Titans Split Big West Opener with UC Santa Barbara

Fullerton, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton softball team split a doubleheader against Big West foe UC Santa Barbara at Anderson Family Field on Saturday. UCSB was triumphant in game one, 6-1, behind Shelby Wisdom's complete game three-hitter, while CSF was led by Missy Taukeiaho's career-high five RBI and Christina Washington's first career complete game en route to a 10-0 run-rule victory.

Following today's Big West opening doubleheader, the Titans move to (20-13-1, 1-1) while the Gauchos conclude the day with a mark of (21-11, 1-1) after the split between the two teams.

GAME TWO: Cal State Fullerton 10, UC Santa Barbara 0

The Titans quickly put the struggles of game one behind them by having eight different players produce a hit en route to a decisive seven-run opening frame to even the series.

Freshman Washington (6-4) was given the nod in the circle, tossing her first complete game of her career. The native of Inglewood, Calif., tossed five innings of three-hit ball while clinching the first shutout for the Titans since an 8-0 decision against Santa Clara on Feb. 8.

Washington issued six walks to the Gauchos, three of which were to right fielder Wisdom who was hot with the bat in the opening game, but was left without a hit.

Taukeiaho led off the opening frame with a single into right field off of UCSB starter Andriana Collins (7-4). Catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama looped a single to right, moving Taukeiaho over. First baseman Eliza Crawford eventually brought Taukeiaho home after lifting a sacrifice fly into deep center field, opening up the scoring. Senior Gabby Aragon drew a walk, later followed by Samantha Galarza's bunt single.

Senior Lauren Mario roped her third double of the season, scoring two more runs as the pitching staff for the Gauchos was losing control of the game. Pinch-hitter Kayla Blanco chipped in a sacrifice fly, scoring Galarza.

Now up to bat for the second time in the inning, Taukeiaho launched a two-run double high off the right field fence. Just a few innings later in the third, the transfer from the University of Washington launched a 1-1 pitch over the center field wall for a three-run homer, her team-high 11th of the year. Taukeiaho finished batting a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs scored and a career-high five RBI.

Collins was lit up for four hits and five runs while only retiring a single batter before being pulled for Alex Pingree. There was a lot of the same result for Pingree as she surrendered another eight hits and five runs in the first inning outburst against the Titans.

Junior Carissa Turang made her home debut for the Titans, manufacturing her first hits of 2014 in a 2-for-3 effort while scoring one run.

GAME ONE: UC Santa Barbara 6, Cal State Fullerton 1

Wisdom (9-7) showed exactly how complete of a player she can be for the Gauchos. The native of Elk Grove, Calif., was dominant in the circle, tossing a complete game three-hitter while yielding only one run and fanning five Titans. The junior also helped herself at the dish, batting 2-for-4 with three RBI including a two-run homer late in the game to put the game out of reach.

Gaucho shortstop Emily Brucelas came through with a deciding two-run homer to left center in the top of the sixth inning to break a 1-1 tie. Brucelas' round-tripper was her only hit of the game off Fullerton starter Jasmine Antunez (8-7), but it came at a critical juncture in the game as it was looking like the game could be headed to extra innings.

Antunez tossed six innings as the hard luck loser, surrendering five hits and three runs while fanning six Gauchos. The right-hander reached six strikeouts in the fifth inning before throwing a mistake to Brucelas that was deposited over the fence.

The top of the order for UCSB including Wisdom, Kristen Clark and Kathryn Pilpil combined for a 5-for-12 effort, along with three runs scored and three RBI.

Fullerton sophomore Taukeiaho lead off the first frame with a double, marking her third consecutive game that she has produced an opening inning extra-base hit. Senior Aragon later drove Taukeiaho in with an RBI double into the right center gap, her third double of the season. The Titans were on the board early, but the offense was stifled the rest of the way by Wisdom.

Wisdom responded using the bat in the third inning with an RBI double, scoring Clark who had looped a single into left field earlier in the inning. Clark swiped her 21st stolen base of the season en route to scoring the tying run.

Already in front 5-1, UCSB's Lauren Boser tacked on another insurance run with a solo shot to left center while finishing the early game batting 2-for-3.

Taukeiaho also made her pitching debut at Anderson Family Field, tossing the final frame and surrendering three runs on three hits as the Gauchos held on to take game one of the doubleheader.  

The Titans and Gauchos will complete the three-game series in the rubber match tomorrow at 12 p.m. while raising awareness for breast cancer research in hosting Pink Day.

Game Notes: The seven-run inning in game two was the largest number of runs the Titans have scored in a single inning this year, eclipsing a previous total of six runs done twice, last versus Grand Canyon on Mar. 5…Eight different Titans produced a hit in game two, the most number of different players in any game this year…Washington is credited with the first complete game shutout by any Titans pitcher of 2014…Taukeiaho leads the team in a majority of statistical categories, games started (34), at-bats (103), runs scored (34), hits (40), doubles (7), home runs (11), RBI (28), and base on balls (12).