Titans Drop Heartbreaker to No. 10 Washington, 5-4, in Nine Innings
March 18, 2006
FULLERTON, CA - Washington's Ashley Charters drove home the go ahead run with an RBI fielder's choice in the ninth inning as the Huskies advanced to Sunday morning's semifinal with a 5-4 win over Cal State Fullerton in extra innings on Saturday night.
The Titans fell to 16-15 overall and fell into the losers bracket to face Oklahoma before the game was cancelled due to rain with Fullerton leading 1-0 in the second. Washington improved to 22-7 and will meet Texas A&M in Sunday morning's second championship semifinal beginning at 10:30 a.m. on field one.
The Huskies jumped out early against Fullerton, plating three runs in the first. Dominique Lastrapes and Charters opened with back-to-back singles and scored when Ashlyn Watson cranked a one-out home run to left field for the 3-0 advantage.
Washington added another run in the fifth on a bases-loaded walk to Dena Tyson to make it 4-0. However, the Titans escaped further damage as starter Candice Baker (11-5) induced Alicia Matthews to ground into a fielders choice and then struck out the final two batters to leave the bases loaded.
Caitlin Noble held the Titan bats silent for the first six innings, racking up 11 strikeouts and allowing only two hits. However, she got into trouble in the seventh as she hit Katie Gollhardt to lead off the inning, allowed a double to Kiki Munoz, and then hit Baker to load the bases.
That's when the floodgates opened as Marissa Marzan laced a single over the shortstop's head and into left field, where it was misplayed by the fielder and rolled all the way to the fence, clearing the bases and making it 4-3.
With Marzan at second, Washington then couldn't field Molly Perez's sacrifice bunt attempt, putting runners at the corners with no outs.
With the pressure now on the defense, Noble then uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Marzan to score and tie the game and moving Perez all the way to third.
That was it for Noble as she was replaced by Danielle Lawrie, who got a groundout and a pair of strikeouts to end the threat.
Fullerton had two golden chances in extra innings, but could not get the runner home from third after sacrifices as Lawrie got a pop up, a ground out, and a pair of strikeouts in the eighth and ninth to halt the Titans' threat.
Washington cashed in on the game-winner in the ninth as Marnie Koziol was placed on second and moved to third on Lastrapes' single through the left side. After Lastrapes stole second, Charters hit a slow bouncer to short, giving Koziol just enough time to sneak under the tag at the place for the go-ahead run.
Baker allowed four earned on 12 hits, walking two and striking out a career-high 18 batters in the loss.
Lawrie (13-4) earned the win, pitching a perfect three innings of relief while striking out four.