CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton softball team came close to upsetting No. 8/9 Georgia, but fell just short in handing the Bulldogs' their first loss of the season as the Titans dropped a 7-6 contest after falling 7-2 to Utah on the first day of the Mary Nutter Classic.
With the pair of losses, Cal State Fullerton drops to 8-4 overall, while Utah improves to 9-4 and Georgia remains undefeated at 11-0.
Cal State Fullerton kept the game close to start as the two teams matched each other scoring one run in each of the early frames. However, Utah's bats came alive in the fourth as the Utes tallied four runs in the inning to open up a five-run lead (7-2).
In the second inning, Sechrest laced a one-out double to straight away centerfield and later came around to score on a singe back up the middle off the bat of Gonzalez. With the run, the Titans tied the game at 1-1 after the Utes scored in the bottom of the first on a walk followed by a pair of singles.
Utah came back in the bottom of the frame and regained the lead on a Shelby Pacheco solo home run to dead center.
Trailing by one again, the Titans would not quit as Missy Taukeiaho led off the inning with a base hit. Adele Leuma pinch ran for Taukeiaho and evened the score at 2-2 after an RBI-single up the middle by Sechrest.
The Utes added another run in the third to jump back on top 3-2 and this time, the Titans would not counter. After 3.0 innings of work, Cal State Fullerton pulled starter Desiree Ybarra (1-3) after she gave up three runs on four hits, while walking four and striking out two.
Ybarra was replaced by Sydney Golden, who made her first collegiate relief appearance in the bottom of the fourth. The Utes took advantage of a pair of Titan errors in the frame and scored four runs to take a 7-2 lead.
Golden pitched 1.0 inning and allowed four unearned runs on four hits with two strikeouts before exiting the game to make way for Cerissa Rivera.
Rivera pitched 1.0 inning in relief and retired the Utes in order, before Jasmine Antunez came on in the final inning of the game. Antunez allowed just one hit in 1.0 inning of work while walking two and fanning two.
Katie Donovan (4-3) got the start for Utah and earned her fourth win of the year after pitching 4.0 innings of work and surrendering two runs on five hits. She struck out three and walked four before giving way to Miranda Viramontes who pitched the final 3.0 innings in which she allowed just one hit and one walk, while striking out five to preserve the 7-2 win for the Utes.
Game 2: No. 8/9 Georgia 7, Cal State Fullerton 6
Golden got the start for the Titans in the nightcap, but surrendered three runs on as many hits after tossing just 0.1 innings.
After falling behind 3-0, the Titans brought in Ybarra to relieve Golden. With Ybarra in the circle, Cal State Fullerton mounted a comeback as the Titans tallied one run in the second and plated three in the third to take a 4-3 lead.
A Sechrest sacrifice fly drove in Taukeiaho who had reach on a fielder's choice and Moore rounded out the scoring as she came home on a throwing error by the Bulldogs' shortstop.
Cal State Fullerton added two more runs to their tally in the top of the fourth as the Titans continued to take advantage of Bulldog miscues. CSF registered two runs on three hits and one error in the inning as the Titans went up 6-3.
Down by three, Georgia would not go away quietly. The Bulldogs made it a 6-4 game on a solo home run to centerfield by Maeve McGuire. Following the homer, Cal State Fullerton made a pitching change bringing in Rivera to relieve Ybarra.
Rivera walked both batters she faced before Antunez (1-1) was brought in to close out the inning.
With the game within reach heading into the top of the fifth, the Bulldogs made a pitching change as well. Chelsea Wilkerson, who started the game, made way for Brittany Gray (5-0) who came in and struck out all three batters she faced.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Bulldogs mounted a rally of their own and evened the score at 6-6 after McGuire recorded an RBI single and Katie Browne drove her in on a double to left center.
Both Gray and Antunez managed to keep their opponents off the board until the bottom of the sixth when Alyssa DiCarlo tripled down the leftfield line plating Kaylee Pualioa who Antunez walked. That would prove to be the winning run as Gray would come out in the top of the seventh and retire the Titans in order.
Gray earned the win, her fifth of the year, after pitching 3.0 innings of work and allowing just one hit and striking out seven.
Antunez suffered the loss after she allowed three runs on five hits in 3.0 innings pitched. She struck out two and walked one.
Moore finished the game hitting 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Vandiver was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and Taukeiaho went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Colenzo drove in two runs after going 1-for-4.
Cal State Fullerton will be back at it again Friday, Feb. 26 when the Titans face Oklahoma State at 8 p.m., as the Mary Nutter Classic continues.