April 17, 2010
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA - After jumping out to a quick start in Big West Conference play, the Cal State Fullerton softball team has come back to the pack after the Titans suffered a pair of losses to host Cal Poly on Saturday by the scores of 7-6 and 3-0 in a battle of first-place teams at Bob Janssen Field.
The losses dropped Fullerton to 9-31 overall and evened its mark at 4-4 in conference play while the Mustangs improved to 17-17 overall and 6-2 in league action to keep pace with UC Riverside atop the standings. The Highlanders swept a doubleheader from UC Santa Barbara on Saturday to also move to 6-2 in conference play.
Cal Poly's Rebecca Patton almost singlehandedly lifted the host Mustangs to both victories as her RBI single in the bottom of the seventh of the opener broke a 6-6 tie and brought home the game-winner right before she took to the circle in the nightcap, scattering four hits and striking out five in the shutout win.
All 13 runs in the opener came in the final four innings as the Titans mounted a huge seventh-inning rally to climb back into the contest after falling behind 6-2. An RBI groundout by Kadie Baldwin in the fourth gave Fullerton the early lead, but two errors and a run-scoring ground out by Nora Sobczak that would have ended the bottom of the inning with no damage gave Cal Poly the lead.
The Titans tied it with an RBI groundout by Ashley Carter, but Shea Williams had an RBI single in the fifth and another error - the third of the day for Fullerton - plated a fourth run to give the Mustangs a 4-2 advantage. Cal Poly added two more on a two-run double by Dana Perez to make it a 6-2 contest and looked to nail down the win.
Fullerton's bats, however, would not go quietly in the seventh as a walk and hit batter put two on for Carter, who reached on an error by the pitcher, allowing Natalie DeLeese to come home and make it 6-3. Ari Cervantes followed with a two-run single to make it a one-run game and Nicole Johnson, who followed with a double, eventually scored on a passed ball to tie the game.
Johnson's double knocked starter Anna Cahn from the game in favor of Patton, whose passed ball allowed the tying run to score, but she got the Mustangs out of the inning with no further damage, getting a strikeout and a popout around a single by Baldwin to end the inning.
That set the stage for Patton's heroics in the seventh after the Titans came one out away from forcing extra innings. A lineout and a ground ball to lead-off the inning brought up the middle of the order as Krysten Cary singled and moved to second on a full-count walk to Cahn. That brought up Patton, who laced a 2-1 pitch to right, scoring Cary for the winning run.
Redshirt sophomore Krystal Heinle (3-7) suffered the loss in relief of Cervantes, allowing four earned on five hits while walking five in 2 2/3 innings. Cervantes pitched the first four innings, allowing just one earned on five hits to earn the no decision.
Patton (4-4) earned the win, allowing just one hit in two-thirds of an inning. Cahn had allowed five earned on nine hits over the first 6 1/3 innings.
Sophomore Morgan LeMond led the Titans with a 3-for-4 day at the plate while Johnson was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Cary led Cal Poly with a 3-for-3 effort at the plate.
In the nightcap, it was all Patton from the circle, retiring 19 consecutive batters at one point and stranding five baserunners on the day in the 3-0 victory.
The Titans mustered a double by Torrie Anderson and a single by Ashley Carter to lead-off the game and loaded the bases two outs later when Johnson was hit by a pitch. Patton (5-4), however, got a pair of fly balls to the outfield to end the threat and start her string of consecutive batters retired.
Patton did not allow another baserunner until the seventh on back-to-back two-out singles by Baldwin and Gabby Aragon as the Titans looked for another seventh-inning rally. Patton nailed down the win, however, inducing a game-ending lineout to secure the victory.
Cal Poly scored all the runs it would need as part of a three-run second inning as the Mustangs sent nine batters to the plate. Back-to-back RBI singles by Stephanie Corriea and Trista Thomas gave the Mustangs the 2-0 lead and Nora Sobczak added an RBI single later in the frame to cap the scoring.
Cervantes (4-15) suffered the loss, allowing two earned on six hits in the complete-game effort, throwing just 77 pitches. Sobczak led all players with two hits on the day.
Cal State Fullerton will look to salvage a game in the series finale as both teams return to the diamond for the third game of the series on Sunday afternoon (April 18) at 12 p.m.