May 13, 2006
FULLERTON, CA - Cal State Fullerton senior Marissa Marzan allowed just one run on three hits while Katie Gollhardt and Ashley Van Boxmeer each had a pair of hits on the day as the Titans clinched the 2006 Big West Conference Championship with a 6-1 victory over UC Riverside on Saturday afternoon at Anderson Field.
For the Titans (36-22, 14-4 in the Big West), it was their fifth conference title in the last seven seasons, but their first since 2003. Fullerton has now won or shared in eight Big West titles since 1986 - the most of any school in the league's history.
UC Riverside finished the season 22-27 overall, 2-16 in league action.
Marzan (12-8) fittingly took home the senior day victory in the circle as she struck out four and stranded nine Highlanders on base with help from her defense, which turned a pair of double plays.
Danira Iolamo (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing three earned runs (four overall) on six hits, walking two, in 4.1 innings of work. Christin Songer allowed one earned on two hits in 1.2 innings of relief.
The Highlanders jumped out early on the Titans for the second straight game, manufacturing their only run of the game in the first inning.
April Murray led off with a single and moved to second when she beat out the throw on Jamie Yee's sacrifice. After a walk to Melissa Sanchez to load the bases, Kristie Martinez lifted a deep fly to right, enough to score Murray from third for the 1-0 lead.
Cal State Fullerton answered with some help from the Riverside defense in the second inning as Van Boxmeer led off with a single and moved to second on Kiki Munoz's sac bunt to put Van Boxmeer in scoring position.
That brought up Crystal Vieyra who hit a roller to shortstop that was bobbled by Martinez with Van Boxmeer running in front of her and booted into left field, allowing Van Boxmeer enough time to round third and score to tie the game at 1-1.
The Titans then broke the game open in the fifth as back-to-back one out hits by Courtney Martinez and Katie Gollhardt put a pair on for the Titans, who loaded the bases after an intentional walk to Van Boxmeer with first base open.
Munoz then stepped to the plate for Fullerton and was promptly hit on the first pitch by Iolamo, driving home Gollhardt with the eventual game-winning run.
Vieyra and Jenna Wheeler then followed with RBI singles to make it 4-1 and the Titans added two more in the sixth on RBI hits by Gollhardt and and Van Boxmeer to cap the scoring.
UC Riverside left a pair of runners on in the third, fifth, and sixth innings and stranded six in scoring position overall for the game.
Cal State Fullerton now awaits the decision of the NCAA seeding committee, which will announce the field of 64 for next weekend's NCAA regionals on Sunday (May 14) at approximately 12:30 p.m. on ESPNEWS. Check your local listings for channel information.