NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton softball team dropped game one by a score of 3-1 before defeating CSUN 6-1 in the night cap en route to splitting a doubleheader on Saturday at Matador Diamond in Northridge, Calif.
The Titans and Matadors began game one on Friday afternoon and got through three innings before the contest was suspended due to rain. The conference foes came back on Saturday to complete the halted game and play game two as they finished the day with a split.
Cal State Fullerton improves to 40-13 overall and 14-3 in Big West action, while CSUN moves to 31-20 on the year and 11-6 in league play. If the Titans hold off the Matadors in the rubber game on Sunday, they will clinch their ninth Big West Championship.
Game 1: CSUN 3, Cal State Fullerton 1
In a game that stretched over two days due to a suspension after three innings because of rain, CSUN came away with the 3-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton with the help of a pair of long balls.
The Matadors scored two runs in the bottom of the first after an RBI-double by Taylor Glover followed by a solo home run by Savannah Horvath to put the hosts up 2-0 on Desiree Ybarra and the Titans.
Ybarra got out of the first inning and shut down the Matadors in the second and third matching CSUN's Daphne Pofek in the circle.
Pofek, Ybarra's cousin, tossed 3.0 scoreless innings in which she allowed just two hits before the game was suspended heading into the top of the fourth.
Coming back out the following day, Pofek surrendered a solo home run to Melissa Sechrest to put the Titans on the board. Sechrest's shot marked her fifth of the season and cut the Matadors' lead in half as the Titans moved the score to 2-1.
Ybarra took the circle in the bottom of the fourth and promptly gave up a solo homer to Karlie Habitz as the Matadors regained their two-run lead (3-1).
Following the solo shot, Cal State Fullerton brought in Sydney Golden to replace Ybarra. The freshman right-hander was solid in the final 3.0 innings of action as she did not allow another run to cross the plate and allowed just one hit, while striking out one.
However, the Titans' offense was unable to come alive as they could not muster more than the one run from Sechrest.
Pofek (18-6) earned the win after tossing a complete game and allowing just one run on four hits, while fanning three and walking two.
Ybarra (13-6) suffered the loss after surrendering three runs on five hits in 3.0+ innings of work.
Game 2: Cal State Fullerton 6, CSUN 1
The Titans' offense did not waste any time in the nightcap as Alexis Gonzalez blasted her team-leading ninth home run of the season – a two-run shot – over the leftfield fence to put Cal State Fullerton up 2-0. The two runs would be all the Titans would need as Golden took the circle and was dominant.
The freshman from Riverside, Calif., effectively shut down the Matadors and did not allow a run until the sixth inning.
The Titans tacked on another run in the fifth inning to take a 3-0 lead, before the Matadors plated their only run of game on a solo homer by Horvath to make it a 3-1 ball game.
With a two-run lead, Cal State Fullerton added three runs in the top of the seventh to put the game out of reach.
Samantha Vandiver reached on a fielder's choice and moved to third on a double to the left-centerfield gap by Missy Taukieaho. With runners at second and third with two out, Sechrest sent her second homer of the day over the rightfield wall to give the Titans a 6-1 advantage.
Golden came out in the seventh and shut the Matadors down with the help of the Titans' defense behind her as Cal State Fullerton recorded its third double play of the game to preserve the win.
Golden (17-4) collected the win after pitching 7.0 innings of work and allowing just one run on nine hits.
Pofek (18-7) suffered the loss after giving up six runs, five of which were earned, on 10 hits, while striking out three in 7.0 innings pitched.
Sechrest finished the game batting 1-for-4 with three RBIs and one run scored, while Gonzalez was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Courtney Rodriguez was 2-for-4, while Vandiver was 1-for-4 with three runs and Delynn Rippy was 2-for-3.
The Titans and Matadors will conclude the three-game series on Sunday, May 8 at 12 noon.