Long Ball Rallies Titans to Split at UCR

April 9, 2011

Box Score - Game 1 | Box Score - Game 2

RIVERSIDE, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team split a Big West Conference series-opening doubleheader for the second straight week on Saturday, rebounding from a 4-3 loss in the opener for a 6-3 victory in the nightcap at Amy S. Harrison Field in Riverside, CA.

The Titans moved to 14-17 overall on the season, matching their win total from all of 2010, and 3-2 in conference play. The Highlanders moved to 9-21 overall and 2-3 in league play with the split.

The two teams conclude their three-game conference series on Sunday at noon with a single-game in Riverside.

GAME 1: UC RIVERSIDE 4, CAL STATE FULLERTON 3
Kamryn Hebenton's RBI single to right center drove home Kayla White with the winning run with one out in the bottom of the seventh, lifting the host Highlanders to the 4-3 walk-off win in the series opener between the two teams.

After the Titans left two on in the top of the frame, UCR rallied for the winning in the bottom half as White reached on a fielding error and was sacrificed to second for Hebenton, who drilled the first pitch she saw from Ari Cervantes (10-10) to right centerfield to score the winner from second.

It capped a rally from one run down after Fullerton had taken a 3-2 lead in the sixth on a pair of singles and an error that score pinch-runner Jena Rubio. A double by Brittany Keeney to lead-off the inning and a sacrifice put the tying run 60 feet away for Taylor Thomas, who nubbed a ball back to the circle, but Keeney hustled home and avoided the tag to tie the game and set up the late-inning heroics.

Jordyn McDonald (6-8) got the win for the Highlanders, allowing three runs on 11 hits in the complete-game effort, stranding eight Titans on base - three of those in scoring position. Cervantes allowed three earned on six hits, striking out four in 6 1/3 innings of work while also finishing 3-for-3 at the plate

Three hits in the second inning got Fullerton out to the early lead as Torrie Anderson and Cervantes set the table with singles up the middle to start the bottom of the second before Adriana Martinez cashed them in with two outs, blooping a ball inside a Bermuda Triangle of fielders behind the second base bag for the 2-0 lead.

Hebenton and Keeney then went back-to-back to lead-off the fourth, going the opposite way to right and right center field, respectively, to tie the game at 2-2. The home runs were the first of the year for both players, nearly doubling the Highlanders' season total of three long balls entering the day.

Lauren Mario and Ashley Carter also finished with two hits for the Titans, who reached double figures in the category for the fifth time this season. Kenney finished with three hits while Hebenton added her two in the win for UCR.

GAME 2: CAL STATE FULLERTON 6, UC RIVERSIDE 3
Freshman Lauren Mario and senior Torrie Anderson each slugged home runs in support of sophomore Katey Laban as the Titans rallied for a 6-3 win in game two of the series.

Mario's three-run blast in the fourth inning (her team-best fourth of the year) after a fielder's choice and an infield hit staked the Titans to a lead they would never relinquish as Laban (2-4) held Riverside to just two hits over the first six innings before finally breaking through in the seventh.

An RBI single by Ashley Carter in the sixth proved to be decisive as Fullerton added another in the inning on a run-scoring fielder's choice and error and Anderson unleashed her second home run of the year to lead-off the seventh to cap the scoring for the Titans.

After being held to just two singles and a pair of walks through the first six innings, Jessica Vasser homered to lead-off the seventh for UCR and the Highlanders added runs on an RBI double by Alexis Pickett and a run-scoring groundout by Nicole Carter to make it interesting, but Laban induced Kayla White into a game-ending pop-up for her second win of the year.

Laban allowed just one earned on four hits while striking out two in the complete-game effort while Casey Suda (1-8) suffered the loss for Riverside, charged with four earned on eight hits in six innings before giving way to Amy Lwin in the seventh.

Five different Titans finished with hits for the game, including a 3-for-3 effort from Adriana Martinez, who reached on a pair of infield hits and added a bloop double to left centerfield. Sophomore Ariel Tsuchiyama also finished 2-for-4 for the Titans.