Titans Conclude Regular Season on High Note, Sweep Matadors
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton softball team used a six-run third inning to rout Cal State Northridge, 10-1, in the final contest of the regular season at Matador Diamond on Saturday afternoon. The Titans completed the first three-game sweep of a Big West foe over the entire year.
Following the conclusion of the regular season for both squads, the Titans climb to (33-21-1, 13-8) as the Matadors fall to (31-26, 8-13). The Titans hand CSUN its ninth consecutive home loss, acting as spoilers on senior day for the Matadors.
Placing fourth in the Big West standings with a record of 13-8, Fullerton finishes one-game behind UC Santa Barbara (14-7) and Cal Poly (14-7) while trailing conference champion Long Beach State (15-6) by two contests.
The Titans offense carried over the momentum of a nine-run seventh in yesterday's 14-1 win, with three early runs in the opening frame and another six-runs in the third to run away with the game.
Fullerton put the Matadors away in the third frame as junior Eliza Crawford launched a solo-shot to leadoff the barrage, her 12th round-tripper of the year. The wheels fell off for the CSUN defense with two costly errors leading to six runs, highlighted with an RBI double by freshman Delynn Rippy, bases loaded RBI walk drawn by senior Ariel Tsuchiyama and a sacrifice fly by Crawford to left field. Three more unearned runs came across to leave the Matadors in a 9-1 hole following the inning. Crawford chipped in a 1-for-3 performance, scoring one and driving in a pair.
Sophomore Missy Taukeiaho turned in a 2-for-3 effort, scoring two runs, driving in one and drawing one walk. Batting from the right-side, Taukeiaho launched herself into sole possession of No. 2 in the Big West all-time record books with her 19th home run in the fifth, most in any single-season. Overall, two Titans headline both the program and Big West records for most in a season with Stephanie Little owning the top slot with 23 round-trippers in 1999 and Taukeiaho's 19 this year for second most.
Monique Wesley (7-6) was given the ball in the circle, tossing five innings for her team-high seventh complete game of the season. The right-hander yielded one run on five hits while issuing two and fanning five Matadors.
To open the game, Taukeiaho roped the first pitch she saw to right center, chalking up her team-high 14th double of the season. Crawford reached base on a fielding error by Maylynn Mitchell. Transfer Paige Kisling entered the contest to pinch run for Crawford, as senior Gabby Aragon later followed by reaching base after being plunked by CSUN starter, Daphne Pofek.
With the bags full, sophomore Samantha Galarza stung a bases clearing double into the left center gap, scoring Aragon, Kisling and Taukeiaho. In front 3-0 in the first frame, Fullerton had now tallied 12 total runs over the past two innings against the Matadors. Galarza finished the day batting 2-for-3, scoring one run while driving in three.
CSUN responded quickly in the bottom of the opening frame as Abby Linn doubled to lead off the Matador inning. Linn advanced to third on a ground out by Taylor Glover. Katie Hooper struck an RBI single up the middle, cutting the deficit down to 3-1. Wesley stranded six Matadors on the base paths the rest of the way, shutting the door on CSUN.
Pofek (5-7) lasted only two innings in the defeat, surrendering three earned runs on four hits while fanning a pair of Titans. Jordan Sauceda entered in relief, lit up for four earned runs on five hits, recording only one out in the third before giving way to the bullpen once again. Jennifer Tyler entered as the third Matador pitcher, tossing the final two and 2/3 innings, her only major blemish occurring when she served up the solo-shot to Taukeiaho in the fifth.
Cal State Fullerton will wait to see if it's in the field of 64 tomorrow as the NCAA postseason bracket will be released on ESPNU at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: This was the first sweep of the Matadors since the Titans took decisions of 8-2, 4-3 and 3-1 at Anderson Family Field in 2009…Over the three-game set with wins of 14-1, 2-0 and 10-1, the Titans posted a daunting scoring advantage of 26-2…Tsuchiyama notched one hit, one RBI and drew one walk in the final game of the senior's career…Aragon was one of two Titans to score a pair of runs, also drawing one walk in her final appearance as a Titan…Fullerton now owns an all-time record of 67-36-1 over the Matadors…With Wesley's win, the Titans pitching staff concludes the regular season with all five pitchers ceasing to post a losing record: Christina Washington (12-6), Jasmine Antunez (10-9), Wesley (7-6), Desiree Ybarra (4-0), Taukeiaho (0-0)… Reaching the 33-win mark to conclude the regular season, the Titans have captured the most wins in a single season since 2007 when Fullerton posted an overall record of 38-23, finishing second in the Big West with a tally of 13-5… Scoring another pair of runs, Taukeiaho concludes the season with 62 on the season, placing her atop the Big West all-time record books for most in a single season...The three-game set at CSUN marked up the first Big West series that the Titans ceased to surrender an error, extending Fullerton's record to 15-5 when yielding zero defense miscues.