Cal State Fullerton softball headed to NCAA Regionals after series loss to UC Santa Barbara

In Sports
(Bailey Carpenter / Daily Titan Stock Photo)

In its last series before the postseason, Cal State Fullerton softball lost two of three games against UC Santa Barbara, snapping its streak of four consecutive series wins against Big West opponents.

The Titans fell to the Gauchos in their first contest, losing 4-3. Fullerton held on to a 3-0 lead through five innings but the Gauchos battled back and won with a four-run sixth inning to end CSUF’s season-high nine-game winning streak.

Fullerton bounced back and took game two with timely hitting while capitalizing on defensive miscues from Santa Barbara. The Titans went into the bottom of the seventh inning leading 6-0 but were forced to go into their bullpen to secure the victory after the Gauchos scored five runs in the seventh.

In the rubber game of the series, Fullerton was shut out 2-0. UCSB scored both of its runs in the sixth and CSUF only managed four hits off Gauchos starter Lena Mayer.

With their series loss against the Gauchos, the Titans’ road winning streak was snapped at three games. The Titans end their regular season with an overall record of 33-21 and a 16-5 conference record.

Big Individual UCSB Innings
Several big single innings for the Gauchos was one of the factors in the Titans’ losses.

In game one, the Gauchos posted four runs in the bottom of the sixth to overcome a three-run Titans lead.

Even though game two was a 6-5 Titan victory, the Gauchos scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh, making the game much closer in the end.

In game three, a two-run sixth inning was the difference for UCSB as the Titans were handed their last regular-season loss.

Bats Chilling
The Titan bats went cold against the Gauchos’ pitching over the weekend as they were outscored 9-11 over 21 innings.

The team only drove in four runners all weekend, with their other five runs coming off Gaucho errors.

In both of its losses, Fullerton was held under seven hits and four runs. Overall, the Titans put up 18 hits while stealing four bases.

In their previous series, CSUF scored at least five runs in all of its three games against CSUN for a combined 17 runs.

A Few Positives Heading into the Postseason
Even though the Titans scored nine runs all weekend, they still had players making an offensive impact.

In game one, shortstop Shianne Brannan hit a solo home run, scoring one of the three Titan runs while recording a multi-hit game in the finale on Saturday. Overall, Brannan recorded three hits over the weekend and stole a base.

Right fielder Delynn Rippy was also a benefactor in the box. Rippy had a two-hit game one while also recording a hit in both game two and three. Rippy ended her weekend going 4-9, improving her batting average to .358.

Other standouts over the weekend included second baseman Sydney Colenzo, who had a sacrifice fly in game one and recorded a hit in game two. Left fielder Samantha Vandiver went 3-4 with two RBIs in game two.

Tough Luck Pitchers
Of the 11 combined runs Fullerton pitchers allowed over the three games, eight of them were earned.

Ace Kelsey Kessler kept the Titans in the game in the first contest, giving up four runs while throwing her 16th complete game of the season in a loss. Kessler threw 11.1 innings over three games and recorded a one-out save in the second game.

Sydney Golden earned the only win for the Titans over the weekend, improving her season record to 6-5.

The Titans will start postseason play Friday at 6 p.m. at UCLA’s Easton Stadium in the NCAA Regionals.

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