Titans Salvage Finale With Highlanders
April 22, 2012
FULLERTON, CA - Senior Adriana Martinez's ground ball off the pitcher's glove scored Leesa Harris from third with the game-winning run, breaking a 4-4 tie and helping Cal State Fullerton to a 5-4 victory over UC Riverside on Sunday afternoon at Anderson Family Field.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Titans, who salvaged the series finale with the Highlanders and improved to 17-23 overall and 5-7 in Big West Conference play. Riverside, which won only its second series with Fullerton in the history of the series, fell to 20-24 overall and 3-9 in conference play.
After UCR tied the game with a run in its half of the inning, Harris got the Titans' rally started in the bottom of the seventh, looping a short double to the gap in left centerfield to lead-off the frame. Junior Ashley Carter's sacrifice was then bobbled at the bag for an error to bring up Martinez, who bounced a grounder off the pitcher's glove, but right to the second baseman.
Alaina Thomas came up firing to the plate, but her throw was too late to catch the speedy Harris, who scored for the second time on the afternoon to clinch the victory.
Freshman left-hander Desiree Ybarra (11-12) earned the win, allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out two in the complete-game win. Jordyn McDonald (9-13) suffered the loss, allowing five runs on nine hits while striking out a pair.
The long ball dominated early on as the first five runs of the game came around to score on home runs. Nicole Johnson, who finished 3-for-3 for the Titans, slugged her seventh of the year with two outs in the first for the early lead before the Highlanders responded with back-to-back home runs in the second by Dionne Anderson (her third) and Kaylie Atkinson (her fourth) to gain the advantage.
Sophomore Jena Rubio responded with another solo shot in the second, her second of the season, to tie things up at two apiece before Atkinson responded with her second of the game to left centerfield in the fifth for a, 3-2, Riverside lead.
The Titans rallied to regain the lead with a pair in the fifth with Harris, again, the catalyst. Her one out single led to her 12th stolen base of the year and she came around to score on Martinez's single to left to make it 3-3. Johnson then followed with a double down the left field line, scoring Martinez for a 4-3 advantage.
A lead-off single by Jojo Mendoza brought Riverside back once again as pinch runner Halle Luna was sacrificed to second and scored when Kayla White doubled to the gap in right centerfield, tying the game and setting up Fullerton's game-winning rally.
Rubio and Harris joined Johnson with multiple hits on the day while White, Anderson, and Atkinson all had two hits apiece for the Highlanders.
Cal State Fullerton hits the road for the final time this season next week with a single mid-week contest at San Diego State on Wednesday (April 25) at 6 p.m. before opening a three-game series at Cal State Northridge on April 28-29 at Matador Diamond.