Titans Rebound For Split in Northridge

April 26, 2008

Box Score - Game One | Box Score - Game Two

NORTHRIDGE, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team split its series opening doubleheader with host Cal State Northridge on Saturday, falling in the opener 4-0 before holding on for a 4-3 win in game two at Matador Diamond.

The win keeps the Titans at the .500 mark for the season at 23-23-1 overall and 7-7 in league play. The Matadors are 18-22 overall and match Fullerton at 7-7 in the Big West.

In the nightcap, Cal State Fullerton scored three runs early and Kiki Munoz homered in the seventh to provide the difference as the Titans held off Cal State Northridge.

The first six batters reached base off Matadors' starter Sam Schroeder (0-4) before she was lifted from the game in favor of Amanda Pitzenberger. Munoz, K.C. Craddick and Jenna Wheeler had RBI singles in the frame to give the Titans the early 3-0 lead.

However, the offense was stifled the rest of the way by Pitzenberger as the Titans, who had four hits in the first, managed just four more in the next five innings before Munoz took the first pitch she saw in the seventh out of the yard to left field for what would prove to be the decisive tally.

Cal State Northridge rallied for two runs in the sixth to close to within a single run as Alexandria Alvarado stroked an RBI double off starter Christine Hiner and pinch-hitter Sarah Kahn-Shamout added a sacrifice fly later in the inning to make it 3-2.

After Munoz's homer upped Fullerton's advantage to two, the Matadors' leading offensive threat Amanda Peek, who entered the weekend ranked second in the league in hitting, slugged a home run of her own - her only hit of the day - to lead off the bottom of the seventh to make it 4-3 to try and jumpstart a Northridge rally.

Christina Saenz then reached on a bunt single, moved to second on a sacrifice and advanced to third on a wild pitch with two outs. However, Jessica Doucette would nail down the save in relief, ending the game with the final of her three strikeouts.

Hiner (12-11) earned the win, allowing two runs on four hits in five innings, walking a pair and striking out five. Doucette allowed a run on two hits in two innings to earn the first save of her Titan career.

Munoz finished 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and two RBI while Craddick and Katie Gollhardt also finished with two hits on the day.

In the opener, Mercedes Lovato held Fullerton to just five hits on the afternoon and Jaclyn Rymer finished 3-for-3 with an RBI to lift the Matadors to a 4-0 shutout victory.

The Titans were held to without a hit until Courtney Martinez's one-out single in the fifth and stranded eight runners on base for the game as the loss snapped a four-game winning streak.

Northridge took advantage of a couple of errors in the second inning to plate the only runs of the game the Matadors would need. Micah Putnam reached on an error to lead off the inning was sacrificed to second and scored on Rymer's double to make it 1-0. She would then come around to score during the next at bat when she swiped third and came home when the catcher's throw sailed into left field to make it 2-0.

Kristen Mihm's RBI double in the fifth plated Rymer to make it 3-0 and an RBI single by Lauren Olivas two batters later capped the scoring for the Matadors, who snapped a five-game losing streak to the Titans with the victory.

Doucette (11-11) suffered the loss, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits, walking one and striking out five in six innings pitched. Lovato (15-12) struck out five in 6 1/3 innings, combining on the shutout with Pitzenberger, who entered with two on in the seventh and getting the final two outs to end the game and notch the save.

Martinez finished 2-for-3 in the game to lead the Titans' offense.

The two teams will battle in the rubber game of the series on Sunday afternoon (April 27) at 12 p.m. in Northridge.