Long Ball Helps Titans Split With Matadors

April 28, 2012

Box Score - Game 1 | Box Score - Game 2

NORTHRIDGE, CA - Cal State Fullerton slugged four home runs -- three of those coming during their game-two comeback -- Saturday afternoon, helping the visiting Titans earn a split of their Big West Conference series with Cal State Northridge, falling to the Matadors, 5-2, in the opener before rallying for a 7-2 victory in the nightcap at Matador Diamond.

The split moved Fullerton to 18-25 overall and 6-8 in league play while Northridge moved to 10-35 overall and 5-9 in conference action.

Gabby Aragon hit a pair -- a two-run shot in game one and a solo home run in game two for her second and third home runs of the season -- while Anissa Young (solo) and Nicole Johnson (three-run) also left the yard for their eighth round-trippers of the season. Ashley Carter and Leesa Harris each finished with three hits for the doubleheader to pace the Titans' offense.

The two teams meet in the rubber game of the series on Sunday afternoon (April 29) at 12 p.m.

GAME 1: CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE 5, CAL STATE FULLERTON 2
Samantha Sloniker was 3-for-4 with two runs scored while Mia Pagano scattered just five hits on the day, lifting the host Matadors to a 5-2 victory.

Pagano (8-15) retired the first eight batters she faced before Leesa Harris reached on a single in the third and stranded three in scoring position through six as her offense built a 5-0 lead. She then gave way to Brianna Elder in the seventh, who promptly surrendered a two-run home run, before reentering the game and getting a double play and ground ball around a hit batter and back-to-back singles that loaded the bases with two outs.

Katey Laban (1-5) suffered the loss, allowing three earned on six hits in 4 1/3 innings before giving way to freshman Vanessa Garcia in the fifth, who surrendered just two hits in 1 2/3 innings of work.

Mikayla Thielges' double in the first got the Matadors in the second and Alyssa Ray's squeeze bunt in the second plated Jessica Fridwall for the 2-0 advantage. The Titans tried to keep it that was in the fourth, but a throwing error that would have ended the inning brought Madeline Sale to the plate and she crushed a ball over the wall in left for her third home run of the season and a 4-0 advantage.

The Matadors capped the scoring with a run in the fifth as Ray drew a walk with the bases loaded and two outs to drive home Sloniker and make it 5-0.

Fullerton finally broke through in the seventh against Elder in relief as she walked Anissa Young to lead-off the inning and bring up Gabby Aragon, who lined a 2-2 pitch over the wall down the left field line to make it 5-2. With Pagano back in the game and no outs, Morgan LeMond singled to right, but pinch runner Tiffany Sheffler was erased when Jena Rubio lined into a double play.

The Titans tried to rally back as Kirsten Lambertson was hit by a pitch and Harris, who finished 2-for-3, reached on an infield single to put two on for Carter. The junior centerfielder then lined a shot into center to load the bases, but Pagano worked out of the jam, inducing a ground ball back to the circle to end the game.

GAME 2: CAL STATE FULLERTON 7, CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE 2
Anissa Young's eighth home run of the year to lead off the sixth inning broke a 2-2 tie and the Titans scored five times over the final two innings, lifting them to a 7-2 win in the nightcap.

Three of Fullerton's final four hits in the game left the yard as Young went to the opposite field to break the tie and was followed by Gabby Aragon, who slugged her second of the day and third of the season over the fence in left to make it a 4-2 ballgame.

After the Matadors went quietly in the sixth, the Titans tacked on three more in the seventh as a single and a walk with one out brought up Nicole Johnson, who slugged her eighth of the year over the wall in left for a comfortable 7-2 lead.

Freshman Desiree Ybarra (12-13) then shut the door in the seventh, getting a line-out double play after a hit batter and single put two on for Northridge to lead-off the inning. Ybarra, who scattered just six hits and struck out three in the complete-game win, then got a fly ball to right field to end the game.

Shelly Tait (1-5) suffered the loss for the Matadors, allowing three earned on five hits in five innings. Alexa Limon and Crystal Maas then closed things out, allowing three runs on two combined hits over the final two innings.

Northridge's Mikayla Thielges staked Tait to the early lead in the first for the second time on Saturday, following a double by Sam Sloniker with her seventh home run of the year over the wall in left for the 2-0 lead.

Fullerton left runners in scoring position in the second and third innings before rallying to tie the contest with some help from the Matadors' defense in the fourth as Young led-off with her second hit by pitch of the day and pinch runner Emily Vizcarra moved all the way to third on a sacrifice and two-out single by Jena Rubio.

Then, with Kirsten Lambertson at the plate, Rubio took off for second and Thielges faked her throw down, catching Vizcarra breaking for the plate. As Vizcarra tried to scamper back, Thielges bounced a throw into left field, allowing Vizcarra to score and moving Rubio all the way to third. Lambertson then walked to put runners on the corners before an illegal pitch plated Rubio during Harris' at bat to tie the game.

The Titans then broke it open in the sixth when Young and Aragon went back-to-back after another illegal pitch took away an out for Aragon and brought her back to the plate for another chance, which she promptly took advantage of by sending a 2-1 Tait offering out to left to knock Northridge's starter from the game.

Ashley Carter finished 2-for-4 to pace the Titans in the nightcap while six different batters had hits for the Matadors.