CSUF softball begins season with inaugural Titan Classic

In Sports
Senior Shianne Brannan received a Big West Honorable Mention in the 2017 season in addition to Big West Spring All-Academic team. Brannan aims to take the 2018 season “one pitch, one game, one opponent at a time.” (Bailey Carpenter / Daily Titan File Photo)

The last time CSUF softball won the Big West three years in a row was in 2003. Fifteen years have passed and history once again stares the Titans straight in the face.

The Titans’ season begins on Friday Feb. 9 with the Titan Classic tournament which will take place Feb. 9 through 11 in Fullerton at Anderson Family Field.

The back-to-back champions were chosen in the Big West coaches poll as the favorites to win the conference. CSUF garnered 57 points, four first-place votes and beat out Long Beach State which finished with 53 points and three first-place votes.

With months of preparation and an opportunity to three-peat, the team is ready to see if all the off-season work has prepared it for the rigors of the regular season. Sixth-year Head Coach and Big West Coach of the Year, Kelly Ford, is looking forward to starting the season.

“It’s very honorable that we were chosen number one. But it all comes down to what goes on on the field,” Ford said.

Leading the conference last year with a 16-5 record and the best fielding percentage, CSUF is ready to embrace the big expectations that come along with being a repeat champion.

The team heads into this season confidently, with the 2017 National Gatorade Player of the Year, incoming freshman pitcher Taylor Dockins (Norco H.S.) who’s the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section all-time leader with 108 wins. Dockins will be joining five returning starters including seniors Sammie Vandiver (LF), Shianne Brannan (SS),  junior Ari Williams (CF) along with sophomores Zoe Richard (1B) and Emily Randall (3B).

The Titan Classic will feature the Titans and six other teams including Big West conference rival UC Riverside. The tournament will have a total of 14 games, four of which CSUF will play.

The Titans will begin tournament play in a doubleheader against Rutgers University on Friday Feb. 9 at 3:30 p.m. and Utah State at 6 p.m. CSUF plays on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. against Pittsburgh and will play in the tournament finale on Sunday Feb.11 at 12:30 p.m. against Loyola Marymount.

Kathyrne Padilla contributed to this story.

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