FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton softball team received a strong showing from senior Missy Taukeiaho as the Titans kicked off the year with a pair of wins over UT San Antonio and San Diego State at the Titan Classic on Friday. Fullerton opened the day with a 13-1 five-inning rout over UTSA before defeating SDSU 8-4 in the night cap.
With the wins, the Titans improve to 2-0, while the Roadrunners of UTSA fall to 0-2 and the Aztecs move to 1-1.
Game 1: Cal State Fullerton 13, UTSA 1 (5 innings)
The first game of the day for Fullerton was an offensive explosion as the Titans racked up five runs in the first and followed that up with eight runs in the second.
In the first inning, CSF sent all nine batters to the plate and registered four hits. Sophomore Samantha Vandiver led off the game with a single up the middle and Taukeiaho laced a double to left to bring the first run across. Senior Courtney Rodriguez followed suit and roped a double of her own, this time down the right field line which scored Taukeiaho and made it a 2-0 ballgame.
Rodriguez moved the score to 3-0 after scoring on an error. Sophomore Brooke Clemetson pinch ran for senior Melissa Sechrest, who drew a walk, and later came around to score on a single to left off the bat of junior Sydney Colenzo. Colenzo capped the scoring for the frame after scoring on a subsequent error.
Despite putting an end to the scoring surge, the Road Runners made a pitching change as starter Zoe Bacon, a freshman righty, (0-1) exited the game after pitching just 0.1 innings before making way for junion left-hander Chelsea Parker.
In the circle for the Titans, freshman right-hander Sydney Golden (1-0) did a good job of shutting down the Road Runners as she kept them scoreless until the third inning. She picked up her first collegiate victory after pitching 3.0 innings and allowing just one run on three hits.
The Titans' offense gave Golden a very comfortable margin to work with after they batted around in the second inning sending 13 hitters to the plate and tallying eight runs.
During the second inning, Fullerton led off the frame with five straight hits – four singles and a double from Taukeiaho. After Parker stuck out Colenzo, the Titans were back to their aggressive style of play as they capitalized on two singles, a double, a fielder's choice and an error to send a total of eight runs across the plate.
Cal State Fullerton forced UTSA to utilize three pitchers in five innings, while the Titans brought in junior southpaw Christina Washington to relieve Golden. Washington pitched the final two innings of work and retired all six batters she faced.
Taukeiaho and Rodriguez finished the game batting 3-for-3. All three of Taukeiaho's hits were doubles as she drove in three and scored a run. Rodriguez scored two and collected a pair of RBIs in the win. Vandiver also contributed to the Titans' offense as she was 2-for-3 with three runs scored.
UTSA's offense struggled as it collected just three hits from Alyssa Cummings, Madison Kinley and Jade Smith.
Game 2: Cal State Fullerton 8, San Diego State 4
Coming back out for the nightcap, the Titans' offense did not miss a beat. They registered eight runs and spread them out over seven innings as Fullerton scored in every inning except the sixth.
The Titans got a solid outing from redshirt senior lefty Desiree Ybarra (1-0) as she pitched 5.0 innings of work allowing just one run and striking out four.
With Ybarra keeping the Aztecs' offense to a minimum, the Titans' bats tacked on a couple of runs throughout the game.
In the bottom of the first, Cal State Fullerton led off with back-to-back single from Vandiver and Taukeiaho. Vandiver registered the first run of the game after she came in on a throwing error. Taukeiaho moved around the bases and eventually came around to score on a grounder hit to second.
Fullerton tacked on another two runs – one in the second and another in the third. The run in the third came courtesy of a solo shot to right field from Taukeiaho.
After the Aztecs managed to get a run across in the top of the fourth, the Titans countered with a pair in the bottom of the frame as they took advantage of an error to push the score to 6-1.
Sechrest led off the fifth with a home run to straight away center field to extend Cal State Fullerton's lead to six (7-1). The Titans added their final run of the game on a grounder to short that plated Colenzo who had reached on a two-base error and moved to third on a fielder's choice.
Junior righty Cerissa Rivera came on in relief of Ybarra in the sixth and walked three straight batters before exiting the game. The first base on balls later came around to score on a fielder's choice while senior right-hander Jasmine Antunez was in the circle.
Antunez got the Titans out of the sixth but found herself in a jam in the top of the seventh after giving up a lead-off double followed by a pair of base hits. She surrendered two runs – one earned – before retiring the next three batters to end the game and secure the win for the Titans
The Titan Classic continues Saturday, Feb. 13 beginning at 11 a.m. Cal State Fullerton will play in the final two games of the day at 4 p.m. against Weber State followed by a 6:30 p.m. contest against Canisius. Live stats, video and audio will be available on FullertonTitans.com.