Nine Titans Earn Big West Conference Awards

IRVINE, Calif.- Heading to its 27th NCAA Regional appearance, the back-to-back Big West Champions placed nine members on the 2017 All-Big West Conference Softball Team, while head coach Kelly Ford claimed her second consecutive Coach of the Year honor, the league office announced on Wednesday.

Ford guided Fullerton to a 33-21 overall record and its second straight conference title, with a 16-5 record in league play. The back-to-back conference crowns for the Titans is something Fullerton hasn't accomplished since claiming three straight league titles from 2000-2003. The Titans won 12 consecutive conference contests from April 14th- May 6th to claim the league title.

In her fifth season at the helm of the softball team, Ford is now tied with former coach Michelle Gromacki as the only Titan to earn the honor on two separate occasions (2000, 2006).

Ford has done an exceptional job leading the Titans as she put together a competitive non-conference schedule that pitted Cal State Fullerton up against some of the top teams in the nation. Despite the talented competition, the Titans collected shutout wins over then-No. 17 Utah, and then-No. 22 Baylor.

"While I'm honored to receive this award, I was hesitant to accept it this season because it's the players who have made this this team so special," said Ford. "They are the ones who competed all year to lead the Titans to our second straight conference title and their numbers and performance show that.

 

"I understand the voting process and honor the fact that everyone has a vote and their own opinion, but when you look at what a pitcher like Kelsey Kessler did for us in conference play, there's no doubt in my mind she deserved to be named Big West Pitcher of the Year. In my opinion it's hard not to recognize the accomplishment of players from any conference championship team. I wish the conference numbers were taken more into consideration. For this season, though, I'm truly accepting this on our players' behalf, because the players have earned this championship and this award. They are the ones who deserve the recognition."

The Titans boasted three Big West First Team selections in Kelsey KesslerDelynn Rippy and Lexi Gonzalez. Cal State Fullerton also garnered one second team selection in Ariana Williams, while Shianne BrannanZoe Richard, and Cerissa Rivera received Honorable Mention honors and Arianna Burns and Zoe Richard made their way on the All-Freshman Team.

Kessler's superb performance in circle continued throughout league play as she was first in the Big West with a 1.02 ERA in 75.1 innings of work and had the most wins. Kessler dominated as she struck out 66 and earned four shutouts in league play. Kessler won four Big West Pitcher of the Week honors, including three straight. Overall she boasted a 19-7 record to go along with a 1.50 ERA in 177.1 innings pitched.

Rippy was an offensive force at the top of the Titans' lineup, which earned her a spot on the First Team All-Conference squad for the second straight year. Rippy currently leads the team with .352 batting average after going 63-for-179 in the regular season. She sits fourth in the conference with 12 runs scored and 24 hits.

Gonzalez was top Titan power hitter, leading the team with 10 home runs throughout the season, five in conference to place her second in the conference. Gonzalez also had the most runs scored in the league and posted third for a .603 slugging percentage. which helped place her on the All-Conference First Team for the second consecutive year. She also leads the team with 39 RBI.

The Titans saw one player selected to the Second Team with Williams.

During conference play Williams tied Gonzalez for first during Big West play with 14 runs scored. The Moreno Valley sophomore started in 35 games and posted a .314 batting average overall. She has driven in 16 runs and scored 31, while recording three homers, four doubles and two triples. The outfielder has posted a solid defense with 1.00 fielding percentage as she logged 55 putouts.

The Titans saw three players to receive Honorable Mentions in Shianne BrannanZoe Richard and Cerissa Rivera.

Brannan, a junior shortstop, hit four home runs during conference play and placed ninth in the Big West with a .509 slugging percentage. For the season, Brannan has been solid on defense posting a .952 fielding percentage, as she recorded 84 putouts and 95 assists. The Titans' defense topped the Big West with .973 fielding percentage in conference play.

Zoe Richard earned a spot on the Honorable Mention list and on the All-Freshman Team. This season, Richard started in 27 games and posted a .263 batting average. She has driven 19 runs on 25 hits. Richard has been flawless defensively as first baseman posting a 1.000 fielding percentage and recording 175 putouts.

This season, Rivera posted 5-2 record as she ranked seventh in the league with a 2.29 ERA and earned back-to- back Big West Pitcher of the Week honors. Rivera logged 66 strikeouts and walked just 12, while picking up two shutouts and five complete games over 73.1 innings.

Rounding out the Titans' yearly honors is Ariana Burns, who made the All-Freshman Team. In conference play, Burns batted a .357 and was in second in the league with an on-base percentage of .500. Burns posted five doubles on the season, while drawing five walks.

 

2017 Big West Softball All-Conference Team

First Team
*Sierra Hyland, Cal Poly

Lindsey Chalmers, Cal Poly

^Lexi Gonzalez, Cal State Fullerton

Kelsey Kessler, Cal State Fullerton

^Delynn Rippy, Cal State Fullerton

# Taylor Glover, CSUN

Katie Hooper, CSUN

*Savannah Horvath, CSUN

Cielo Meza, Long Beach State

Brianna Warner, UC Davis

^Jenna Curtan, UC Riverside

Sierra Altmeyer, UC Santa Barbara

Brittany Hitchcock, Hawai'i

Nicole Lopez, Hawai'i

Heather Morales, Hawai'i

 

Second Team

Chelsea Convissar, Cal Poly

Courtney Tyler, Cal Poly

Ariana Williams, Cal State Fullerton

Daphne Pofek, CSUN

Jessica Flores, Long Beach State

Christa Castello, UC Davis

Tayler Misfeldt, UC Riverside

Madeline Richard, UC Riverside

Kristen Clark, UC Santa Barbara

Alyssa Diaz, UC Santa Barbara

Veronika Gulvin, UC Santa Barbara

Jessica Johnston, UC Santa Barbara

Angelique Ramos, Hawai'i

 

Honorable Mention
Stephanie Heyward, Cal Poly

Shianne Brannan, Cal State Fullerton

Zoe Richard, Cal State Fullerton

Cerissa Rivera, Cal State Fullerton

Jessica Alexander, CSUN

Marissa Jauregui, UC Davis

Katie Kibby, UC Davis

Ashley Lotoszynski, UC Davis

Danielle Garcielita, Hawai'i

Callee Heen, Hawai'i

 

All-Freshman Team
Hailey Martin, Cal Poly

Arianna Burns, Cal State Fullerton

Zoe Richard, Cal State Fullerton

Jessica Alexander, CSUN

Cielo Meza, Long Beach State

Katie Kibby, UC Davis

Alyssa Diaz, UC Santa Barbara

Callee Heen, Hawai'i

Chardonnay Pantastico, Hawai'i

Angelique Ramos, Hawai'i

  

^- Two-time first team All-Conference selection

*- Three-time first team All-Conference selection

#- Four-time first team All-Conference selection

2017 Player of the Year – Taylor Glover, CSUN

2017 Pitcher of the Year – Sierra Hyland, Cal Poly

2017 Coach of the Year – Kelly Ford, Cal State Fullerton

2017 Defensive Player of the Year – Katie Hooper, CSUN

2017 Freshman Pitcher of the Year – Cielo Meza, Long Beach State

2017 – Freshman Field Player of the Year – Angelique Ramos, Hawai'i

 

 
 
 

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