Big West Sends Two To NCAA Tournament
Big West Softball Weekly Release No. 16
Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State will continue on to the postseason as both clubs were chosen to play in the NCAA Softball Tournament. The Titans and 49ers will open up their NCAA journey on the road Friday in double elimination regionals.
CSF (43-14, 17-4 Big West), earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament by virtue of winning the Big West regular season title. The Titans claimed their first NCAA appearance since 2009 and the first Big West title since 2006. The club was placed in the Los Angeles Regional along with Fresno State, CSU Bakersfield and host #12 UCLA. CSF will take on the Bulldogs in that region's NCAA opener, followed by the Roadrunners and Bruins.
The Beach (32-20, 12-9 Big West) claimed an at-large bid to the Tournament, its first at-large selection since 2011 and fourth NCAA appearance in the last seven seasons. Long Beach State was placed in the Eugene Regional along with Baylor, Fordham and host #5 seed Oregon. LBSU will take on BU live on ESPU Friday, one of 20 first round games that will be shown live across the ESPN networks.
Regional play will take place May 19-22 with Super Regionals slated for May 26-29. The eight remaining clubs after Super Regionals will then head to Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series June 2-8.
BIG WEST TEAM NOTES
CAL POLY (27-23, 10-11 Big West)
Better Make Room: Junior Sierra Hyland finished her season with 194 strikeouts, just missing her third consecutive 200-plus strikeout campaign. Hyland did move into select company this year as her 690 career punchouts is 10th all-time in conference history. She was also placed on the first team All-West Region team, her program-record third All-Region honor and just the second Mustang to earn first team accolades.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (43-14, 17-4 Big West)
Two-Step: Senior infielder Missy Taukeiaho picked up a familiar award this week as she was named Big West Player of the Year for the second time in three years. Taukeiaho is hitting .358 with nine homers, 37 RBI, 49 runs scored and eight steals while appearing in all 57 Titan contests. Two years ago, the then-sophomore scorched the diamond with a .429 batting average, 19 home runs, 51 RBI and scored 62 runs on the way to the honor.
CSUN (34-22, 14-7 Big West)
Stretching Them Out: The Matadors finished the season with 124 extra-base hits, the second-most in the Big West this season. The CSUN lineup smashed 68 doubles and lead the league in triples (14) and home runs (42). Four players appeared in the Big West top 10 list for homers led by sophomore slugger Savannah Horvath who ranks second in the league with 13 bombs.
LONG BEACH STATE (32-20, 12-9 Big West)
Strike Three: Junior pitcher Christina Clermont has been the ace of the staff, going 22-10 with a 2.11 ERA in 212.1 innings of work. Clermont, who is a two-time first team All-Big West pick, leads the league with a career-best 195 strikeouts, the second-most in a single season in LBSU history. She could also be the lone pitcher in the Big West to post 200+ strikeouts, needing just five more to reach the number.
UC DAVIS (15-35, 4-17 Big West)
Brianna On The Base Paths: Once junior Brianna Warner got on the base paths this season, big things would happen. Warner ranks second in the Big West in steals (37), sixth in walks (23) and 10th in runs scored (32). She led the Aggies in each of those categories and added hits (46), triples (2) and on-base percentage (.392) for good measure.
Warner is also making her mark on both the program and Big West career steals list. Her 37 steals this year crushed the UCD single season record (20) and are tied for fourth on the single season conference list. In addition, her 64 career steals are a program record and eighth on the Big West career ledger.
UC RIVERSIDE (32-22-1, 8-13 Big West)
Underrated Power: Junior Madeline Richard had an outstanding campaign in her first year as a starter for the Highlanders. Richard leads the Big West in batting (.452), hits (80), stolen bases (38), on-base percentage (.513) and ranks third in runs scored (46). Richard’s stolen base total is the third most in Big West single-season history, while her batting average ranks 15th in the NCAA.
UC SANTA BARBARA (28-28, 11-10 Big West)
The First: Junior Kristen Clark earned a place in UCSB history this season, becoming the first player to finish the season batting .400 or better (.403) for the second time in a career. Her batting average, hits (72) and runs (41) are all third on the single-season Gaucho lists, while her 231 hits are just 27 shy of tying the UCSB career record.
HAWAI‘I (24-30, 8-13 Big West)
1st, 2nd, Honorable: Senior Keiki Carlos has had a decorated career in a Rainbow Wahine uniform, earning first team All-Big West as a freshman, honorable mention as a junior and second team status as a senior. Carlos’ playing career ends after appearing in 214 consecutive games in addition to ranking third in UH history in doubles (45) and eighth in walks (71).
AROUND THE BIG WEST
All-Region Squads: The Big West is well represented on the NFCA All-Region teams as 10 players earned honors.
The bulk of the players appeared in the West Region. On the first team, Cal State Fullerton senior pitcher Desiree Ybarra, CSUN junior outfielder Taylor Glover and Cal Poly junior utility/pitcher Sierra Hyland earned acclaim. The second team in the region featured Long Beach State junior pitcher Christina Clermont, Cal State Fullerton freshman pitcher Sydney Golden, Long Beach State third baseman Darian Tautalafua and Cal State Fullerton junior designated player Alexis Gonzalez. The third team in the West had CSUN junior pitcher Daphne Pofek and Cal State Fullerton senior third baseman Missy Taukeiaho.
The lone Big West player outside the West Region was UCR outfielder Madeline Richard. She claimed second team honors in the Pacific Region.
Power Like No Other: Senior infielder Darian Tautalafua has etched her name in Big West history, passing former Cal State Fullerton slugger Yasmin Mossadeghi (47) for the most home runs in league history. Tautalafua’s career total of 52 has also made her the first player in league lore to reach the 50-homer plateau.
Tautalafua is also the owner of another Big West career record as her three RBI in the series against Cal State Fullerton pushed her past former Pacific star Jennifer Curtier (170) for the top spot in league history. She now stands alone with 173 and counting.
National Recognition: Newly minted Big West champion Cal State Fullerton is appearing in one of the polls for the ninth straight week, one of those as a top 25 team. They are one of three Big West clubs (Cal Poly, Long Beach State) to appear in a national poll this season.
Coaching Power: The 300 win club has three seats in the Big West table as Hawai’i’s Bob Coolen and Cal Poly’s Jenny Condon joined Long Beach State’s Kim Sowder in the milestong. Sowder reached it last season while both Coolen and Condon earned it within a week of each other this season.
That group wasn’t the only one to reach milestones this year as Cal State Fullerton’s Kelly Ford and UC Riverside’s Linda Garza each reached 100 career wins this season. Both are in their fifth season at the helm of their programs.