Big Rally Earns Titans Split

May 9, 2008

Box Score - Game One | Box Score - Game Two

FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton softball team rallied to earn a split in its Big West Conference doubleheader with UC Santa Barbara on Friday night, erasing a five-run deficit with 10 unanswered runs to earn a 10-6 victory in the nightcap after falling, 8-5, in the opener at Anderson Family Field.

The Titans moved to 27-25-1 overall on the year and 11-9 in conference play while the Gauchos moved to 29-24 overall and 12-8 in the Big West.

A huge rally in the late innings of game two brought Fullerton back after UC Santa Barbara scored five runs in the first two innings to take the lead.

Tiffany Wright's two-run home run keyed a four-run first for UCSB, which added a bases-loaded walk and an RBI single for the early 4-0 advantage. The Gauchos put up another run in the second on an RBI double by Wright to make it 5-0 as UCSB's league-leading offense got off to a strong start.

However, the Titans clawed their way back in it as back-to-back singles by Torrie Anderson and Sheila Holguin set the table for Crystal Vieyra with one out, as the senior slugged her second home run of the season over the wall in left centerfield to cut the deficit to 5-3.

The game remained that way until the fifth as a pair of errors sandwiched around a single plated Katie Gollhardt to make it 5-4 and the Titans tied the game two batters later on Anderson's sacrifice fly.

Holguin then followed with her second hit of the game, plating pinch runner Courtney Martinez with the go-ahead run and the floodgates opened for Fullerton.

Back-to-back home runs by Kiki Munoz (three-run home run) and Lauren Lupinetti (solo shot) keyed a four-run sixth to give the Titans the 10-5 lead and they never looked back. UCSB tacked on a run on an error in the seventh, but could rally no closer.

Freshman Christine Hiner (14-12) picked up the win in relief, allowing the unearned run on three hits in five innings of work. Ari Cervantes, making only her third start of the season, allowed four earned on five hits in two innings of work.

MeLinda Matsumoto (8-11) was stuck with the loss, allowing seven earned on nine hits in six innings of work.

In the opener, UC Santa Barbara jumped out early and then broke open a tight game with four runs in the sixth en route to the 8-5 victory.

Christine Ramos and Wright each had three hits for the Gauchos, who banged out 13 base hits for the game, and had four players with multiple hits on the night.

An error on a base hit and a double-steal produced two runs in the first for UCSB, which tacked on two more in the second on an RBI single by Ramos and a run-scoring fielder's choice by Jessica Ziegler for the 4-0 advantage.

Fullerton responded with two runs on RBI groundouts by Gollhardt and Munoz in the second and closed to within a single run on a sacrifice fly by Lupinetti in the fourth to make it 4-3.

However, UCSB pulled away with four runs in the sixth on a two-run triple by Ramos, a run-scoring single by Tisha Duran and an error to make it 8-3.

The Titans got two of the runs back in their half of the inning off Matsumoto, who came on in relief of starter Lindsey Correa, on an RBI hit by Lupinetti and a run-scoring fielder's choice by Anderson, but could come no closer.

Matsumoto closed the door in the sixth with a lineout and a ground ball and left runners on the corners in the seventh, getting a strikeout to end the game and earn her first save of the year.

Correa (11-7) earned the win for the Gauchos, surrendering five runs on five hits with seven walks and a pair of strikeouts. Matsumoto allowed just three hits in two innings to nail down the save.

Hiner (13-12) suffered the loss, allowing five earned on 13 hits in 5 1/3 innings before being lifted in favor of Cervantes, who pitched 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief, striking out three.

The two teams reconvene for the final game of their three-game series on Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. to close out the 2008 regular season. Prior to first pitch both the UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton seniors will be honored on the field as part of pregame "Senior Day" ceremonies beginning at approximately 11:30 a.m.

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