Titans Split to Open 2011 DeMarini Invite

March 4, 2011

Box Score - IPFW | Box Score - Iowa

FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team opened the 2011 DeMarini Invitational with a split of its first two tournament contests on Friday night, shutting out IPFW, 2-0, before falling to Iowa in the nightcap, 5-1.

The Titans, who won back-to-back games for the first time this season with their victory in the opener, moved to 4-8 overall on the season in their home debut while the Mastodons fell to 4-2-1 overall and the Hawkeyes improved to 8-6 on the season.

In the opener, senior Ari Cervantes twirled a three-hit shutout while Eliza Crawford and Sammie Dabbs each finished with a pair of hits as Fullerton won its home opener for the third time in the last four seasons.

Cervantes (3-4) allowed just three singles, two of them by IPFW's Ashleigh Bousquet, and struck out a pair in the complete-game victory, facing just five over the minimum. Courtney Cronin (3-1) suffered her first loss of the season in the circle, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out three.

The contest was a pitchers duel until the Titans broke through in the fourth as K.C. Craddick walked to lead-off the inning and pinch-runner Jena Rubio moved up 60 feet on a sacrifice by Nicole Johnson. That brought up Crawford, who reached on an infield single, but rounded the base and attempted to move to second when Rubio rounding third distracted the IPFW fielder.

The Mastodons then threw to second to catch Crawford, but it was enough to allow Rubio to come home on the throw to make it a 1-0 game.

A pair of singles by Craddick and Crawford plated the Titans' second run, the latter a shot back up the middle to score Craddick from second base and make it 2-0.

That was more than enough for Cervantes and the defense as Fullerton standed five IPFW baserunners, including a pair in scoring position in the sixth, and induced a game-ending double play back to the circle to close it out.

In the nightcap, Liz Watkins' third-inning grand slam proved to be the difference, keying a five-run inning and lifting the Hawkeyes to the 5-1 victory.

Chelsea Lyon (3-4) earned the win in the circle for Iowa, allowing a run on five hits and striking out four. Katey Laban (0-3) suffered the loss for Fullerton, allowing four runs on four hits and walking three in two innings of work.

The Titans threatened early, leaving two in scoring position in the first, but the Hawkeyes were the first to break through in the third as an infield single by Ashley Akers and a stolen base set the table for Chelsey Carmody, who doubled to left centerfield two pitches later for the 1-0 lead.

Iowa kept the pressure on with a single and a walk to load the bases and force Laban from the game in favor of Cervantes. Watkins wasted no time in extending the Hawkeyes' lead, taking the first pitch over the wall in right to clear the bases and make it 5-0.

Fullerton rallied to get one of the runs back in the fourth as a lead-off double from Lauren Mario led to a run as she moved to third on a groundout and scored four batters later when Torrie Anderson reached on a two-out infield hit that saw Crawford beat out a play at second to prolong the inning and allow Mario to score.

The Titans would get lead-off runners on in the fifth and sixth to no avail and got a two-out double from Ariel Tsuchiyama, but Lyon closed the door with a flyball to right to end the game.

Tsuchiyama finished with two hits to lead Fullerton while Carmody and Stephanie Ochoa each finished with a pair of hits to lead Iowa.

Cal State Fullerton has just one game on day two of tournament play, facing Southern Miss on Saturday (March 5) at 6 p.m.