April 2, 2010
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team put together its best offensive showing of the 2010 season on Friday night, opening Big West Conference play with a pair of run-rule victories over visiting UC Santa Barbara by the scores of 10-1 in five innings and 12-3 in six innings at Anderson Family Field.
The Titans (7-27 overall, 2-0 in Big West play) put together back-to-back wins for only the second time this season, notching a season-high 16 hits in Friday's second game and scoring 10-or-more runs in a game for only the second and third times this season. The Gauchos fell to 9-24 overall, 0-2 in conference play with the doubleheader sweep.
Fullerton slugged six home runs on the night, including four in the nightcap, as sophomores Nicole Johnson, who finished with seven RBI on the night and was 5-for-8 at the plate with five runs scored overall, and Trina Harrison each hit a pair - including a grand slam apiece in the second game - while junior Ari Cervantes and junior Natalie DeLeese added to the total.
In the opener, the Titans jumped out to the early lead, sending all nine batters to the plate in the first two innings and they never looked back, scoring seven runs in the first two frames and riding an eight-hitter from Cervantes en route to the 10-1 victory.
Johnson's first home run of the night, a three-run shot in the first for her second round-tripper of the year, staked Fullerton to the advantage and the Titans tacked on four more runs in the second on a two-run shot by Harrison (her eighth) an RBI infield hit by DeLeese and a throwing error for the 7-0 advantage.
Three more runs in the fourth on RBI hits from DeLeese and Cervantes was more than enough for Fullerton as Cervantes (3-13) shut down the speedy Gauchos' offense, allowing only three of their eight hits to reach the outfield and posting a shutout until the fifth when UCSB scored its lone run on an infield hit by pinch-hitter Allison Taylor.
Five Titans finished with two hits on the night with Cervantes, Johnson, Harrison, and DeLeese driving home at least two runs apiece. Jessica Beristianos was 2-for-3 with a run scored to lead the Gauchos.
Lindsey Correa (3-8) suffered the loss, lasting just five batters in the start without recording an out. She surrendered three runs on two hits and walked three before giving way to MeLinda Matsumoto, who allowing five earned on 10 hits in four innings.
In the nightcap, it was all Fullerton after a slow start as six of the team's 16 hits went for extra base hits and the Titans piled on late to clinch the 12-3 victory.
It was UC Santa Barbara's turn to get on the board first as the Gauchos manufactured the first run of the contest. Jessica Ziegler reached on an infield hit, stole second, was sacrificed to third and scored on Katie McWhirter's RBI single to centerfield for the 1-0 lead.
That advantage didn't last long as the Titans responded to regain the lead for good in their half of the first as Cervantes slugged her third home run of the year to tie the game and junior K.C. Craddick doubled home Johnson for the 2-1 lead.
Two hits and a one-out walk set the stage for Johnson in the second as she set the second pitch from Krista Cobb (2-8) over the fence in center field for her second career grand slam and a 6-1 lead.
UCSB continued to chip away with a pair of runs in the third as a run-scoring fielder's choice by Beristianos and an infield hit by Tiffany Corder closed the gap to 6-3, and the game remained tight until Fullerton opened the floodgates in the sixth.
The Gauchos and Titans combined to strand nine runners until the bottom of the sixth as the Titans loaded the bases for Harrison, who took the first pitch from Cobb over the fence in left for the team's second grand slam of the night and a 10-3 lead. That hit knocked Cobb from the game in favor of Jenny Liepman, but the sophomore didn't fare much better as a single and a fielder's choice brought up DeLeese, who slugged the first pitch she saw over the fence in center field for her first career home run at the Division I level to end the game.
Redshirt freshman Katey Laban started for the Titans, but earned the no decision after going three innings and allowing one earned on five hits in that span. Redshirt sophomore Krystal Heinle (2-6) earned the win in relief, allowing just two hits over the final three innings to nail down the win.
Johnson and Craddick each finished with three hits in the nightcap to pace all players while three other Titans logged multiple hits. Jessica Ziegler (2-for-4, two runs) and Lainey DePompa (2-for-3) had two hits apiece to lead the charge for the Gauchos.
The two teams return to the diamond to close out their three-game series on Saturday afternoon (April 3) at 12 p.m.