Titans Move into Winners Bracket with 6-4 Win over No. 18 Fresno State
Courtesy of Cal State Fullerton Athletics
The Cal State Fullerton softball team scored two runs in the seventh inning to break a tie game and defeat No. 18 Fresno State, 6-4, Friday afternoon at the NCAA Los Angeles Regional and move into the winner's bracket.
With the win, the Titans improve to 44-14 on the year and will play the winner of the CSU Bakersfield-UCLA game on Saturday, May 21 at noon. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs fall to 41-11-1 overall and will play on Saturday at approximately 3 p.m.
"That was a really intense game," Cal State Fullerton head coach Kelly Ford said. "We got pushed and we pushed back. Fresno State is a great program, so we had very tough competition today, but we pushed hard and came away with the win."
The Titans tried to get thing started early as they loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the first, but were unable to score a run as the Bulldogs' starter, Jill Compton (24-6), pitched herself out of the jam.
Senior left-handed pitcher Desiree Ybarra got the start for Cal State Fullerton. She hit a rough patch in the second inning and Fresno State pounced. Paige Gumz roped a double down the rightfield line and advanced to third on an error before coming around to score the first run of the game on a wild pitch to give Fresno State a 1-0 lead.
Trailing 1-0, senior third baseman Missy Taukeiaho gave the Titans a 2-1 lead the top of the third after sending her 10th home run of the season over the leftfield fence. With Samantha Vandiver on base after drawing a leadoff walk, Taukaieho's blast put Cal State Fullerton up by one.
However, Fresno State would not go quietly as the Bulldogs regained their one-run lead in the bottom of the third as Kierra Willis belted a two-run homer to right-centerfield to put the Bulldogs up 3-2.
Following the home run, Cal State Fullerton made a pitching change as freshman right-hander Sydney Golden (18-5) came on to relieve Ybarra.
The Titans fought back and evened the score at 3-3 after Kylie Padilla drew a leadoff walk and Jasmine Antunez came in to pinch run. Antunez promptly moved to second on a passed ball, then advanced to third on a sac bunt by Sydney Colenzo. Cal State Fullerton called for Sarah Moore to grab a bat as the senior singled back up the middle to drive in Antunez and tie the game at 3-3.
Taukeiaho led off the fifth on a four-pitch walk and moved to third courtesy of a ground out and a fly out before scoring the go-ahead run on a bloop single to left by Courtney Rodriguez.
The back-and-forth game continued as the Bulldogs knotted the score once again in the bottom of the fifth as they took advantage of a pair of Titan errors to make it a 4-4 ballgame.
With the game tied up heading into the seventh inning, the Titans led off the frame with a pair of singles through the left side. Melissa Sechrest singled to left to load the bases, however, an errant throw from left allowed Vandiver to come around and score the go-ahead run.
Rodriguez stepped to the plate with runners at second and third with one out and registered an RBI-ground out to short which plated Taukeiaho and gave the Titans the insurance run they needed.
Golden came back out in the bottom of the seventh and after allowing a leadoff walk, retired the next three batters to preserve the win and send the Titans into the winner's bracket with a 6-4 victory.
Golden earned the win, her 18th of the year, while Compton suffered the loss.
Taukeiaho finished the game batting 2-for-2 with a home run, two walks, three runs scored and two RBIs. Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in, while Vandiver was 1-for-3 with a pair of runs scored.
Baylor Beats Long Beach State In Walkoff Thiller To Start Regionals
Alley Perkins drove in the tying run in the sixth inning, capping a comeback that saw Long Beach State pull back an early lead from Baylor, but the Lady Bears had the last laugh, finishing the game with a solo home run from Jessie Scroggins to capture a 3-2 win in the first game of the Eugene Regional.
Baylor (44-12) struck first, scoring in the bottom of the first inning. A leadoff single from Scroggins started things off for the Lady Bears, and then after a hit batter, a double from Linsey Hays brought home the first run of the game. A walk loaded the bases, and then a station-to-station single from Lindsey Cargill brought home one more run, making the score 2-0 before the Beach got out of the inning.
Both pitchers settled in for three scoreless innings until Long Beach State (32-21) rallied for a run in the fifth. Haley Tobler led off the inning with a single, and after a groundout moved Tobler into scoring position, the Beach put runners on the corners on a liner from LT Torres that played off the chest of Linsey Cargill in left field.
Long Beach State capitalized on the error, as Tierra Falo brought home Tobler with a sacrifice fly to make the score 2-1.
Momentum seemed to switch to Long Beach State in a wild bottom half of the fifth inning. Scroggins started off the inning with a flare into right field that dropped on to the line; that ended as a triple however as the first base umpire pointed foul but didn’t call the play dead, allowing Scroggins to advance to third.
Clermont was able to get Kyla Walker to pop up, and then a sparkling defensive play lifted the Beach. On a hard grounder hit to short, Nichole Fry elected to throw home where Irma Sanchez turned and fired to third base, retiring Scroggins on the 6-2-5 fielder’s choice, helping the 49ers get out of the inning unscathed.
Carrying the momentum, Fry drew a one-out walk in the sixth, and Sanchez followed with a single to put two on. Perkins then singled off of Lady Bears star pitcher Heather Stearns to bring home pinch runner Jessica Nogosek and tie the game.
Stearns, who had come in to face Perkins, struck out LT Torres to end the rally, and then struck out the side in the seventh to keep the game tied. Scroggins then led off the bottom of the seventh and hit a solo home run to end the game and send the Beach into the first elimination game at the Eugene Regional.
Long Beach State will play in the elimination game tomorrow against the loser of the evening game between Fordham and the hosts, Oregon. That game is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m., and will be carried on the ESPN family of networks.