FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton softball team used a six-run third inning to jump out in front of No. 13 Oklahoma en route to a 7-5 victory over the Sooners Friday night at the Easton Tournament.
The Titans improve to 21-9 overall and have now won eight of their last nine games, while the Sooners drop to 17-5 on the year.
In the all-time series against Oklahoma, Cal State Fullerton leads 11-5 and is 8-2 when playing OU at Anderson Family Field. Additionally, the Titans are 2-1 against the Sooners under head coach Kelly Ford who is an Oklahoma alumna.
"Oklahoma is such a well-coached and seasoned team," Ford said. "I'm so proud of this team for bouncing back. We did not start off well. We started out in the tank and it almost felt like we couldn't pull out of it, and somehow, we came back.
"We just really tried to simplify it and take it pitch-by-pitch and at the end of the day, they handled it. They came back and it was amazing."
Cal State Fullerton started senior left-hander Desiree Ybarra who found herself in a jam in the top of the first. A pair of one-out singles followed by a passed ball put Oklahoma on the board, 1-0.
Trailing by one run, Ybarra walked the bases loaded then surrendered another base on balls to drive in the second run of the game. A two-out single by Kady Self made it 3-0 Sooners before Ybarra struck out the No. 9 hitter in Kelsey Arnold to end the inning.
OU starter Paige Parker (7-3) kept the Titans off the board until the third inning when Cal State Fullerton exploded for six runs on two hits, while taking advantage of two Sooner miscues as the Titans sent 12 batters to the plate.
Delynn Rippy led off the bottom of the third with a base on balls and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Fullerton's leadoff hitter, Samantha Vandiver, singled to center to put runners at the corners for senior third baseman Missy Taukeiaho who reached on a fielding error, which led to Rippy scoring to make it a 3-1 ballgame.
Parker walked in the tying run after issuing a base on balls to Sydney Colenzo, who picked up her 12th RBI of the year. Ybarra came to the plate and roped a two-run single off the rightfield wall to give the Titans a 5-3 lead with still just one out in the frame.
Oklahoma made a pitching change and pulled Parker, who would suffer the loss and fall to 7-3 on the year, to make way for Jayden Chestnut.
With Chestnut in the circle, the Titans tacked on one more run which scored on a fielding error to make it a 6-3 CSF lead.
Ybarra came out in the top of the fourth and got the first two batters out, but gave up a hard-hit double off the wall to Erin Miller which ended her night as freshman Sydney Golden took the circle in relief.
Golden ended the fourth on a strikeout, but ran into some trouble in the fifth as the Sooners capitalized on an error which allowed the leadoff runner, Sydney Romero, to reach base. Following a walk and back-to-back base hits, Romero would score and cut the Titans' lead to two (6-4).
The Sooners loaded the bases with one out and Golden managed to get the second out of the inning on a comebacker to the circle as she threw home to get the force and preserve the two-run lead. However, an inside pitch to Caleigh Clifton would get away from Golden and hit Clifton to bring in the Sooners' fifth run of the game.
Cal State Fullerton added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth as Taukeiaho led off the inning with a double to centerfield. The Titans manufactured the run with a sacrifice bunt followed by a sac fly to regain their two-run lead.
Golden came out in the seventh and retired the side in order to pick up her 10th win of the season after pitching 3.1 innings in relief. She allowed two runs (both unearned) on two hits, while striking out two and walking one.
Ybarra was credited with a no decision after tossing 3.2 innings of work and allowing three runs (all unearned) on five hits, while fanning four and walking three.
Parker suffered the loss after surrendering six runs, four of which were earned, on four hits, while walking four and fanning three.
Chestnut pitched 3.2 innings in relief and allowed just one run on two hits. She struck out four and walked two.
Taukeiaho led the Titans' offense as she was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. She was the only Titan to record a multi-hit game. Ybarra was 1-for-1 at the plate with two RBIs, while Colenzo was 1-for-2 with one walk, a run scored and a run batted in.
Cal State Fullerton continues action in the Easton Tournament Saturday, March 19, when the Titans take on Arkansas at 6:30 p.m.