. The team also placed third on the Big West list for 63 stolen bases.

The California Community College Coaches Association has selected Head Coach Kelly Ford to be inducted into the 2017 California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Prior to her arrival at CSUF, Ford guided the Mount San Antonio softball program to four California State Championships and has earned seven South Coast Coach of the Year honors five times.

Associate Head Coach Jorge Araujo was named a finalist for the Rising Star Award from One Dream Zero Distraction Management. The 2017 One Dream Awards will be held in Las Vegas, Nev. on Saturday, December 9, 2017. Jorge Araujo is in his fifth season with the Titans and his first as the associate head coach on the Cal State Fullerton softball staff in 2016-17, where he continues to be the recruiting coordinator and defensive specialist for the team.  

Titans Kelsey Kessler, Trish Parks and Delynn Rippy all earned All-Tournament team honors at the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge. Kessler had two marvelous starts at the tournament as she only surrendered one earned run and had 13 strikeouts. Parks threw six scoreless frames against Florida Gulf Coast while also doing same damage with the bat as she tripled (vs. Texas Tech) and hit a two-RBI double (vs. Fresno State). Rippy was the spark plug the Titans needed in Mexico as she moved to the top of the lineup after the loss to Texas Tech and finished the tourney with six hits, four runs, two RBIs and .333 batting average. 

Since 2013, the Titans have put up a fielding percentage of .970 percent or higher in three of the past four seasons, including setting a program record in 2015 when they finished the year with a fielding percentage of .975. The main reason for the rise defensively over the past four seasons has been the strategy of associate head coach Jorge Araujo. The Cal Poly Pomona graduate serves as the defensive specialist for the Titans and has helped make Fullerton one of the best fielding teams in the country. 

Coach Ford and the Titan coaching staff like to take care of business in their home recruiting state of California as 24-of-26 players on this year's squad call the Golden State home. The only Fullerton players from outside the state of California are senior Kelsey Kessler (Blue Springs, Mo.) & freshman Sophie Frost (Mill Creek, Wash.). 

Entering the fifth inning, Fullerton trailed No. 21 Fresno State 9-1 and was in danger of getting run-ruled by the Bulldogs, but the Titans had other ideas. Senior Lexi Gonzalez scored Delynn Rippy on a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 9-2, giving the Titans life for another half-inning. However, with two outs Fullerton kept the momentum going with an RBI single and RBI double from freshmen Zoe Richard and Irieanna Siofele. Next, freshman Emily Randall drew a walk and the Titans reeled off another RBI double and three-straight RBI singles to cut the lead to 9-8 with runners on the corners. Trish Parks stepped up to the plate and laced a double down the left field line that plated Samantha Vandiver and Rippy and put the Titans on top of the Bulldogs, 10-9. The improbable nine-run fifth last 30 minutes and the Titans scored eight of the nine runs with two outs in the innings. 

Coach Ford added pitching coach Tori Tyson to the coaching staff in 2016 and she made quite the first impression. Her pitching staff put up video game-like numbers in 2016 by posting a 2.22 team ERA (best since 2007), 23 complete games and 13 shutouts (most since 2007) in 410 innings pitched. Titans pitchers Sydney Golden and Desiree Ybarra benefited mightily from having Tyson as their coach with Golden being named Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year and Ybarra earning the Big West Pitcher of the Year award. Look for Tyson's impact on the pitching staff to continue to flourish this season.

In September, the Cal State Fullerton softball program received its second Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association All-Sports Trophy, which goes to the top Division I institutions that do no sponsor football. Fullerton becomes only the 11th softball program with multiple DI-AAA ADA All-Sports trophies after collecting its first back in 2009. The Titans had quite the year in 2016 as coach Ford led her squad to its first conference title in ten years, 26th NCAA appearance and 45 victories which is the most since 2002.

Fullerton softball welcomed four new Titans to the program during the early signing period in November. The first additions to the 2017 recruiting class include Jody Cova (3B/C), Taylor Dockins (P/1B), Hannah Johnson (P/1B/OF) and Samantha Kennedy (2B/SS). Cova provides a power-bat to next year's squad as she hails from up North in Orangevale, Calif., where she earned All-Capital Athletic League honors three times. Kennedy hails from Anaheim, Calif., where she received multiple accolades during her time at Savanna High School. Her brother, AJ Kennedy, spent three seasons with Titan baseball before being drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2015. Dockins comes to Fullerton with quite a resume as she earned multiple league, region and state honors while also helping Norco High School win the CIF-SS Championship as a sophomore. The Norco, Calif., native also was named a Max Preps Junior All-American and provides a dual threat as she has a powerful bat and is one of the best pitchers in CIF. Lastly, Johnson provides versatility for the Titans as she played multiple positions at La Habra High School, but coach Ford sees her making the biggest impact in the circle.  She's earned numerous accolades during her high school career and has wanted to be a Titan since she was little. 

Coach Ford knew this year's freshman class was something special and they've lived up to expectations so far. First basemen Zoe Richard has played 43 games this season and started in 27 and already has 19 RBIs. Pitcher Sophie Frost has stepped into a relief role for the Titans and collected her first save of the season vs. Texas Tech on Feb. 18 and also her second save against CSUN in game three. Kelsie Whitmore and Arianna Burns have also made some impact in the outfield. Whitmore has provided the outfield with a cannon arm in both center and right while Burns has proven herself with the bat as she had her second two-hit game of the year against Louisville.

Since taking the helm in 2013, coach Kelly Ford has finished .500 or better in each of her four seasons with the Titans. Ford bypassed 150 during the Long Beach State/Cal State Fullerton Tournament with 152 career victories.  Last season, Ford led the Titans to 45 wins, which is the most since former Titan head coach Michelle Gromacki led her 2002 squad to 53 victories.

Tickets come as vouchers and can be used all at one game, 10 games, the choice is yours!
Tickets are good for all games. For more information contact the Titans Ticket Office at 657-278-2783. 

Fans can keep up with the latest in Titan Athletics by following us on Facebook (Facebook/FullertonTitans), Twitter (@FullertonTitans) Instagram (FullertonTitans) and Snapchat (FullertonTitans). In addition, the softball team has established its own Twitter (@CSUFSoftball), Facebook (Cal State Fullerton Titan Softball) and Instagram accounts (@CSUFSoftball).


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