Second-Ranked UCLA Outlast Titans, 5-2
FULLERTON, Calif. – The No. 2 UCLA softball team used a go ahead three-run homer by Jelly Felix and a complete game eight-hitter by Ally Carda to outlast Cal State Fullerton, 5-2, at Anderson Family Field on Thursday evening.
Following today's non-conference matchup, the Titans move to 23-15-1 while the Bruins climb to a mark of 35-4.
Down 1-0 after the opening frame, the Bruins responded in the second inning as Gabrielle Maurice struck a sharp single to right field. First baseman Brittany Moeai immediately followed with another single through the hole into center field. Freshman Jelly Felix later followed by taking a 2-2 pitch and looping it down the left field line for a three-run homer, capturing the lead for good at 3-1. Felix concluded the game batting 2-for-3 with three RBI while scoring one run.
Carda (21-2) was superb in the circle, tossing all seven innings while yielding only two runs. The native from Elk Grove, Calif., issued three walks over the game while fanning seven Titans en route to her 21st victory of the season.
Missy Taukeiaho opened up the scoring for the Titans with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning, her 13th of the season to propel Fullerton to an early 1-0 lead. Taukeiaho batted 2-for-3 with one run scored while driving in one RBI.
Sophomore Monique Wesley (3-3) was given the nod to start in the circle against the Bruins, tossing a combined 4 innings after re-entering the game in the sixth frame. The right-hander surrendered four earned runs on seven hits while issuing three walks. Wesley fanned six Bruins on the evening.
Freshman Christina Washington and Jasmine Antunez followed Wesley in the circle, tossing a combined 3 innings of shutout fashion, keeping the Titans within striking distance the entire game. The duo yielded only two hits in the final three frames, but the offense was never able to breakthrough with a clutch hit to turn the tables.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Fullerton knocked on the door, but just couldn't breakthrough. Paige Kisling led off the frame with a base on balls, soon followed by senior Leesa Harris reaching base on a throwing error by pitcher Carda. Taukeiaho roped the only hit of the inning with a single through the left side, loading the bases with no outs. Carda stunned the rally by striking out both Ariel Tsuchiyama and Gabby Aragon and forcing a pop out by Melissa Sechrest.
The Bruins would tack on two more runs in the sixth inning highlighted by Delaney Spaulding's sacrifice fly into center field, scoring pinch runner Tara Mueller and Mysha Sataraka's bases loaded walk to score pinch runner Sam Duran.
The final Fullerton rally attempt came in the bottom of the seventh inning as Harris singled to left field to begin the inning. Taukeiaho drew a walk, immediately followed by an RBI single by Tsuchiyama into right field, scoring Harris. Tsuchiyama concluded the evening batting 3-for-4 with one RBI.
Carda thwarted the Titans bats once again striking out Sechrest, forcing a fielder's choice and popping out Samantha Galarza in foul territory to seal the Bruins victory.
Cal State Fullerton continues the home stand hosting a Big West three-game series against UC Riverside this weekend. The teams will meet in a doubleheader on Saturday, Apr. 12 at 4 and 6 p.m. and will conclude the series on Sunday, Apr. 13 at 12 p.m.
Game Notes: In total, Cal State Fullerton stranded nine runners on the bases six of which were in the final three innings…Taukeiaho launched her Big West leading 13th round-tripper of the season, also raising her team-high batting avg. to (.410)…This season, the Titans are now 1-for-3 in contests against No. 2 ranked teams with the lone victory over Oklahoma, 3-1, but tasting defeat at the hands of Tennessee, 8-4…UCLA has now collected its 40th victory all-time against CSF, holding an overall mark of 40-33-1 over the Titans…Tsuchiyama tied a career-high in hits, collecting three on the night which she has accomplished seven times over her career.