Titans Lose Heartbreaker to Penn State in Nine Innings, 6-5
March 15, 2007
FULLERTON, CA - Penn State's Jen Reynolds snapped a 5-5 tie with a two-out RBI single in the top of the ninth inning and reliever Ashley Esparza stranded the tying run at third as the Nittany Lions edged host Cal State Fullerton, 6-5, in nine innings on day two of the Judi Garman Classic on Thursday night at Anderson Family Field.
The Titans fell to 0-2 in pool play for the tournament and 14-11 overall after a loss to No. 8 Texas on Wednesday night. Penn State evened its record at 10-10 overall and moved to 1-0 in pool play with the win.
Trailing by a run entering the bottom of the seventh, sophomore Courtney Martinez laced a line drive over the fence in left centerfield for her fourth home run of the season to make it 4-4.
The Nittany Lions scored first under the international tie breaker format in the eighth as Ashley Griffith singled through the left side, plating Sam Hovanec with the go-ahead run to make it 5-4.
Fullerton answered with a run in the bottom of the frame as junior Crystal Vieyra singled to the gap in left centerfield, scoring Ashley Van Boxmeer with the tying run from second base to make it 5-5.
Penn State regained the lead in the ninth as Reynolds sent the first pitch from Titan pitcher Candice Baker (8-6) into centerfield, scoring pinch-runner Kelsey Francisco with the go-ahead run.
Cal State Fullerton could not answer again in the ninth as Baker was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, but Esparza (3-4) induced Martinez into a flyout and got Kiki Munoz to ground out to first base to end the game.
Esparza, who also added two hits at the plate for the Nittany Lions, earned the win, allowing two earned runs on five hits, walking one and striking out four in 5 2/3 innings of relief in the circle.
Baker suffered the loss in relief of starter Doucette, allowing only one earned run on four hits and striking out four in five innings.
Penn State jumped out to the quick lead on an RBI fielder's choice by Hollee Haines in the first as Griffith beat the throw to the plate with the bases loaded to make it 1-0.
The Nittany Lions made it 3-0 in the second as Jen Acunto, who finished 3-for-5, sent a shot over the fence in left centerfield for her fourth home run of the season, plating Meghan Wolfer ahead of her to increse PSU's lead.
Fullerton answered back with two runs in the fourth on an RBI hit by Vieyra and a run-scoring ground out by Baker to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Penn State got one of the runs back in the sixth on an RBI single by Griffth to make it 4-2, but the Titans responded with a run scoring infield single off the pitcher by Sheila Holguin, plating Van Boxmeer to make it 4-3.
Vieyra and sophomore Lauren Lupinetti each had two hits for the Titans, who out-hit the Nittany Lions, 9-8, on the night. The top three batters in the Penn State batting order accounted for seven of the team's eight hits.
Cal State Fullerton concludes pool play in the tournament on Friday afternoon at approximately 4 p.m. as the Titans take on No. 21 DePaul.