Titans Topple LMU and Defending Champions Oklahoma to Reach 2-0
FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton rose to the occasion Friday evening at the Easton Tournament running away from the Lions of Loyola Marymount 9-0 in game one for the Titans, and capping off the evening with a 3-1 duel against defending national champions No. 2 Oklahoma. Sophomore Jasmine Antunez (2-0) and junior Desiree Ybarra had control of the circle all day posting a combined 11 innings of work, yielding only one run and striking out 12 batters over the two games.
Fullerton moves to 2-0 on the year while both LMU and Oklahoma finished the day with two losses to fall to 0-2 on the season. The Titans will face Santa Clara (10 a.m) and Pittsburgh (5:30 p.m.) in day two of the Easton Tournament on Saturday (Feb. 8) at Anderson Family Field.
GAME 1: Cal State Fullerton 9 Loyola Marymount 0
Jasmine Antunez (1-0) pitched three innings of one-hit ball to propel the Titans to an opening game run-rule over the Lions of Loyola Marymount. Behind a barrage of scoring through the first three innings, Antunez cruised in the circle yielding two walks and two strikeouts over three innings. The right-handed sophomore was also able to contribute at the plate as she lasered a double into right center field gap to propel the offense.
Desiree Ybarra and freshman Christina Washington pitched an inning apiece allowing two hits combined to preserve the shutout for the Titans. CSF posted a stellar effort in the field behind the pitchers as well, fielding zero errors as they never let up against the Lions.
In contrast, the Lions had a rough day in the circle pitching with runners on base throughout the entire afternoon. Starter Stephanie Crist (0-2) ran into trouble early yielding five runs on five hits over 1 1/3 innings before being relieved by freshman Andy Wellins. Wellins was tagged for seven hits over the next 1 1/3 innings while the Lion's offense was stagnant the rest of the way in attempt to spark a rally.
Senior Gabby Aragon and University of Washington transfer Missy Taukeiaho combined to go 5for-5 from the plate, scoring two runs and three RBI. Catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama propelled the Titans to pull away with two four-run innings including a two-run single of her own in the third inning to put LMU in a 9-0 hole. Senior Leesa Harris used her exceptional speed to swipe a stolen base and score two runs on three at-bats for the Titans.
GAME 2: Cal State Fullerton 3 Oklahoma 1
After posting an offensive outburst against the Lions hours earlier, the Titans looked to accomplish something Friday evening that hasn't been done in over five years, beat the No. 2 ranked team in the nation. Oklahoma, which is also head coach Kelly Ford's alma mater, came into the Easton Tournament ranked No. 2 in both the preseason ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches poll and USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll. Behind strong pitching and timely hitting, the Titans ended the evening victorious, first time since March of 2008 when CSF defeated UCLA 1-0 in eight innings.
Power was evident early in the game as Oklahoma's Georgia Casey went yard to left center on her first at-bat of the night. Desiree Ybarra quickly answered with a solo shot of her own to deep right center field.
As both teams had already played a morning game to start off the tournament, it was appearing that both pitchers were settling in and runs were going to be hard to come by. Transfer Missy Taukeiaho provided all the run support the Titans would need the rest of the way with a towering two-run blast to left field.
Excluding the opening inning, Oklahoma was never able to produce more than one hit in an inning in which Georgia Casey provided the solo run via homerun to left center field over the out stretched arm of Leesa Harris.
The pitching combination of Antunez and Ybarra fanned 12 batters overall for the day, jolting the Titans to a 2-0 start at Anderson Family Field. Seven Titans had at least one hit against LMU in which the offense scattered a total of 12 hits in game one.