LONG BEACH, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton softball team swept through the Louisville Slugger Invitational, hosted by Long Beach State, with wins over Iowa State (2-1) and Mississippi State (3-2) on the final day of the tournament.
The Titans went 5-0 during the invite and have now won seven of their last eight games as they improve to 18-8 on the year. The Cyclones fall to 12-11, while the Bulldogs drop to 18-6 on the season.
Game 1: Cal State Fullerton 2, Iowa State 1
The Titans put together a seventh inning rally to come from behind and defeat the Cyclones as senior lefty Desiree Ybarra (5-4) earned her fifth win of the year in a relief appearance.
Ybarra came on in the second inning after Fullerton starter Christina Washington pitched 1.2 innings of work and surrendered a run in the frame.
Against Washington in the second, Iowa State strung together three base hits to score its only run of the game as the Cyclones took a 1-0 lead.
After Washington exited the game, Ybarra came in and pitched 5.2 innings in relief without allowing a run. She scattered just two hits and never allowed a base runner beyond second base. Ybarra fanned four and did not allow a single walk during her outing.
With another strong pitching performance from Ybarra, the Titans were able to stay in the game trailing by just one run until the top of the seventh when they put together a two-out rally sparked by a triple off the bat of Sydney Colenzo.
After Shianne Brannan drew a walk to put runners at the corners, Delynn Rippy came up and roped a triple to the right-centerfield gap which plated both Ariana Williams (who pinch ran for Colenzo) and Brannan to give Fullerton a 2-1 edge.
Ybarra came back out in the bottom of the seventh and retired the side to preserve the one-run victory for the Titans.
Iowa State's Savannah Sanders (5-5) was tagged with the loss after pitching 6.2 innings of work and allowing two runs on five hits. She struck out two and walked one.
Emma Hylen came on in relief and pitched just 0.1 inning in which she gave up one hit and struck out one.
Both teams tallied six hits in the game and Colenzo was the only player to record a multi-hit game on either side. She finished the contest batting 2-for-3, while Rippy was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
Game 2: Cal State Fullerton 3, Mississippi State 2
Cal State Fullerton did not waste any time scoring in its game against Mississippi State as the Titans posted the first run of the game in the bottom of the second on a squeeze play.
Senior first baseman Melissa Sechrest led of the frame and took first on a hit by pitch and Williams came in to pinch run. After an infield single by Courtney Rodriguez moved Williams to second, Colenzo laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners.
With runners at second and third with one out, Brannan executed a perfectly placed bunt for the successful squeeze play that scored Williams from third.
Leading 1-0, Cal State Fullerton's freshman right-hander Sydney Golden (9-2) hit a bump in the road and allowed a pair of runs in the third and fourth innings, respectively, as the Bulldogs took a 2-1 lead.
Golden regained her composure and did not allow another run for the rest of the game. She pitched a complete game a came away with her ninth victory of the year after the Titans tied the game in the fifth and plated the eventual game-winning run in the sixth.
In the Titans' half of the fifth inning, Rippy led off the frame with an infield single and Samantha Vandiver moved her into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Alexis Gonzalez came to the plate with two outs and hit a base hit up the middle, which scored Rippy to tie the game, 2-2.
Cal State Fullerton came back out in the sixth and took advantage of a hit by pitch and an error as Colenzo drove in Ybarra for the eventual game-winning run.
With a 3-2 edge, Golden came back out in the seventh and retired the side to collect the win and help the Titans to their fifth-straight victory.
Golden finished the game surrendering two runs on seven hits, while striking out two in 7.0 innings.
Mississippi State utilized three pitchers in Regan Green, Mackenzie Toler and Holly Ward.
Green pitched 3.0 innings and allowed one run on two hits with two strikeout and one walk, while Toler saw just 1.0 inning of action and surrendered just one hit.
Ward (8-2) suffered the loss after allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits with one strikeout in 2.0 innings of work.
Cal State Fullerton looks to keep its winning streak going when it hosts an Ivy League doubleheader on Tuesday, March 15 against Yale and Princeton at 4 p.m., and 6 p.m., respectively.