FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton softball team tallied at least two runs over the first four innings en route to a 12-4 run-rule victory in five innings over Santa Clara at Anderson Family Field on Thursday evening.
Following the non-conference contest, the Titans advance to (27-20-1) while the Broncos fall to (7-31). This was the second meeting between the Titans and Broncos this year, with Fullerton notching a 2-0 record at home to go along with a 20-4 scoring advantage.
With the victory, Fullerton guarantees themselves the first winning season since 2009 when the team posted a record of 30-21. The 28 wins also tied the win total in all of 2013 with still six games remaining in the regular season.
Three Titans posted multi-hit games to propel Fullerton to a commanding 12-1 lead, a hole that Santa Clara wasn't able to completely dig out of to avoid being run-ruled in five frames.
On a day that infielder Samantha Galarza was named on an Academic All-District Softball Team, she led the offense with a 2-for-3 performance, scoring one run while driving in three. The sophomore highlighted her appearances at the plate with a two-run homer in the second inning, advancing the Titans to an early 6-0 lead over the Broncos, an advantage that was never challenged the rest of the way.
Catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama turned in a perfect 2-for-2 evening at the plate, collecting two RBIs, drawing one walk while scoring another pair of runs. The senior looped her 11th double into left center in the opening frame, good for second on the team.
Senior shortstop Gabby Aragon chipped in another two hits on three at-bats, driving in another two runs while drawing one base on balls. The native of Garden Grove, Calif., became the fifth Titan in the starting lineup to boast a batting average over .300, currently hitting at a .303 clip after tonight's victory.
Freshman Christina Washington (10-5) was given her 14th start of her career, tossing four innings while surrendering one run on four hits and fanning two Broncos. Washington ties teammate Jasmine Antunez with the team-lead with 10 wins, which is complimented with her team-low 3.74 ERA.
Tossing the final frame was sophomore Monique Wesley, who weathered the Broncos rally just enough to avoid surrendering the eight-run lead, which is the minimum amount of deficit within five innings of play for the mercy rule to take into effect. The right-hander yielded three runs on three hits, but struck out two batters to close the door on Santa Clara.
SCU starter, Ciara Gonzales (4-16) labored through only one and 2/3 innings, surrendering seven hits and five earned runs while fanning two. Jessica Turner and Brianna Rios pitched in relief of Gonzales, both tossing at least one inning, but being tagged for a minimum of three runs apiece, respectively. The Broncos pitching staff committed a host of illegal and wild pitches which only aided the Titans offense to tally 11 hits on the night.
Game Notes: Head Coach Kelly Ford used her lengthy roster to the fullest, sending 21 total players into the contest in one shape or form combined with 15 substitutions…The 12 Fullerton runs ties a season-high for the third time, last occurring in a 12-3 decision at Hawai'i on Apr. 5…This was the ninth run-rule victory of the season, with a whopping combined scoring advantage of 90-16…Batting 1-for-3 with two runs scored and one walk, Missy Taukeiaho has now reached base a team-high 25 consecutive times…Galarza struck for her 12th multi-hit game of the year, good for second on the team behind Taukeiaho (18)…Fullerton is now 10-5 when recording no errors defensively in a game.