LONG BEACH, Calif. – Freshman right-hander Sydney Golden pitched five shutout innings en route to collecting her eighth win of the season as she guided Cal State Fullerton to a 9-2 win over Utah Valley on Friday at the Louisville Slugger Invitational hosted by Long Beach State.
The win marked Cal State Fullerton's (14-8) first-ever victory over Utah Valley (4-19) as the two teams met for just the second time in program history. A year ago, the Wolverines upended the Titans at the Wilson/Demarini Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., in their inaugural meeting.
Today, however, was a different story as the Titans received another strong showing from Golden (8-2) who pitched 5.0 innings of work, while scattering four hits and striking out three. The Riverside, Calif., native did not allow a walk or a run in her outing.
Kelsey Ensign got the start for the Wolverines and managed to keep the Titans off the board during her time in the circle as she pitched 2.1 innings to start the game before making way for Makayla Shadle (1-2).
Shadle took the circle and had a rough fourth inning as the Titans batted around in the frame and scored four runs on three hits and took advantage of a pair of Wolverine errors.
Sarah Moore and Melissa Sechrest kicked off the fourth drawing back-to-back walks and Courtney Rodriguez loaded the bases with a bunt single. Sydney Colenzo roped a one-out RBI-single to left field scoring Moore to put the Titans on the board.
Following Colenzo's base hit, Shianne Brannan singled back up the middle driving in two more runs to give the Titans a 3-0 lead. Cal State Fullerton added its final run of the frame on a sacrifice fly to left from Samantha Vandiver as the Titans took a 4-0 lead into the fifth inning.
Nyah Rodman came on in relief of Golden and got into a jam in the sixth inning. After striking out the first batter she faced, Rodman hit Kendall Ohman with a pitch and walked Tiani Hensley to put runners on first and second with just one out. Brittney Vansway cut the Titans' lead in half after doubling to right field and bringing in Ohman and Hensley.
With Vansway on second and still just one out and the tying run coming to the plate, Cal State Fullerton made a pitching change and brought in Desiree Ybarra who put runners at the corners before retiring the final two batters.
Holding a two-run lead, the Titans tacked on five more runs in the frame to push the contest out of reach.
Once again, Fullerton sent nine batters to the plate and capitalized on a fielding error by Utah Valley. Brannan reached on the miscue, while a single by Vandiver and a walk to Missy Taukeiaho loaded the bases for Alexis Gonzalez who singled back up the middle to drive in Brannan and Vandiver. Sechrest singled to right bringing in Taukeiaho as the Titans extended their lead to five (7-2).
Utah Valley made its second pitching change of the inning as Ensign came back in to relieve Dynasty Lauvai. With Ensign back in the circle, Cal State Fullerton tacked on two final runs, which were credited to Lauvai after Ariana Williams legged out an infield single which plated Sechrest and Moore to make it a 9-2 ballgame.
Ybarra finished out the game to preserve the win for the Titans as they have now won five of their last seven contests.
Gonzalez, Brannan and Williams each had two RBIs in the game, while Moore and Sechrest each scored twice.
The Titans finished the game with nine hits as each one of the Fullerton starters recorded a base hit in the game.
Cal State Fullerton continues action in the Louisville Slugger Invitational Saturday, March 12 against Mississippi State and Princeton at 10 a.m., and 12:30 p.m., respectively.