FULLERTON, Calif.— The Cal State Fullerton softball team fell short in both games against South Dakota and No. 23 California at the SDSU Softball Stadium on Saturday evening. USD's freshman pitcher Rachel Cue would hold the Titans offense in check, yielding seven hits en route to a 4-2 defeat of CSF, followed by a come from behind victory by California capped off by Danielle Henderson's walk-off homer in a 5-4 thriller in favor of the Golden Bears.
The Titans fall to 8-3 on the season, while South Dakota climbs to 4-3 and No. 23 California improves to 5-3.
Game One: South Dakota 4, Cal State Fullerton 2
Previously unbeaten freshman Christina Washington (2-1) was in the circle to start the day for the Titans and was challenged early by the Coyotes. USD's Lindsey Boyd drew a leadoff walk to begin the game, later followed by a bunt single from center fielder Katie Dinning placing two runners on. Designated player Yvon Minogue would hit an RBI-single up the middle to score the first run of the game. Coyotes Morgan Hancock would take a 1-1 pitch and line it to left field for another RBI-single extending USD's start to 2-0.
Washington would last 1 1/3 innings while surrendering five hits, three earned runs and one walk to the Coyotes, marking her shortest start of the season.
USD would tack on another after third baseman Lindsey Boyd would sting a ball up the middle into center field, scoring Kassie Loe. Starter It wasn't until the sixth inning that the Titans offense would finally wake up starting off with catch Ariel Tsuchiyama's single to center field on a 1-2 pitch from South Dakota's Rachel Cue (2-1). Desiree Ybarra would blast a round tripper over the right field wall, her second homer of the season, slashing the Coyotes lead to 4-2.
Fullerton would threaten in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Cue struck out left fielder Leesa Harris with the bases loaded and two outs, to end the threat. CSF would strand a total of seven runners on base while never being able to come through with that clutch hit.
The top of the lineup of Taukeiaho, Tsuchiyama and Ybarra combined for a 4-for-12, two RBI (Ybarra) effort, while the rest of the order was stymied all morning by USD's Cue, producing only three hits in the other 16 at bats for the Titans.
Cue retired the top of the Titans' lineup in order in the seventh to seal the victory. The freshman pitched a complete game while allowing seven hits, two earned runs, and yielding only one walk to CSF.
Game Two: California 5, Cal State Fullerton 4
After falling behind in game one of the day against South Dakota, the Titans were determined to get out of the gate early against Cal.
Taukeiaho led off the game with a single that found a hole into left field, later followed by catcher Tsuchiyama being hit by a pitch. Ybarra would sacrifice the runners over with a bunt while first baseman Eliza Crawford would drive in the first run of the game with a single to center field. After a 2-for-3 effort against USD, Samantha Galarza would single up the middle in her first at bat to bring around Tsuchiyama and give the Titans a 2-0 lead.
Cal tacked on one run in the third beginning with a leadoff walk from junior Breana Kostreba. The Bears would eventually load the bases around a Titans fielding error which later led to a bases-loaded walk drawn by third baseman, Danielle Henderson off of Titans starter Antunez.
Antunez (3-2) would pitch for five innings for the Titans, yielding three earned runs, walking four, and striking out four Bears.
Fullerton would fend off the Bears with two runs the rest of the way by an RBI-single via shortstop Gabby Aragon in the fourth inning while Harris was able to reach base on a throwing error, scoring Lauren Mario in the fifth inning.
Similar to game one of the day against South Dakota, the Titans were never able to muster up an extended inning, stranding 10 more runners on base including two runners that were caught stealing to halt any momentum. Amongst the starting lineup, eight out of the nine batters were able to hit safely at least once over the game, but the Titans were only able to bring three of those runs home.
A fifth-inning Cal rally began with a double by Cheyenne Cordes, who came in on an RBI-triple from Henderson down the right field line. Senior Victoria Jones would line the second of back-to-back triples to bring Henderson around to score. The Golden Bears would tie the game up at 4 apiece after a sacrifice fly from sophomore Jasmin Mejia.
Henderson wasn't done offensively for the Bears as she leadoff the bottom of the seventh inning with a slam to right field to seal the victory in walk-off fashion.
Even though the Titans outhit the Golden Bears 10-7, Cal would scatter multiple extra base hits with three doubles, two triples, and a deciding home run in the night cap of day three of the Campbell/Cartier Classic.
In conclusion of CSF's competition in the SDSU Campbell/Cartier Classic, the Titans return to Anderson Family Field on Saturday, Feb. 20 hosting North Carolina starting at 12:00 p.m.