FULLERTON, Calif. — The Cal State Fullerton softball team were led by junior Desiree Ybarra who notched her first two victories of the season in a seventh-inning rally over No. 21 Notre Dame, 8-7, and a 6-4 decision over Northwestern State in day two of the SoCal Collegiate Challenge at Anderson Family Field on Saturday.
With another pair of victories, the Titans reach 4-0, while Notre Dame falls to 3-1 and Northwestern State remains winless (0-4).
Cal State Fullerton will host No. 21 Notre Dame for a second meeting in the tournament finale at 10 a.m.
GAME ONE: Cal State Fullerton 8, No. 21 Notre Dame 7
In a back and forth game with three lead changes heading into the bottom of the seventh trailing 7-6, Cal State Fullerton had three last outs to muster up a come from behind victory.
CSF sophomore Kylie Padilla reached base after being hit by a pitch, followed by junior Samantha Galarza reaching base on a fielder's choice off Notre Dame relief pitcher Allie Rhodes (1-1). Freshman Shianne Brannan singled to right driving in Padilla to tie the contest. Junior Sarah Moore drew a walk to load the bases. Fullerton, Calif., native Gabby Rodas fouled off pitch after pitch to eventually draw a walk to drive in the game-winning run to seal Cal State Fullerton's first win over a top 25 team in 2015.
The Titans' offense was led by reigning Big West Player of the Year Missy Taukeiaho, who registered a 3-for-3 performance, driving in a pair of RBIs in her first two-homer game as a Titan. Mizzou transfer Sarah Moore (1-for-2) also launched her first career round-tripper as a Titan, concluding the game with two RBIs and one walk.
Getting the start for the Titans was Christina Washington, who labored in five innings surrendering five earned runs on seven hits. Jasmine Antunez came in for relief, but failed to record an out after yielding three consecutive walks. After picking up her first save of the season in a 3-1 victory over Idaho St. last night, Desiree Ybarra (1-0) notched her first victory after tossing the final two frames giving up just one run on two hits.
Rhodes suffered the loss after surrendering three runs on three hits as another trio of walks proved to be the difference. Fighting Irish starter Rachel Nasland tossed four innings giving up five runs on nine hits, while striking out a pair.
GAME TWO: Cal State Fullerton 6, Northwestern State 4
The Titans used a five-run third inning to hold on for a 6-4 victory over the Demons behind five innings of relief from CSF's Desiree Ybarra (2-0). The Riverside, Calif., struck out two while yielding three runs on six hits.
The scoring barrage began in the third as Cal State Fullerton's Delynn Rippy, Paige Kisling and Missy Taukeiaho each singled to load the bases off of Demons' starter Baylee Gray (0-2). Junior Courtney Rodriguez cleared the bases with a three-run double to put the Titans on top 3-0.
Senior Eliza Crawford continued the attack with an RBI single, while junior Samantha Galarza later followed with a groundout to score Brooke Clemetson, who replaced Crawford as a pinch runner earlier in the frame.
Gray was lit up for six runs (five earned) in four innings, allowing eight hits. Micaela Bouvier tossed two scoreless innings in relief for the Demons, but the NSU offense came up short to complete the rally.
Rodriguez tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of fourth with her second double of the game, lining it down the right field line scoring Paige Kisling, who reached on a fielder's choice earlier in the frame. Rodriguez turned in a 2-for-3 performance to raise her batting average to .462 on the season. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native drove in a season-high four RBIs in the win.
Rippy (2-for-3) produced her second consecutive multi-hit game, while Taukeiaho (2-for-4) continues to rake opponents, hitting at a .538 clip from the leadoff position.
NSU threatened in the seventh as Hailee Rhodes led off the frame with a single down the left field line. Demons' second baseman Micayla Sorosiak followed with a towering two-run homer to straight away center, but Ybarra forced two ground outs to Kellye Kincannon and Cassandra Barefield to stifle the rally.
Game Notes: The Titans and Fighting Irish combined for a season-high five long balls…Fullerton last defeated a top 25 opponent on Feb. 21, 2014 in a 6-1 decision over then No. 15 Baylor…The Titans snapped a three-game losing skid to Notre Dame, while defeating Northwestern State for the first time in program history (2-1)…Aside from last season's 6-0 start, the Titans most recent 4-0 opening to the season was in 2000 when the squad reeled off 11 straight wins...Cal State Fullerton has now eclipsed the 1,400-win mark in program history (1,400-727-6, .656). Over the 35-plus year history of the program, the Titans have captured one national championship (1986), eight conference championships (1986-87, 1993, 2000-03, 2006), 25 NCAA tournament appearances (1982-96, 1999-03, 2005-09), six Women's College World Series appearances (1982-83, 1985-87, 1995), and have produced 29 All-Americans for 38 selections.