Feb. 19, 2006
LAS VEGAS, NHV - Cal State Fullerton junior Ashley Van Boxmeer homered twice and drove in five while sophomore Jenna Wheeler added another long ball as the Titans closed out the 2006 Louisville Slugger Desert Classic with a 9-3 victory over Notre Dame on a bone-chilling Sunday morning in Las Vegas, Nev.
Fullerton evened its record at 5-5 overall and finished the tournament with two straight wins and a 3-2 record overall.
Van Boxmeer finished 2-3 with her first two round-trippers of the year and three runs scored. Wheeler, who also smacked a three-run home run, and sophomore Amanda Kamekona also had multiple hits on the afternoon as the Titans posted a season-high in runs scored.
With morning temperatures hovering around 40 degrees, Cal State Fullerton jumped out early against Irish starter Heather Booth as Kamekona led off the game with a single, moved to second after Crystal Vieyra was hit by a pitch, and ended up at third on Candice Baker's fielder's choice.
That brought up Van Boxmeer, who slammed a 1-2 pitch deep to right for her first home run of the season and a 3-0 Titans' lead.
Fullerton tacked on a couple more in the third when Baker led off the inning with a double to knock Booth out of the game in favor Brittney Bargar, who promptly gave up Van Boxmeer's second home run of the game on a full count pitch halfway up the screen to deep centerfield to make it 5-0.
Notre Dame got two runs back in the fourth on solo home runs by Linda Kohan and Meagan Ruthrauff, making it 5-2. The Irish continued to threaten in the inning, loading the bases on a pair of walks and a hit batter, but Baker and the Titans' defense wriggled off the hook, inducing Alexandra Kotcheff into an inning-ending ground out to end the threat.
Wheeler got those two runs back plus another for good measure in the fifth as Van Boxmeer reached on a lead-off walk and moved to third on Tiffany Hoff's double to right. After a groundout, Wheeler hit the first pitch from Bargar deep off the screen down the left field line, knocking Bargar out of the game and giving the Titans an 8-2 lead.
The score remained that way until the seventh when Fullerton added a run on a two-out balk by Irish reliever Kenya Fuemmler, scoring Wheeler from third and making it 9-2.
Notre Dame added a harmless run in its half of the seventh on an RBI single by Mallorie Lenn for the final score.
Baker (4-1) earned the win, allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out eight for the third consecutive start. Booth suffered the loss, allowing four runs on four hits in two innings.
Cal State Fullerton closes out the month of February in Cathedral City, Calif., next weekend at the Palm Springs Classic hosted by Oregon State. The Titans open the tournament on Friday (Feb. 24) against Kansas and Illinois-Chicago at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively.