May 17, 2008
WESTWOOD, CA - Candace Curtis finished 2-for-4 with four RBI, including the go-ahead two-run single in the seventh, and righthander Dana Alcocer allowed just two hits on the night as No. 3-seeded Purdue eliminated No. 4-seeded Cal State Fullerton, 4-2, on Saturday night at Easton Stadium.
The Titans finished the season 27-28-1 overall and finished winless in regional play for only the fourth time in 24 NCAA postseason appearances - the first time since 1993 that has occurred.
The Boilermakers improved to 35-22 overall and advanced to face Nevada in the second elimination game of the day. It was the first win in NCAA Tournament history for Purdue, which was making its first postseason appearance.
Curtis' first two-run single of the night in the fifth inning staked the Boilermakers to their first lead of the game as a fielder's choice and a two-base error put runners on second and third. Curtis then poked an 0-2 offering through the left side to score both runners off Fullerton starter Jessica Doucette (13-13) for the 2-0 lead.
That looked to be all Alcocer (19-13) would need as the junior retired 15 straight batters after hitting Katie Gollhardt to lead off the bottom of the field and carried a no-hitter into the sixth before the Titans rallied to tie the game.
Senior Jenna Wheeler led off the inning with a bunt single to break up the no-hit bid and moved to second when junior Courtney Martinez was hit by a pitch. Freshman K.C. Craddick then walked to load the bases with one out and bring up senior Kiki Munoz, who doubled to the gap in left centerfield to score a pair at tie the game.
The double was Munoz's 16th of the season, placing her in a tie for seventh on the school's single-season list.
After a walk to junior Lauren Lupinetti reloaded the bases for the Titans, Alcocer wriggled off the hook, inducing a ground out and a pop up to leave the bases loaded and end the inning without any further damage.
That set the stage for Curtis' second big hit of the night in the final inning as a single by Ashley Hall and a fielder's choice by Kelly Miller put two on, and a wild pitch moved both into scoring position.
Curtis worked the count to 2-2 before lofting one to centerfield where Wheeler tried to make a diving catch, but the ball snuck just under her glove, allowing both runners to score and make it 4-2.
Fullerton attempted to rally back in the bottom of the inning as sophomore Sheila Holguin doubled to the gap to lead off the inning and moved to third on a passed ball with one out. That brought up Martinez, who singled to center on a full count offering to bring the Titans back to within a run at 4-3.
However, that would be as close as they would get, as Alcocer induced a game-ending ground ball double play to eliminate the Titans.
Doucette, making her first start since the final game of the Long Beach State series on May 4, suffered the loss, allowing four runs (two earned) on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings of work, striking out four.
Freshman Christine Hiner pitched the final 2/3 of an inning, striking out one.
Alcocer surrendered three runs (two earned) on four hits while striking out five in the complete-game victory, backed by multi-hit games from Curtis and Kelsey Haupert.