April 3, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, CA - Junior Nicole Johnson's second home run of the season, a two-out strike in the top of the ninth inning, provided the winning margin Sunday afternoon as the Titans won their Big West Conference-opening series with UC Santa Barbara with a 3-2 win in the finale at Campus Diamond.
Fullerton improved to 13-16 overall and 2-1 following the first weekend of league play while the Gauchos fell to 13-18 overall and 1-2 in the Big West.
UC Santa Barbara rallied for two runs to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh as three-straight singles loaded the bases before Amanda Ziegler and Lainey DePompa drove home runs with an RBI ground out and an infield run-scoring single tied the game.
Both the Titans and Gauchos left the winning runs in scoring position in the eighth before Johnson struck in the ninth. Her third hit of the day cleared the fence in left centerfield with two down, giving Fullerton the one-run advantage.
Senior right-hander Ari Cervantes (10-9) then clinched the win with a 1-2-3 ninth, getting a pop-up and a pair of ground balls to end the game. Cervantes, who helped her own cause by getting the Titans out quickly with a two-run single in the third for the early lead, went the distance in the circle, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out three in her longest outing of the season. She improved to 3-0 in extra-inning games this season, allowing a combined five earned runs (1.40 ERA) on 16 hits in 25 innings.
Krista Cobb (5-9), who held the Titans to one run on seven hits in the series opening-win for the Gauchos, suffered the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out five in the complete-game effort.
Sophomore Ashley Carter (2-for-3) and Adriana Martinez (1-for-4) also finished with hits for Fullerton while Lauren Boser was 2-for-4 to pace UC Santa Barbara. The Titans' offense had their chances, stranding 11 runners on base, including the bases loaded in the first and fifth innings, and leaving seven runners in scoring position for the game. In contrast, the Gauchos left five on, three in scoring position.
Cal State Fullerton remains on the road next weekend for conference play as the Titans head inland to take on UC Riverside in a three-game series on April 9-10 at Amy S. Harrison Field on campus. Both day's games begin at 12 p.m.