FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton (25-15, 3-3) softball team split a doubleheader with Hawai'i (23-16, 4-2) on Saturday afternoon at Anderson Family Field to drop the Big West Conference series 2-1. CSF tallied seven runs over the final three frames to rally for a 7-2 victory in game one, while UH mustered up two runs in the eighth inning of game two to clinch an 8-6 decision.
Cal State Fullerton will now travel to Easton Stadium in Los Angeles to compete with No. 10 UCLA for a single game non-conference tilt at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
GAME ONE: Cal State Fullerton 7, Hawai'i 2
After Hawai'i capitalized on an unearned run in the top of the fourth to take a 1-0 lead, the Titans responded with a barrage of runs in the next three frames which was more than enough run support for starter Jasmine Antunez (4-4) to even the series with a 7-2 victory.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Cal State Fullerton's Sarah Moore roped a single to center and quickly moved to third following a double off the bat of senior Eliza Crawford. Pinch hitter Lexi Gonzalez delivered a two-out single to center to give the Titans a 2-1 advantage.
More fireworks were in store in the fifth as CSF's Samantha Vandiver singled to open the inning. Missy Taukeiaho reached on a fielder's choice to put runners on the corners with nobody out. University of Arizona transfer Courtney Rodriguez pulled a three-run homer to right, her second of the season, extending the Titans' lead to 5-1.
UH pulled slightly closer with a solo homer from Leisha Liilii in the top half of the sixth, but Taukeiaho answered back with a towering shot to left that exited the stadium in a hurry. An RBI single from Moore tacked on a second run to make up the eventual final score of 7-2.
The 4-5 hitters of Rodriguez (3-for-4) and Moore (3-for-4) combined for a 6-for-8 outing, scoring three times while recording four RBIs.
Antunez notched her second complete game of the season after yielding two runs (one earned) and eight hits over seven innings. The right-hander issued a pair of walks to go along with her four strikeouts.
UH's Brittany Hitchcock (10-6) was dealt the loss after surrendering five runs (four earned) on seven hits in four innings of work. Heather Morales followed in relief, giving up another two runs over the final two frames.
GAME TWO (EIGHT INNINGS): Hawai'i 8, Cal State Fullerton 6
Hawai'i erupted for a five-run opening inning en route to a 6-0 lead, only to see a six-run rally by Fullerton to send the game to extras, but a two-run eighth by the Rainbow Wahine proved to be the difference in an 8-6 victory to clinch the series.
UH jumped all over Fullerton starter Christina Washington, plating the first three runs in the opening frame from an RBI single from Sarina Jaramillo and a two-run double by Lindsey Willmon. The Rainbow Wahine capitalized on a wild pitch and a fielding error to bring another pair of runs across to lead 5-0 right out of the gate.
A solo homer from Rachel Lack gave UH a 6-0 lead in the top half of the third, but an RBI double by Missy Taukeiaho in the bottom half got the Titans' first run on the board.
In the fourth, the Titans continued to chip away at the deficit as Kylie Padilla began a two-out rally with a single. Cal State Fullerton freshman Shianne Brannan reared back and launched a two-run round-tripper to left field, collecting the first homer of her career to bring the Titans within three runs.
With only three outs left, Fullerton freshman sensation Samantha Vandiver started off the seventh by reaching base on a fielding error by UH third baseman Kristina Akiona. Vandiver scooted over to third after Courtney Rodriguez looped a single to left. CSF senior Eliza Crawford drove in the tagging Vandiver on a sacrifice fly, and freshman Bryanna Ybarra later followed with a single to right center to make it 6-5. Fullerton second baseman Samantha Galarza capped off the comeback with a single through the right side to deadlock the contest at six apiece and send the game to extras.
After being dormant over the previous four innings, the UH offense smacked back-to-back singles off Fullerton reliever Cerissa Rivera (0-1) to begin the eight frame. The Rainbow Wahine capitalized on another error surrendered by the Fullerton defense, while an RBI single off the bat of UH's Rachel Lack tallied two runs to quickly put CSF back in a hole. Fullerton was unable to manufacture a second rally as the Titans went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half to fall just short.
UH's Kanan Aina Cabrale (12-10) captured her second win of the series after turning in the complete eight innings of work, scattering 11 hits and six runs (three earned). Cabrale stranded eight Fullerton runners overall.
Galarza (2-for-3), Taukeiaho (2-for-5), and Vandiver (3-for-5) each produced multi-hit games, respectively. Brannan (1-for-4) added a pair of RBIs.
Rivera tossed seven innings of standout relief, allowing just five hits and three runs to position herself for a win opportunity after the Titans tied the game at 6-6 in the seventh. The right-hander from Westminster, Calif. showed superior control by not surrendering a walk and fanned a career-high eight batters. Washington was tagged for five runs (four earned) in her only inning of work.
Game Notes: Vandiver extended her program record hitting-streak to 24 games in 24 starts with a combined 4-for-9 performance in the doubleheader…Taukeiaho is now tied for fifth place with Torrie Anderson on Fullerton's all-time home runs list after blasting the 28th of her career, all being done as a transfer from the University of Washington following her freshman campaign and with one season of eligibility left next year as a Titan…Rivera set career highs in innings pitched (7) and strikeouts (8)…Fullerton continues to hold a daunting 51-14 series record over the Rainbow Wahine…CSF is now 9-4 on Saturday's and 16-8 at the friendly confines of Anderson Family Field…A due of Titans have reached base in 10 or more consecutive games in Vandiver (24) and Taukeiaho (16)…Rodriguez leads the squad with 18 multi-hit games and was just a single shy of hitting for the cycle in game one.