May 8, 2009
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team kept pace with the league leaders on Saturday afternoon, taking a doubleheader from UC Santa Barbara by the scores of 4-2 and 2-1 in nine innings in a pair of contests played at Cal Poly's Bob Janssen Field.
The games were moved from UCSB's Campus Diamond after wildfires in the Santa Barbara area made air quality too dangerous to play. The Titans, who improved their winning streak to six straight games, moved to 28-19 overall and 16-4 in Big West Conference play while remaining one game back of leader Cal Poly in the standings after the Mustangs' sweep of UC Riverside earlier in the day.
The two teams complete the regular season with single games on Saturday with Cal Poly needing only a win to clinch the title outright and the league's automatic NCAA berth. Should the Titans and Mustangs finish tied atop the standings, Fullerton would receive the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament due to its series victory over Cal Poly earlier in the year.
The Gauchos fell to 26-24 overall and 9-11 in league play.
Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara will conclude it series on Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. at Cal Poly in a game that was originally scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. in San Luis Obispo.
GAME 1: CAL STATE FULLERTON 4, UC SANTA BARBARA 2
Sophomore Torrie Anderson's two-run home run gave the Titans the lead for good while Trina Harrison and Ari Cervantes also added RBI hits as Fullerton won the opener, 4-2.
Cervantes (18-10) also earned the victory in the circle, allowing two runs (one earned) and scattering nine hits while striking out five in her 26th complete-game effort in 26 starts. Krista Cobb (18-9) suffered the loss, allowing all four runs on five hits in five innings of work.
Jessica Beristianos gave the Gauchos the early advantage in the third as Jessica Ziegler walked with one out, stole second and scored when the UCSB shortstop singled to centerfield with two outs to make it 1-0. Beristianos was thrown out at second on the play to end the inning when the throw back in was cut off, catching her trying to move up 60 feet.
Cobb, who allowed only four Titan baserunners through the first four innings (on only two hits), ran into trouble in the fifth as senior Whitney Kroh walked with two outs to bring up Anderson, who launched her 10th home run of the season to left field to give Fullerton the 2-1 lead.
The Titans added two more in the sixth as Francesca Gonzales doubled down the left field line to lead-off the inning and scored one batter later when Harrison traded places with her thanks to a double to left to make it 3-1 and chase Cobb from the game.
Jenny Liepman entered in relief and got two outs on a sacrifice and a pop up, but Cervantes helped her own cause by singling through the right side, scoring Harrison from third and make it 4-1.
The Gauchos got the run back in the seventh as Christine Ramos singled with one out and scored two batters later on an error that would have ended the game. Cervantes eventually closed the door by inducing another ground ball to second base to end the game.
Gonzales finished with two hits to lead the Titans with five other players notching base hits. Ramos and Jessica Ziegler, and Lainey DePompa each had two hits to lead the Gauchos.
GAME 2: CAL STATE FULLERTON 2, UC SANTA BARBARA 1 (9 INN.)
A throwing error with one out in the ninth inning scored Kadie Baldwin from second base with the winning run as the Titans edged the Gauchos, 2-1, in the nightcap.
Baldwin singled back up the middle to lead-off the ninth inning and moved to second on a sacrifice by Courtney Martinez to push her into scoring position. That brought up Krystal Heinle, whose ground ball to second base was thrown away, allowing Baldwin to scoot home with the go-ahead run.
The Titans then had to escape a wild bottom half of the frame that saw the Gauchos leave the tying and winning runs in scoring position. A walk to Kelsey Anderson to lead-off the inning led to a bunt single by Priscilla Perez to put two on and chase starter Heinle (10-7) from the game in favor of Ari Cervantes.
A fielder's choice by Jackie Conlin erased the lead runner at third for the first out, but Christine Ramos singled back up the middle to load the bases and potentially jump-start a big inning. However, Cervantes remained cool, getting a ground ball to first base to get the out at the plate and another fielder's choice ground ball to short that ended the game.
UCSB knotted things back up in the fourth as a hit batter and a single put a pair on and, after a fielder's choice, a walk loaded the bases for Perez, who was also hit by a pitch to drive home the tying run.
The two teams then proceeded to leave a slew of runners on base, combining to strand 20 runners (nine for Fullerton, 11 for UC Santa Barbara) for the game - 10 of those in scoring position.
Heinle, the reigning Big West Pitcher of the Week, allowed just the one run on six hits in eight innings of work to win her third straight start, striking out five. Cervantes pitched the final inning, allowing just one hit to post her third save of the year.
Lindsey Correa went the distance for the Gauchos, allowing the two runs (one earned) on 11 hits, walking two and striking out one to fall to 3-1 overall on the season.
Anderson finished with three hits to lead Fullerton while Courtney Martinez and Heinle each had a pair of hits for the Titans. Ramos, Jessica Ziegler, and Amanda Ziegler combined for six of the seven Gaucho hits with two apiece.