April 23, 2011
DAVIS, CA - The second of two errors in the top of the seventh plated sophomore Ashley Carter with the winning run and senior Ari Cervantes stranded the tying and winning runs on base in the bottom of the inning, helping lift visiting Cal State Fullerton to a 1-0 pitcher's duel victory over UC Davis on Saturday afternoon at La Rue Field.
The win moved the Titans (20-18, 9-3) two games above .500 for the first time this season, winning their fourth consecutive Big West Conference series at the halfway point of the league schedule. Fullerton, which matched its conference win total from all of 2010 (9-12 in league play), has won seven of its last eight and 12 of 16 overall while holding on to a share of the Big West lead with Pacific, which completed its sweep of UC Riverside with a 5-4 walk-off win.
The Aggies, who committed three errors on the afternoon, suffered their eighth loss in their last 10 outings, falling to 19-21 overall, 4-8 in the Big West.
After a lopsided doubleheader split on Friday, the Titans' tandem of starter Katey Laban and Cervantes combined to hold the Aggies to just five hits on the day while Davis ace Alex Holmes scattered just four hits, but the two teams combined to strand 21 runners on base - 12 of those in scoring position.
However, Fullerton was able to push across the game's only run with some help from the Aggies' defense as Carter, who also walked twice, led-off the inning reaching on an error by the second baseman and was sacrificed to second. After a ground out put her 60 feet from home plate, junior Nicole Johnson's ground ball to the right side was also booted, allowing Carter to scoot home with the winning tally.
UC Davis looked to equalize in its half of the inning as a one-out single by J.J. Wagoner and a walk to Elizabeth Santana put a pair on for the Aggies, but Cervantes wriggled off the hook, inducing Kelly Schulze into a pop-up for the second out and then striking out Jessica Gonzalez to end the game.
After being tagged for seven earned on 10 hits in just four innings in the series opener, Cervantes (13-11) entered in the fifth inning and was stellar, tossing three innings of shutout softball, allowing just three hits and walking two to claim the win. Laban, who was the winner in Friday's second game, was stuck with the no decision, allowing just two hits and working around five walks in four innings of work.
Holmes (13-14) was the hard-luck loser, allowing just the unearned run on four hits and striking out seven in the complete-game effort, walking five and allowing just one extra-base hit.
Four different players had hits for Fullerton, which improved to 9-4 in one-run games with the victory, leaving runners in scoring position in the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings - twice with runners at third. Davis had five players with hits, stranding runners in scoring position in five of the seven innings, including runners at third in the third and sixth innings.
The Titans will look to break the deadlock atop the Big West standings at home next weekend as they host co-leader Pacific in a three-game series beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday (April 30) at 12 p.m. The two teams will conclude with a single game on Sunday (May 1), also at noon.