PALM SPRINGS, Calif.— The Cal State Fullerton softball team used the power of three home runs to down No. 15 Baylor, 6-1, while surrendering an eight-run inning at the hands of No. 23 LSU, in a 8-1 defeat at the Mary Nutter Classic on Friday evening.
With the day one split, the Titans move to 10-4 on the season, while Baylor fell to 10-3 and LSU climbed to 11-5.
Game One: Cal State Fullerton 6, No. 15 Baylor 1
Fullerton was able to produce runners on base early without even the production of a hit. Two walks and two errors led to an early unearned run scored by Missy Taukeiaho for the Titans leaving the bases loaded, but were able to capture a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
The Titans returned the favor in the bottom of the inning after committing an error while yielding a pair of walks to Sarah Smith and designated player Clare Hosack. Outfielder Lindsey Cargill would eventually score after leading off the inning by reaching base on a fielding error, knotting the game at one apiece.
The Titans third inning began with a lonely fly out by junior Desiree Ybarra to left field. The fireworks would just start to pop for the CSF offense. Shortstop Gabby Aragon would launch a 1-2 pitch deep to left field, striking her third round-tripper of the season. The very next batter, first baseman Eliza Crawford would reach back on a 0-1 pitch to pull it over the right field fence, connecting on back-to-back home runs for the Titans, chasing starter Heather Stearns (5-1) out of the game and eventually registering her first loss of the season.
Jasmine Antunez (5-2) would recover from the first inning to cruise for the team's first complete game of the season, pitching seven strong innings, yielding only two hits and one earned run. In going the distance, Antunez was able to fan six Bears while walking three and picking up her fifth win of the year. The right hander would set down 12 consecutive Bears through the middle of the game, keeping the Bears off balance in the batter's box.
Already with two homers under the team belt, Titans infielder Samantha Galarza knew that there is always room for more electric offense. Aragon walked to begin the seventh inning, later followed by Crawford reaching base after absorbing being hit by a pitch. Galarza would loop a three-run homer down the left field line to apply the final dagger against the No. 15 Bears, the third jack for the Titans offense, propelling CSF to its first top-20 victory since stunning No. 2 Oklahoma in the Easton Tournament.
Game Two: No. 23 LSU 8, Cal State Fullerton 1
Freshman Christina Washington was given the nod to pitch in the circle for the Titans in the night cap versus the Tigers of LSU.
Washington (2-2) cruised through the first four innings in what looked to be a pitcher's duel with her counterpart Baylee Corbello (5-2). The Inglewood, Calif., native would strike out five Tigers overall while surrendering five runs, four earned on the start.
The Titans would manufacture a run starting with catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama's leadoff single to center field. Aragon would walk, shortly followed by another single by Crawford to load the bases. Galarza would collect her second hit of the game with an infield single scoring pinch runner Delynn Rippy, breaking the scoreless tie with LSU, Titans now out in front 1-0 late in the contest. The ball game would take a drastic turn from there.
In the sixth inning, the Tigers sent 11 batters to the plate and put together eight hits including a two-RBI triple by A.J. Andrews, a two-RBI double by Bianka Bell and a three-run home run by Sahvanna Jaquish against the Titans. The eight-run inning became the largest inning an opposing team has produced while creating the largest deficit the Titans have faced all season.
Fullerton would attempt one last rally in the seventh with a leadoff walk to Crawford, later followed by a sharp single by Galarza into center field. Baylor's Corbello would strikeout one more Titan in the bottom half of the inning while forcing two ground outs en route to an 8-1 complete game. CSF would strand a total of 14 runners over the game, only scoring one run in the night cap loss.
The Titans wrap up competition in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic and face No. 24 Notre Dame and Boise State on Saturday in Palm Springs, Calif., at the BLD Stadiums of Cathedral City.