RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton softball team opened up a four-game set this week with a pair of road victories over UC Riverside Wednesday afternoon. The Titans outslugged the Highlanders 11-0 in game one and then held on for a 3-1 victory in game two at Amy S. Harrison Field in Riverside, Calif.
With the victories, Cal State Fullerton improves to 19-25 overall on the year and 6-8 in the Big West, while UC Riverside falls to 16-26 overall and 0-11 in the Big West.
Game One: Cal State Fullerton 11, UC Riverside 0
After scoring 11 runs Sunday against Hawai'i, the Titan offense exploded again for 11 runs on Wednesday in a 11-0 win over UC Riverside. The Titans recorded 13 hits, including multiple hit games from Ariel Tsuchiyama, Melissa Sechrest, and Leesa Harris. Fullerton got a huge performance from freshman Jasmine Antunez as she improves to 11-13 on the season.
After two scoreless innings, the Titans would score six runs in the top of third. The big Titan inning was started off by a Desiree Ybarra RBI single up the middle, which scored Tsuchiyama. Three batters later, Sechrest came to the plate and belted a two run double to center scoring Gabby Aragon and Eliza Crawford. Later in the inning a two run single by right fielder Tiffany Sheffler gave the Titans a 6-0 advantage.
The Titans would tack on one more run in the fourth inning off an illegal pitch by UC Riverside pitcher Sophie Slagle. In the fifth the Titans would score four more runs. An error by UC Riverside shortstop Natalie Sanchez allowed Lauren Mario to score and an RBI single to center by Leesa Harris scored Sheffler from second base. Harris would eventually score on illegal pitch on an illegal pitch and Samantha Galarza's RBI groundout to shortstop scoring Kirsten Lambertson would give Fullerton their final run of the game.
Antunez tossed four innings giving up no runs while allowing two hits and striking out five. The freshman right-hander retired seven batters in a row at one point and gave up only one hit over the final four innings. Katey Laban tossed the last inning for the Titans giving up no hits. UC Riverside starter Ashley Ercolano (6-9) records the loss after giving up six runs off 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings. Reliever Sophie Slagle gave up five runs off three hits, while also issuing five walks. Slagle also was charged for six illegal pitches in 2 1/3 innings of work.
Melissa Sechrest was 2-for-3 with two RBI's and a run scored, Ariel Tsuchiyama added two runs, and Tiffany Sheffler also added two RBI's and a run scored. Ten different Titans recorded a hit, while UCR had just two hits.
Game Two: Cal State Fullerton 3, UC Riverside 1
Jasmine Antunez delivered another impressive outing and Eliza Crawford's two-run home run in the first inning propelled Cal State Fullerton over UC Riverside 3-1 in game two. Antunez (12-13) tossed a complete game allowing a lone run in the seventh inning. The Garden Grove, Calif. native threw her fifth complete game of the season and allowed just one run off four hits, while striking out eight.
The Titans continued their explosive offense into game two grabbing a 2-0 lead after a two-run home run to left field by Eliza Crawford. Fullerton would then extend their lead to 3-0 in the second inning after back-to-back doubles by Carissa Turang and Tiffany Sheffler. However, after the run in the second inning, the Titans would only collect two hits the rest of the game.
UC Riverside got one run in the seventh inning after a two-out single from Natalie Sanchez, which scored catcher Alexis Pickett from second. UCR's Alyssa Razo (8-9) would also go the distance in game two giving up three runs off seven hits, while issuing two walks and striking out three in the loss.
The Titans return to Anderson Family Field Saturday April 20 taking on UNLV in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m., with first pitch for game two at approximately 3 p.m.
Game Notes: The Titans hold their longest winning streak of the season at three and shutout UC Riverside for the first time since April 5, 2009 when the Titans defeated the Highlanders 4-0 in Riverside, Calif.