FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton (8-9) battled back from five runs down in the fourth inning to come back and beat Michigan State (9-8) thanks to a two-RBI walkoff double by Emily Randall.
Freshman Hannah Johnson got the start for Fullerton and could not get out of the first inning allowing two runs on two hits and a walk as the Spartans took the early lead. She would hand the ball off to fellow freshman Taylor Dockins who struggled with location a bit, but grinded through four innings of work keeping the Titans in the game.
Michigan State tacked on a run in the third as Dockins gave up a pair of singles and an error loaded the bases with a hit by pitch bringing in a run. The freshman right-hander did a fantastic job to limit the damage to just that though. However, the Spartans came back in the fourth and plated two more runs.
The Titan offense was held in check through the first three innings, but just as they did the night before, an insane two-out rally in the home half of the fourth brought them back. This time, it was six runs on four errors and two walks.
No long ball this time, but Zoe Richard led off the inning with a single into left field followed by an Ari Williams walk. After a pair of outs, pinch hitter Janelle Rodriguez would ground it to short and an error on the play brought in the first Titan run. Three straight singles from Brooke Clemetson, Sammie Vandiver, and Deshea Hill would plate five runs for Fullerton as they took a 6-5 lead going into the fifth inning.
The Spartans would respond immediately with a leadoff home run off the bat of Lea Foerster tied it up and an RBI single in the sixth from Katie Quinlan gave them the lead back.
There was only one three-up, three-down inning throughout the entire game and unfortunately it was the Titan half of the sixth inning. A clutch shutdown top of the seventh from Kenzie Grimes, who was huge out of the bullpen tonight (2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 K, 2 BB), set the table for a walkoff opportunity.
Hill started it with a hot shot back up the middle to lead off the inning. Williams would come through with a one-out knock down the right field line to put the winning run on base. A phenomenal at-bat from Shianne Brannan would load the bases and after a fielder's choice prevented a run to make it two outs, our hero stepped to the plate.
It was an emotional day for Emily Randall as today marked the two-year anniversary of her father's passing. The stars aligned for her in this one as she came up to the dish and launched it into the gap for a two-out, two-RBI double that walked it off for Fullerton giving them an 8-7 victory.
The Titans and Spartans actually meet again for a rematch on Tuesday as Michigan State is in the midst of a long west coast road trip. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. at Anderson Family Field.
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