April 10, 2011
RIVERSIDE, CA - Sophomore Ariel Tsuchiyama had two hits, including a key two-run home run in the decisive sixth inning, and sophomore right-hander Katey Laban scattered just three hits to earn the win in relief as Cal State Fullerton won its second-straight Big West Conference series with a 4-2 victory over UC Riverside on Sunday afternoon at Amy S. Harrison Field.
The Titans improved to 15-17 overall on the season and 4-2 in conference play, surpassing their win total from all of 2010. The Highlanders fell to 9-22 overall and 2-4 in the Big West with the loss.
Tsuchiyama's second career home run was the big blow late in the game after Fullerton rallied for the tying run in the fifth and redshirt freshman Latisha Dedeaux gave the Titans the lead with an RBI single in the sixth prior to Tsuchiyama's blast.
Kameryn Hebenton gave the Highlanders the early lead, slugging her second home run in as many days in the third inning, pulling a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left with two outs for the 1-0 advantage.
Fullerton then rallied back in the fifth as Adriana Martinez singled and moved to second when a pick-off throw got away from the defense. That brought up freshman Lauren Mario, who singled back through the middle where the ball was misplayed by the centerfielder, allowing Martinez to score and tie the game.
Junior Nicole Johnson the led-off the game-winning rally with a single in the sixth and pinch-runner Jena Rubio moved all the way to third thanks to a passed ball and wild pitch. Dedeaux the fell behind in the count 1-2 before lacing a one-out single into left field, scoring Rubio to make it a 1-1 game. Tsuchiyama then stepped to the plate and took the first pitch from Jordyn McDonald (6-9) over the fence in right centerfield for the 4-1 advantage.
Riverside got one of the runs back in the seventh as Ariel Shore, who reached on a fielder's choice, scored all the way from first on a double by Kameryn Hebenton after an error prolonged the inning. However, Laban (3-4) shut the door, getting a ground ball back to the circle to end the game and nail down her second win of the weekend.
Senior Ari Cervantes started, but earned the no decision after allowing a run on five hits and striking out a pair in four innings of work. Laban then entered with the score tied and held the Highlanders to an unearned run on just three hits to earn the win.
McDonald suffered the loss, allowing three earned on nine hits in the complete-game effort.
Sophomore Ashley Carter joined Tsuchiyama with a pair of hits on the day while Kameryn Hebenton finished 3-for-4 to lead all players.
Cal State Fullerton returns to the field next weekend for its Big West Conference home opener, welcoming Cal Poly to Anderson Family Field for a three-game series on Saturday (April 16) and Sunday (April 17). Play begins at noon on both days.