Titans Drop Tight Contests to 49ers
April 25, 2009
LONG BEACH, CA - Host Long Beach State swept a Big West Conference doubleheader with visiting Cal State Fullerton on Saturday afternoon, taking a pair from the Titans by the scores of 3-2 and 6-4 at the 49er Softball Complex in Long Beach.
The losses snapped Fullerton's seven-game winning streak as the Titans fell to 22-19 overall and 10-4 in league play. Long Beach State improved to 29-17 overall and pulled even with Fullerton in the league standings, moving into a tie for second place with a 10-4 mark.
Saturday's losses marked the first Big West series loss for the Titans this season after they opened the year with four straight series wins - including a sweep in each of their last two series. Both Fullerton and Long Beach sit two games back of league-leading Cal Poly (12-2), who swept a pair of games from UC Davis on Saturday.
The two teams conclude their three-game series on Sunday afternoon (April 26) at 1 p.m. in Long Beach.
GAME 1: Long Beach State 3, Cal State Fullerton 2
Long Beach State's Jonae Perez drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to drive home Ashley Weber with the game-winning run as the 49ers downed Cal State Fullerton, 3-2, in the opener.
A one-out double by Danielle Linke and a single by Weber put runners on the corners and a walk to Jennifer Griffin loaded the bases. Brandy Reyes then hit a slow roller back to the circle where Ari Cervantes (15-10) threw home for out number two, but the bases remained loaded for Perez, who worked the count to 3-1 before drawing ball four on a pitch that just missed the outside corner to drive home the game-winner.
It was the second time this season that the Titans have lost a game on a walk-off walk (both coming on the road) as UC Riverside took game two of their series on the same play back on April 4 in Riverside.
A costly error in the third led to the first runs of the game as a potential inning-ending ground ball hit by Reyes was muffed, allowing Weber to score and make it 1-0. The extended inning continued with Perez, who then smacked a single to right centerfield to drive home Griffin and give the 49ers a 2-0 advantage.
Fullerton scraped back into the game in the fourth as Torrie Anderson led-off with a single to break up Brooke Turner's (16-9) perfect game and came around to score with two outs on a single through the right side by Lauren Lupinetti to make it 2-1.
The Titans tied the game with a single run in the sixth, but it could have been more if not for controversy that led to Head Coach Michelle Gromacki being ejected from the game.
Senior Whitney Kroh led-off the frame with a single and moved to second when Anderson's sacrifice attempt was unable to be fielded, putting a pair on. After a sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position, the Titans appeared to load the bases when Nicole Johnson was hit by a pitch, but she was called back by the home plate umpire and Turner took advantage for the 49ers, nailing down the strikeout for out number two.
Controversy continued in the very next at bat as Turner appeared to stop midway through her wind-up during a pitch to Francesca Gonzales as play came to a halt. Gromacki came out to argue for an illegal pitch, which would have driven home the tying run, to no avail as she was eventually ejected from the contest after a lengthy discussion.
Fullerton wound up scoring the run after Gonzales was issued the intentional walk to load the bases, as Lupinetti looped a ball just out of reach of Griffin at short, scoring Kroh to tie the game. With two runners still in scoring position, Turner prevented any further damage by getting a strikeout to end the threat.
Turner earned the win, allowing the two runs on six hits and striking out seven in the complete game. Cervantes saw her six-start winning streak snapped as she allowed three runs (one earned) on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings of work.
Weber finished 3-for-3 to lead Long Beach State while Anderson and Lupinetti each finished with two hits to lead the Titans.
GAME 2: Long Beach State 6, Cal State Fullerton 4
Jennifer Griffin's bases-clearing double snapped a 3-3 tie and capped a four-run sixth inning to help lead the 49ers to the 6-4 win in the nightcap.
Long Beach State sent eight batters to the plate in the deciding frame after the Titans had taken the 3-2 lead in their half of the frame.
A dropped ball in the outfield proved costly as Ashley Levine moved all the way to second on the miscue to lead-off the inning. Levine then beat the throw to third on Jennifer Madigan's sacrifice attempt and Bridgette Pagano drove home the tying run with a sacrifice fly in the very next at bat to make it a 3-3 game.
Brianna Goad then walked to put two on and Weber loaded the bases with an infield hit two batters later after a pop-up for the second out. That brought up Griffin, who smoked a ball into the gap in right centerfield to clear the bases to give the 49ers a 6-3 advantage.
Fullerton got one run back in the seventh as back-to-back two-out doubles by K.C. Craddick and Nicole Johnson made it a 6-4 contest, but Turner entered in relief of starter Taylor Petty and issued a walk to Francesca Gonzales before she induced a game-ending pop-up in foul ground to clinch the sweep.
The Titans were the first to get on the board in game two as Gonzales led-off the second inning with her 10th home run of the season, a shot over the fence in right field for the 1-0 lead. It was the first-ever home run hit by Cal State Fullerton at the 49er Softball Complex since Long Beach State began play at the facility in 1995.
A two-run double by Weber in the fifth put the 49ers back on top with one out after a pair of walks and a single loaded the bases. However, the Titans worked out of the jam, getting a bases-loaded fielder's choice and a fly out to end the threat.
Fullerton regained the advantage in the sixth as Lauren Lupinetti was hit by a pitch to lead-off the inning and Courtney Martinez followed with her fifth home run of the season to left field to make it 3-2.
Petty (12-4) earned the win for Long Beach, allowing four runs on seven hits and striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings of work. Turner earned her first save of the year. Krystal Heinle (7-7) suffered the loss for Fullerton, allowing six runs (two earned) on seven hits.
Gonzales finished with a pair of hits for the Titans, as did Courtney Martinez. Weber again led the 49ers with her 3-for-4 day at the plate.