CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton softball team dropped a pair of one-run games to BYU and New Mexico State, respectively, to close out their trip to the Mary Nutter Classic Saturday night. The Titans' rally against the Cougars was cut short as they fell by a score of 7-6 before dropping a 5-4 contest to the Aggies on a walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh.
Game 1: BYU 7, Cal State Fullerton 6
Cal State Fullerton came up just short against BYU as the Titans stranded the tying run on third in the seventh inning in a tough loss to the Cougars.
After giving up an early run to BYU in the bottom of the first, the Titans evened the score at 1-1 in the third.
Samantha Vandiver led off the frame with a double down the left field line, but was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice. However, Courtney Rodriguez, who singled to left, managed to score on a fielding error by the Cougars' second baseman to tie the game.
The Cougars were quick to regain their lead as Libby Sugg led off the bottom of the third with a home run to left center to make it a 2-1 ballgame. After giving up the solo shot, Cal State Fullerton freshman starter Sydney Golden (5-1) was pulled to make way for junior Christina Washington.
Golden finished the game pitching 2.0+ innings and allowing two runs on five hits.
After Golden exited, Washington surrendered another two runs as BYU had a three-run inning to go up 4-1.
The Titans would not go quietly, however. Fullerton added another run in the fifth to cut BYU's lead in half (4-2)
In the bottom of the sixth, the Cougars added to their lead as they batted around and scored three runs on three hits and took advantage of a trio of walks. Between the fifth and sixth innings, the Titans went through three pitchers, but were unable to keep the Cougars off the board.
Trailing 7-2 heading into the seventh, the Titans came out swinging as Rodriguez led off the frame with an infield single. After Sarah Moore walked, Melissa Sechrest roped an RBI-single to centerfield to make it a 7-3 ballgame.
Alexis Gonzalez came up and loaded the bases after knocking a base hit to right-center. BYU starting pitcher McKenna Bull (6-4) hit a rough patch and walked Desiree Ybarra to bring in Fullerton's fourth run of the game. A single up the middle by Delynn Rippy plated two more runs to make it a one-run game.
With the game on the line, BYU managed to get two more outs to close it out and defeat Cal State Fullerton, 7-6, as the Titans' rally was cut short.
Bull pitched a complete game and allowed six runs, four earned, on 12 hits. She struck out 12 and walked three to earn the win.
Rodriguez scored three of the Titans' six runs as she went 3-for-4 at the plate.
Game 2: New Mexico State 5, Cal State Fullerton 4
The nightcap began as a pitcher's duel as Desiree Ybarra (2-4) and Karysta Donisthorpe matched each other through the first three innings keeping their counterparts' offenses at bay.
In the bottom of the fourth, New Mexico State broke through and recorded a pair of singles and drew a walk, which led to the first run of the game.
Down 1-0, Cal State Fullerton did not take long to counter as Ybarra belted a solo home run to left center field to tie the game at 1-1. After the homer, Donisthorpe was pulled and Makayla McAdams (4-2) came on in relief.
The Titans added three more runs in the top of the sixth as Sarah Moore drew a one-out walk. Ariana Williams came in as a pinch runner and promptly stole second before coming around to score on a ground rule double by Ybarra.
With a 2-1 lead, Cal State Fullerton took advantage of a New Mexico State fielding error and plated two more runs to go up by three (4-1).
New Mexico State, however, was not ready to quit as the Aggies came up with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning to even the score once more.
In their half of the frame, NMSU's Tatum Reedy laced a two-run triple down the right field line, then came around to score on a sacrifice fly that tied the game at 4-all.
After the Titans were unable to get a run across in the top of the seventh, the Aggies loaded the bases on back-to-back singles followed by a fielding error.
With the game on the line, Shianne Brannan fired home on a ground ball to short to nail the runner going home and keep the Aggies from scoring the winnings run. However, on the next play, Reedy sent a base hit through the left side that scored the game-winning run in walk-off fashion to give New Mexico State the 5-4 victory.
Ybarra finished the game with a career-high nine strikeouts in the circle and was 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs and a run scored.
Cal State Fullerton returns home next week to host the Judi Garman Classic beginning Thursday, March 3.