FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton softball team scored in every inning and posted a dozen runs with the help of Missy Taukeiaho's grand slam in the third as the Titans routed the Highlanders of UC Riverside 12-2 in five innings to complete the three-game sweep Sunday afternoon.
The Titans have won three games in a row and eight of their last nine as they improve to 28-10 overall and 3-0 in Big West play. Meanwhile, the Highlanders fall to 23-12-1 on the season and drop to 0-3 in league action.
As has been the pattern for Cal State Fullerton as of late, the Titans scored early as they tallied three runs in the bottom of the first inning to give starting pitcher, Jasmine Antunez, a three-run lead to work with.
In the first inning, the Titans loaded the bases with nobody out after Samantha Vandiver, Taukeiaho and Alexis Gonzalez reached on a pair of singles and a walk, respectively. Sarah Moore and Melissa Sechrest both pulled the ball to the right side of the field grounding out to first, but plating Vandiver and Taukeiaho, respectively, in the process on consecutive and identical plays.
Courtney Rodriguez drove a double back up the middle to score Gonzalez and give Fullerton a 3-0 lead.
Cal State Fullerton added to its lead in the bottom of the second as the Titans capitalized on a UCR error and took a 4-0 advantage.
The Highlanders managed to cut the Titans' lead in half after scoring two runs in the third on a two-run double by Chelsey Holley. Following the double, Cerissa Rivera was brought in to relieve Antunez and she finished the inning without allowing another run.
In the bottom of the frame, Rodriguez sent a one-out single down the leftfield line and Ariana Williams came in to pinch run. She immediately stole second then moved to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a single by Megan Estacio who earned her first start of the year at short.
The Titans loaded the bases and with two outs and full count, Taukeiaho launched her fifth home run of the year over the left-centerfield wall. The grand slam was the first of the season for Taukeiaho and it gave Cal State Fullerton a 9-2 lead over UC Riverside.
Christina Washington came in and pitched the fourth and fifth innings for the Titans without allowing a run. She allowed three hits and struck out two in the relief appearance.
Despite owning a seven-run lead, the Titans' offense was not done. Fullerton added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth on a hit batter, a base hit, two errors and a pair of walks.
Rivera was credited with the win – her third of the year. During her outing, she allowed just one walk.
UCR's starter Tayler Misfeldt (14-8) suffered the loss after pitching just 1.0 inning and allowing three runs on as many hits, while issuing one walk.
Taukeiaho finished the game batting 2-for-3 with a grand slam, four RBIs and three runs scored. Estacio was 1-for-2 with two runs and an RBI, while Rodriguez was 2-for-2 with a run batted in.
Cal State Fullerton continues Big West Conference action at Cal Poly on Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10. The Titans and the Mustangs face off in a Saturday doubleheader that begins at 1 p.m., before closing out the series with a 1 p.m., game on Sunday.